Free Speech, Free Rave, Free Entry: A People’s Assembly for the Potteries

Third year design thesis project, University of Nottingham, 2019.

Free speech by day and free rave by night, the People’s Assembly is a nightclub and a centre for participative politics in Stoke-on-Trent. The division and confusion in deciding on the ‘correct’ Brexit has demonstrated the need for the reform of representative democracy – People’s Assemblies let the ‘will of the people’ be articulated rather than guessed.

In this scheme, six committee rooms, one for each town in the polycentric city, lead into a debate chamber where a sample of the local population debate and cast votes to influence local and national politics.

Placed in the civic centre of the city, the Assembly is a provocative paean to the overlooked culture of clubs. In its built form, the scheme pays tribute to Northern Soul – arguably the first nightclub movement and one with a deep connection to Stoke-on-Trent. The distinctive dancing of Northern Soul, and the consistent 4:4 beat is translated into an Architectural form.