PAC@75 is an exciting four-day celebration marking the 75th anniversary of the 5th Pan African Congress, held in Manchester in 1945.


Image created by: Zineb Berrais

Curated by Professor of Architecture, Ola Uduku, PAC@75 will be a multi-institutional series of creative and academic events, led by Manchester Metropolitan University, with contributions from The University of Manchester, the University of Salford, and the University of Bolton, and in association with a host of UK and international academic, creative and cultural individuals and institutions, including prominent local creatives and the Manchester public.

The Pan African Congress in 1945 was a precursor to the development of a number of African independence movements which went on to successfully secure self-rule for countries across Africa. It also signified the movement of the intellectual discourse on African self-realisation and solidarity with other causes; moving from the Americas and the West Indies, to the UK and then on to Africa.

The plaque commemorating this event is situated in the new Manchester Metropolitan University Arts and Humanities Building, facing onto All Saints Square, in what had previously been Chorlton Town Hall where the original six-day event took place. The Congress had 200 attendees from across the world; including delegations from Africa, America, the Caribbean and Asia, as well as black and white delegates from Manchester and across the UK.

Join us online to enjoy a range activities featuring high-profile international speakers, such as the Princeton-based writer and philosopher, Kwame Anthony Appiah, the writer and historian Afua Hirsch, and the poets Lemn Sissay, (Chancellor of The University of Manchester) and Carol Ann Duffy DBE (former Poet Laureate 2009-2019). They will be joined also by student speakers, who represent our next generation of leaders. There will also be public-facing sessions including public literature readings, art projections, and theatrical performances by the Manchester School of Theatre and Contact Theatre. PAC@75 is curated in collaboration with Dr Kai Syng Tan.

PAC@75 will bring together academics, students and the public to celebrate the impact that the diversity of Manchester has had on global history, and how this history relates to today’s contemporary challenges in the face of modern racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Full Programme and details here:

We are delighted to offer researchers at select partner universities an opportunity to apply for one of University in Liverpool’s Virtual Fellowships.

The Fellowships are open to researchers working in the field of heritage and are open to early career as well as established researchers.

The Fellowships provide an opportunity for selected candidates to gain collaborative research experience in an international research environment with the aim of publishing or co-publishing a specific piece of research in an international journal or equivalent venue and fostering long-term collaboration.

The Fellowships are fully online and travel to the UK is not required.

Successful candidates will have the opportunity to collaborate virtually with a research group or designated individuals at the University of Liverpool.

The Fellowship will offer:

  • one to one research mentoring, including support in analytical and interpretive methods in heritage research: this will be delivered at a distance through zoom or similar platforms
  • relief from teaching and other duties to pursue the completion and write-up of a piece of research for publication
  • access to online research resources and training including GIS training; Photogrammetry; AutoCAD and visualisation (3D Max); 3D scanning; Fieldwork/ documentation methods support and guidance with academic writing in English
  • opportunities for research collaboration through “virtual” participation in relevant research group activities in Liverpool.

Full details on how to apply here:

Impatient Cities of the Gulf: Post-oil Architecture in Flux – Call for Papers – HPA 8/2021

Today’s general perception of Gulf cities is based on the assumption of a futuristic vision; a visionary development and a cluster of hi-tech constructions.

Since the striking of oil, this ‘brave new world’ has been a testing ground for experimental, risk imbued architecture and real estate. The sudden affluence and ambition of the rulers to demonstrate progress and social advancements (sometimes expressed through outlandish ‘iconic’ designs) has certainly fired this drive. The building of cities seemed an appropriate culvert for the vast funds generated, turning what was once barren into a fertile land.

Screenshot 2020-07-30 at 09.59.44

Furthermore, there is an ever-present sense of the ‘tabula-rasa approach’ that forced (or perhaps tempted) architects to pursue different and alternative design processes. Gulf cities seem to permit the idea, if not always the reality, of being able to ‘start again’, to be re-made, re-imagined and re-Modernised. There is a sense of being forever in the ‘now’, with ‘historical’ projects stretching back mere decades. Perhaps this desire to continually reinvent brought about shortcomings in early Modernist paradigms, and the rapid rise of new social/cultural/artistic concepts (such as pop art/metabolism/structuralism/post-modernism/idiosyncratic and so on).

These preliminary reflections offer an image of the Gulf as a fluid ambit that challenged designers for several decades in the light of a central question: how do architects build in a place with a constantly changing context? How are ideas of history, tradition, memory, and heritage constructed in this flux?

