Topological Atlas

Mapping Contemporary Borderscapes

Topological Atlas develops a transdisciplinary research programme for mapping, analysing and intervening in border areas in the form of a digital atlas. The project thinks through the notion of the ‘atlas’ as an unfinished, impossible and colonial representation of a world, but also as a form of world-making or worlding. How can this topographical representation par excellence be reimagined differently?

The project uses topology as conceptual framework and methodology to make maps that produce ‘seamless transitions’ from the space of the migrant to that of the security apparatus that creates barriers to their movement. In doing so it seeks to disrupt the cartographic norms that are being reinforced through the prevalence of GIS technology and proprietary mapping platforms such as Google Earth. Topological Atlas works across three border sites, Pakistan-Iran, Iran-Turkey and EU-UK, producing visual counter-geographies that combine digital mapping and story-telling techniques with a participative approach that attends to those who are at the margins of traditional geopolitical inquiry. 



European Research Council (ERC)


Horizon 2020

Grant amount: € 1.498.349
Grant number:  758529
Role TU Delft:  Host Institution
Project duration: June 2018 - December 2023 
TU Delft researchers: Dr. Nishat Awan
Pierre Marchand
Julie Vanderhaegen
Yelta Köm
Lena Saraj
Ishita Sharma
Asim Rafiqui


Dr. Nishat Awan