© 2024 Pablo Arboleda — Interdisciplinary researcher

  • About


I am an interdisciplinary researcher with an educational history spanning architecture, heritage, and urban studies.


I study modern ruins in a European context, involving critical heritage approaches and alternative re-activation practices. I graduated as an architect in Spain (2011), obtained a Master’s degree in Heritage Studies at BTU-Cottbus (Germany, 2014), and I have a PhD in European Urban Studies from Bauhaus University Weimar (Germany, 2017). I worked as a postdoctoral researcher both at the School of Geography of the University of Glasgow (UK, 2018-2021), and in the Department of Humanities: History, Geography and Art at University Carlos III Madrid (Spain, 2021-2022). I was granted a Juan de la Cierva-Incorporación (2022-2024) to be enjoyed at CSIC, having first worked at the Institute of Heritage Sciences, and then at the Institute of Language, Literature, and Anthropology (ILLA). The latter is the institution where I am currently based, developing, since February 2024, an Atracción de Talento-Community of Madrid project.

Modern ruins,
new heritages

During the last decade, my research profile has grown alongside a renewed, global interest in modern ruins and architectures of abandonment, whose increasing presence denotes the spatial effects of a rapidly changing world characterized by post-industrial and post-crises scenarios. As an architect and a researcher, I have always questioned the formal rehabilitation of old buildings as the only possible solution to deal with heritage – particularly, in a context where heritage is no longer exclusively tied to monumentality, beauty and power, and is rather emerging as a critical field that explores complicated socio-political and economic issues. Under the premise that heritage is, above all, an embodied experience, my contribution to scholarship tackles novel and important debates on the role of DIY, communal preservation, framing this into the world-wide tendency for investigating how alternative practices originate new heritage forms whose meanings are constantly shaped and negotiated.

Science & art:
interdisciplinary approach

I consider ruination not merely as a problem to correct, but as a complex cultural reality to comprehend through multivariate site-specific studies, theoretically informed commentaries, immersive ethnography, methodological experiments, and collaborative research. Materialized in photo-essays, experimental videos and comics, my academic production goes far beyond conventional dissemination and, since I believe that the boundaries between science and art are certainly blurred, I build bridges with contemporary visual cultures as a strategy to engage with ‘the general public’. My growing international reputation is built on a sustained record of peer reviewed publications, through which I have built status in a wide range of subjects across the social sciences and humanities.


the academy

The own nature of my work, centred in the idiosyncrasy of community participation and empowerment, affords knowledge exchange sustained through constant interaction, and thus, I produce outcomes that are relevant and beneficial to local communities. Activities like open symposia, capacity-building events, workshops, film screenings and art exhibitions are at the heart of my research, allowing me to strengthen networks with broader artistic movements, social activists and local actors across Europe. Further, I contribute to disseminate my findings in regular collaborations with different mass media, using layperson’s language to make my research fully accessible.

Pablo Arboleda
Interdisciplinary researcher

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