Twenty scholars of architecture and politics in Africa gathered in Accra for ASA’s academic workshop in September 2022. The workshop was held with ASA’s partners at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana.
The theme was Architecture in Africa’s International Relations, and the delegates discussed work covering a wide range of topics, including buildings as transmitters of postcolonial identities; buildings and soft power; how international architecture competitions have shaped the continent; architecture in South-South relationships; and architectural contributions to orientalism and decolonisation.
Two clear themes emerged from discussions:
Architecture as Soft Power in Africa – a theme about how architecture is used to describe and project ideas about hierarchy, state authority, solidarity and modernity, working both from and into the continent through a wide range of international relations.
Reinventing Africa through architecture – a theme about how architecture is a crucial tool in articulating and projecting new ideas of Africa, giving material form to state power, dealing with colonial legacies and expressing new aesthetics that speak to postcolonial African identities.
The papers are currently being worked into two collections for publication next year.
Adekunle Adeyemo, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
Lloyd Amoah, University of Ghana
Irene Addo Appeaning, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana
Lesego Bantsheng, Uhuru Heritage NPO, South Africa
Tomà Berlanda, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Brook Haileselassie, Department of Architecture, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Kristina Egbers, Studio*K, Berlin, Germany
Nnamdi Elleh, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Mjiba Frehiwot, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana
Jamilla Hamidu, Institut d’Etudes Politique de Bordeaux, France
Sophie Kazan, University of Falmouth, UK
Kuukuwa Manful, SOAS, University of London, UK
Nora Naji, University of Basel, Switzerland
Kenneth O Nyangena, Laikipia University, Kenya
Emmanuel Kusi Ofori-Sarpong, SOAS, University of London, UK
Valerie Rumbidzai Jeche, University of Zimbabwe
Hashim Tarmahomed, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Aude Tollo, Architectural Association, London, UK
Anthony K Wako, Uganda Martyrs University
Damaris Wanjiku, Laikipia University, Kenya