Searching for the Cosmopolitan City in a Building: A Publication Project Through the Archives of the Old British Post Office

In 1859, Britain established a post office in Galata for military correspondence. The building served as the British Post Office until 1895. From 1905 to 1912, the building was used as the British Boys’ School. Continued to be used with different functions by different people and communities reflecting Istanbul’s cosmopolitan past in the following decades, the building was re-functionalized as Postane and restored as a cultural center in 2021.

Postane aims to host social, environmental and urban impact-oriented studies and cultural production. In order to create an urban memory for both the past of Postane building and the Galata region where it is located; a project of publication and seminar series is prepared by evaluating the archives reached during the restoration. The project started with the aim of making the multicultural structure of Postane building and Galata more easy to read. The project is designed as a series of seminars in which archival materials will be organized, published, and opened to public discussion.

The project aims to contribute to the urban memory of the actors who have taken place in the history of the old British Post Office and the cultural, social, structural and political factors that have transformed this place. Among the social issues that the project focuses on are establishing a historical narrative through the multi-cultural traces left by different ethnic and social groups operating in Galata, documenting the stories of urban traces through institutional and personal archives, and creating a dialogue space to make this archive visible and understandable. In this sense, the project aims to interpret socio-cultural history through the built environment and to share this information.

The Center For Spatial Justice centers the historical, social, cultural and spatial justice demands of local communities, grassroots movements, activists and life itself against the undemocratic order imposed by the political economy of construction and excavation which increasingly impacts urban and rural spaces as well as social relations. It collects, produces and shares qualified, innovative and public knowledge of space through an interdisciplinary approach. Its practices include research and broadcasting, walks, mapping, video activism and documentary filmmaking, educational activities, advocacy, data collection and visualization. Solidarity is the main focus of the Center for Spatial Justice in all its works.

The project is coordinated by Liana Kuyumcuyan and Murat Tülek conducts the archival research.

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