The Creative Hub, The Storey Meeting House Lane Lancaster, LA1 1TH

The City Off the Map

A digital video installation, created by imitating the dog and commissioned by The GREAT Project

You are invited to experience an immersive journey, to take an imagined walk  through the off-grid streets of Comuna 18 and to peer in through the windows of  Cali, Colombia.

The City Off the Map is an innovative digital video installation that combines model representations of the community’s houses with documentary footage and interviews with the people who live at the heart of some of Cali’s informal settlements. Through their stories, you will discover how residents  cope with life in a place that is not recognised by official maps or authorities. You will learn about their struggles and aspirations, their sense of community and identity, and their views on the future of their city.

The installation is commissioned by The GREAT Project, an international three-year (2020-2023) research project that explores the relationship between people and urban infrastructure in areas of transition  in Cali, Colombia and Havana, Cuba. It is co-produced with local artists, communities and researchers to showcase the real testaments and findings of the project. 

The City Off the Map is a tribute to the power of art and storytelling in shaping a people’s narrative. It will premiere in Cali, Colombia on July 7th and visit Lancaster in September. Don’t miss this chance to see a different side of Cali and the people living in the unmapped city. 


More about The GREAT Project

Led by Lancaster University and an international interdisciplinary team of researchers in the UK, Colombia and Cuba, The GREAT Project is a three-year project (2020-2023) exploring communities living in informal settlements in areas of transition in Cali, Colombia and Havana, Cuba, and the empowerment or disenfranchisement they feel as a result of off-grid policies and initiatives.

Funded by UKRI-GCRF, it focuses on community-led projects and prioritises PublicLabs where a range of people can think, debate and take action with respect to their community’s social futures. In Cali, The GREAT Project has worked with PopuLab to develop a series of events with academics and civilians, aimed at contributing towards helping the lives of District 18 residents.

Find out more about the project’s work at The GREAT Project and PopuLab

With thanks to

We would like to express our gratitude to the following people and groups who made this installation possible:

  • The residents of La Arboleda, Brisas de las Palmas, Pampas del Mirador and Alto Polvorines, who are part of the GREAT project and who generously shared their life stories with us.
  • The film and architecture students who assisted us in capturing the videos and building the artwork.
  • Mariangela Aponte, local artist who co-produced the installation with us.
  • Melissa Saavedra, videographer who coordinated and documented the process and the outcome.
  • Gabriel Visconti, architect who created the exhibition on the GREAT project.
  • Gynna Millan, Ángela Franco, and Laura Carrillo who coordinated and facilitated communications with the community in Comuna 18 and with Universidad del Valle.
  • The Society of Colombian Architects and Elly Burckhardt de Echeverry,  president from the Valle del Cauca regional for facilitating the installation in their facilities 
  • The GREAT research team in Cali who helped coordinate the fieldwork in Comuna 18 and provided guidance and feedback at different stages of the process.
  • Natalia Valderrama, GREAT project coordinator for liaising the research, artistic, logistic and comms teams in Cali and Lancaster
  • Carlos López – Galvis  Principal Investigator of the GREAT project, for facilitating the technical, logistic and administrative support to make this artistic ouput possible.

For full details of the personnel involved in this project, please click here to see the credits

Supported by

Funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)  ‘Gridding Equitable Urban Futures in Areas of Transition (GREAT) in Cali, Colombia and Havana, Cuba’ grant via the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ES/T008008/1) and by the theatre company imitating the dog


Sociedad Colombiana de Arquitectos in Cali, Colombia

July 6-23

Open to public

Lancaster University LICA (Conference)

Sept 21-22