Vertigo in the City is an exploratory research project led by Dr Davide Deriu in the Department of Architecture at the University of Westminster and in collaboration with Dr Josephine Kane (Royal College of Art, London). It has been funded by a Wellcome Trust Grant in the Medical Humanities. Prompted by the rapid growth of cities around the world, this project investigates the phenomenon of vertigo in relation to the urban environment. The term vertigo was often used to describe the maelstrom of the twentieth-century metropolis. What is its significance today? And how can this concept – with its inherent tension between thrill and anxiety – help us to interpret the contemporary urban experience?
These questions inform a series of meetings, field trips, and other activities conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, which comprises of Professor John Golding (Department of Psychology, University of Westminster) and Professor Brendan Walker (Horizon Centre for Digital Economy Research, University of Nottingham), alongside Dr Deriu and Dr Kane.The scoping phase of the project culminated in a two-day symposium that brought together scholars and practitioners from the sciences, arts and humanities to discuss how sensations of dizziness and disorientation are variously analysed, treated, evoked, induced, and represented (Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, 29-30 May 2015).