Reveries of an Urban Dreamland: Artistic Research Residency Podcast Series Out Now

The artistic research residency podcast series, Reveries of an Urban Dreamland, focuses on how we can design strategies for human and non-human interactions that would help us reshape our cities into a much more sustainable engine of survival, rather than the socially-constricting, energy-intensive, and life-shortening beast that they are right now. Karachi—a complex city that is already being disproportionately affected by climate change—presents an ideal context to explore this question.

This 9-part podcast series brings together the experiences of resident researchers and guest speakers, including architects, designers, scholars, and activists from Karachi and around the world to discuss novel interfaces developed during the residency through playful forms of participatory behaviours and engagement strategies. 

In each episode, residency curator Taqi Shaheen, along with artistic director Usman Haque and design advisor Ling Tan, discuss legal, cultural, social and political frameworks for human and non-human interactions with the resident artists and guest speakers through the lens of innovative projects developed during the residency. 

In the first episode, renowned architect and social researcher Arif Hasan, discussing the project “Collateral Damage" by the resident artist Arsalan Nasir, questions the disappearance of creatures like butterflies and squirrels in Karachi. Hasan urges a return to an era where cohabitation with non-human species was more harmonious, cautioning against the devastating impact of current human practices on these creatures. Lawyer and human rights activist Abira Ashfaq highlighted the legal system's damaging role through urban development projects.

Talking about resident artist Suneela Ahmed’s book and interactive website “Novel Pedgogies”, artist and curator Noorjehan Bilgrami stresses the importance of developing such educational tools for reconnecting society with its natural surroundings. Dr. Shahid Amjad, Head of Department of Environment and Energy at IoBM, talks about the urgency of creating new learning models on all academic levels.

Discussing “Extinction”, a performative research by Afreen Seher and Vajdaan Shah, Tofiq Pasha Mooraj, a renowned gardener emphasizes: “The non-humans are not living amongst us, we are living amongst the non-humans.” Dr. Shahida Wizarat, Professor of College of Economics and Social Development at IoBM also discussed food security and how it was far more economical to produce natural foods as compared to the GMO foods.   

Mahera Omar, filmmaker and co-founder of PAWS, and Shahzad Qureshi, founder of Karachi Urban Forest, suggest a shift in perspective towards ecological tidiness disorder, emphasizing the benefits of leaving natural elements undisturbed for both humans and non-humans. Ling Tan, the residency's design advisor, stressed the importance of retaining wonder in adulthood and residency's research project "Khayali Karachi" by Anita Zehra and Shabbir Mohammed, allows us to reimagine new possibilities for our urban survival. 

The podcast series also features conversations with international scholars, artists and activists including Léopold Lambert, the editor-in-chief of The Funambulist, who discusses the conception, creation, and impact of The Funambulist magazine and his work around political struggles against colonial ecocides and toxic atmospheres— in particular, the violence imposed onto indigenous tribes and non-human living beings. 

Hira Sheikh and Marcus Foth discuss smart urban governance and multi-species justice , Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino highlights moral disengagement of the design sector, and how creative professionals can integrate climate change knowledge in their practice. In one of the episodes, An-Ting, a theatre artist and composer, shares her immersive storytelling projects around human and human-interaction where she weaves diverse encounters into her creations, blending music with other art forms to delve into the depths of the human experience.

The podcast series is part of a collaborative artistic research residency by the Institute of Business Management (IoBM) and Umbrellium supported by the British Council.

The artistic research residency projects and podcast episodes can be accessed on 

Listen to the Preview here: Collateral DamageNovel Pedagogies

All episodes can be listened to on YouTubeApple PodcastSpotify and other podcast platforms.