Past event

2024 Octavia Elfrida Saunders Memorial Lecture: Professor Lesley Lokko OBE Building and being

For an architect, in too many ways to count, to be is to build and to build is to be. But increasingly, in a more fluid and often fragile world, the nature of building — what buildings mean beyond their form (or façades) — is slippery, ambiguous and open to interpretation.

This 40-minute talk by Professor Lesley Lokko OBE will examine the term ‘building' through multiple lenses: through the cracks and gaps between practice and academia, advocacy and activism, between the past and the future of architecture, and between those historically on the inside of its canon and those whose histories and experiences have generally been cast as marginal.

Drawing on the experience of curating the world's oldest architectural exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Professor Lokko will examine how including previously unheard or unnoticed voices expands and enriches our understanding of building, not to detract from architecture's rich canon, but to inspire it.

Professor Lesley Lokko OBE founded the African Futures Institute (AFI) in Ghana, aiming to be a new model of education, research and public dialogue that unites the arts, humanities and sciences. Operating as a pan-African think tank, the institute champions cutting-edge teaching and world-class research to confront contemporary challenges around race, environmental justice, and new forms of urbanism.

For more than two decades, Professor Lokko has been recognised for her groundbreaking contributions to architectural education, dialogue and discourse from a Global South perspective, relentlessly pursuing inclusivity and equity in the field. She was awarded RIBA's Royal Gold Medal 2024 for architecture in recognition of her commitment to championing diverse approaches to architectural practice and education.

This event will also be livestreamed: MS Teams webinar link.

Image caption credit: still from The Master's House, filmed at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Berea, Johannesburg, 2019. Photo: Lesley Lokko Videographer: Zaheer Cassim Actress: Gugulethu Mthembu