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School of Arts and Humanities

The Netherbow Gate and the creation of urban borders in early modern Edinburgh

As part of the 46th annual Martin Centre Lectures at the Department of Architecture, Dr Giovanna Guidicini will discuss how city gates can act as a border between urban communities.

City gates in the early modern period physically embodied the distinction between inside and outside, defending the commercial and administrative privileges granted to the urban space, but also reminding the inhabitants
of their civic obligations and of the threatening potential of the unlawful outer space. 

In the latest Martin Centre Lecture, Dr Giovanna Guidicini will discuss the role of the Netherbow gate as border between two urban communities (Edinburgh and the Canongate, two 'insides') rather than as marker of the more conventional inside vs outside distinction. Dr Guidicini also follows the development of the civic space leading the redefinition of the role and position of the border over time.

Even when superseded and obliterated by urban growth, the liminal power of this border remains memorialised in the urban form.

Giovanna Guidicini is a Lecturer in Architectural History and Urban Studies at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art. Giovanna is particularly interested in the role of the urban environment as performative space during triumphal entries celebrated in Europe -and in Scotland in particular- during the early modern period. She has recently published a chapter titled 'Imagining and staging an urban border: the role of the Netherbow gate in early modern Edinburgh; in Ashgate's publication 'The Design of Frontier Spaces: Control and Ambiguity; edited by C. Loeb and A.Luescher.

The lecture will be held on Wednesday 02 December from 1:15-2:14 in Lecture Room 1 at the Department of Architecture. 

 For more information, see the event description, and the full schedule of Martin Centre Lectures this term, or visit