2024 Octavia Elfrida Saunders Memorial Lecture Announced for 6th March.

22 February 2024

Join us on Wednesday 6th March at 5pm in School 3 of St Salvator's Quad for the Octavia Elfrida Saunders Lecture 2024 by Prof Lesley Lokko OBE, 'Building and Being'. You can register for free tickets to attend in person, or online at the event page.

As 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 examines 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, the talk examines 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 is the founder and director of the African Futures Institute (AFI) in Accra, Ghana. She holds a BSc(Arch), MArch and PhD in Architecture from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. She was the founder and director of the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg (2014—2019). She is the editor of White Papers, Black Marks: Race, Culture, Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) and the editor-in-chief of FOLIO: Journal of Contemporary African Architecture.

She is currently a Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture and at University College Dublin. She was appointed Curator of the 18th International Architecture Biennale at La Biennale di Venezia in 2023. In January 2023, she was awarded an OBE ‘for services to architecture and education’ in King Charles’ New Year’s Honours List. In January 2024, she was awarded the UK’s highest architecture award, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal. Image: still from the film, The Master’s House, filmed at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Berea, Johannesburg, 2019. Photo: Lesley Lokko. Videographer: Zaheer Cassim. Actress: Gugulethu Mthembu.