Lighthouse Lecture Series: Parliaments on the move, or how buildings maintain institutions

Lighthouse Lecture Series: Parliaments on the move, or how buildings maintain institutions

The Faculty of Business and Economics welcomed Professor Sabina Siebert as part of the Lighthouse Lecture Series to present on Parliaments on the move, or how buildings maintain institutions on Tuesday 16 October 2018 at the Parliament of NSW.

Professor Siebert from the University of Glasgow, presented her study which explores the link between institutions and buildings. The talk focused on the UK Parliament in London, which is currently preparing for a move to a temporary location, a move commonly referred to as the ‘big decant.’

The Palace of Westminster, which houses the UK Parliament, is in urgent need of renovation. Most systems within the building - sewage, heating, electricity - date back to the 19th century and could be mistaken for a Victorian technology museum. As they are no longer fit for purpose, the building is said to be on the brink of a catastrophe, mainly due to inadequate fire safety.

Despite the impending crisis and the urgent need to move out, many powerful stakeholders are apprehensive of the move and engage in what is sometimes described as "elite blockage".

While the proponents of the move see it as an opportunity to improve the workings of Parliament, the opponents focus on the threats to the traditional institutional order that the renovation and the decant might bring. By exploring the hopes and fears of various stakeholders in the UK Parliament related to the impending move, she identifies the ways in which the Parliament building shapes social practices within it.

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