In the second half of the 20th century, the circumstantial conditions generated a series of experimental, utopian, sometimes unbuildable projects with a high level of idealisation. Some are renowned such proposals as Wright’s plan for Baghdad or the Smithsons’ Kuwait mat-building. Many are still to be unearthed as they were shelved and never implemented, or abandoned along the way, altered or demolished.

In other cases, the region’s specific constraints – such as limited material availability, narrow construction time and harsh climate, led architects to original ideas, technologies, and procurement methods with highly inventive and analytical processes.

Moreover, modern architecture in the Gulf seems somehow different for sporting an urge for negotiating the local context by ‘flirting’ with traditional elements of locality, such as geometrical motifs, shapes, textures or colour palette. The liberal application of decorative motifs, patterns, applied ornamentation needs careful examination, especially when it is so diligently applied to forms and arrangements more generally associated with a more austere modernist agenda.

The editors invite papers that extend the discussion on the Gulf built environment during the modernisation era, over the duality global/local as terms in opposition. Contributions are encouraged to analyse different architectural narratives, approaches and schools of thought to compensate the assumption that flattens ‘modernity’ as a one-directional, repetitive and monotone practice acquired and acritically transplanted into the Arab Peninsula.

Focusing on the second half of the 20th century, and with an eye on the contemporary implications, possible topics include, but they are not limited to:

–          Experimental and inventive design practices

–          Global aspiration and local constraints

–          Context negotiation

–          Materiality

–          Knowledge exchanges and bijective practices

–          Modernity, tradition and transition

–          De-colonial urbanism

–          Identity formation and the built environment

–          Place-making, streetscapes and scale

Authors must submit directly full papers using

The guidelines for paper submission are available at

Please, fill in the author’s profile with all the information required as:

• Applicant’s name

• Professional affiliation

• Title of paper

• Abstract

• 5 keywords

• A brief CV (max 2,000 characters)

Please submit the proposal in the form of MS Word (length between 4,200 and 8,500 characters). The submitted paper must be anonymous. Please delete from the text and file’s properties all information about name, administrator etc. Papers should clearly define the argument in relation to the available literature and indicate the sources which the paper is based on.

All papers received will go through a process of double-blind peer review before publication.

HPA also looks for contributions for the review section.

To address questions to the editors:

– 31 December: Deadline for paper submission

– January: Notification of acceptance

– January-March: Peer-review process

– April-May: Copy editing and proofreading

– June 2021: Publication

Call for Papers: British Architecture in the World

As part of its long-running series Twentieth Century Architecture, the Twentieth Century Society is planning a journal for publication on the relationship between British architecture and other countries of the world, particularly those beyond Europe.

Pansodan Street, Yangon, including Chartered Bank, Palmer & Turner, 1939–41.

Pansodan Street, Yangon, including Chartered Bank, Palmer & Turner, 1939–41.

The nature of the relationship may take a number of forms, such as British-based practices working overseas, British architects establishing offices in other countries, architects coming to Britain for training before returning home, or more general issues of how the profession in Britain set standards for education and validation elsewhere, in particular through the RIBA. We tend to favour actual buildings as subject matter in Twentieth Century Architecture, but on this occasion the field may be wider, including town planning, cultural responses, climatic adaptation, administrative histories, professional formations, and relationships to the later period of colonialism and its ending. Accounts of the scope of archival resources could be of interest, and we might also include reports on the current state of buildings, including threats and conservation projects.

Jane Drew, housing in Sector-22, Chandigarh, c. 1954.

Jane Drew, housing in Sector-22, Chandigarh, c. 1954.

The scope outlined above is larger than usual for what is a relatively small collection of published pieces – the journal usually contains about ten articles – but it seems preferable not to place limitations until we are aware of what might be available. Recently, research and publication in this area have grown rapidly, and our aim is to bring together articles that complement each other, but with a spread of periods (anything from 1914 to around 2000), styles and locations. The journal will be the sixteenth in the series, and will probably be published in 2023.

In the first instance, please send your ideas by 01 July 2020 in the form of an abstract of up to 300 words, along with a brief CV and list of publications to date, to, who will also answer any queries. Abstracts will be reviewed by the editorial committee of the journal, drawn from members of the Twentieth Century Society Publications Committee, and selected for full submission. Completed texts will be peer-reviewed.

Following commissioning, delivery would be 1 March 2022, the length of articles should be between 2,000 and 5,000 words, with up to ten images per article. Contributors are expected to provide and pay for images of publishable quality.

Online Symposium: Epidemic Urbanism Reflections on History: 28 May and 29 May 2020

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Epidemic illnesses – not only a product of biology, but also social and cultural phenomena – are as old as cities themselves. The recent pandemic of COVID-19 has put into perspective the impact of epidemic illness on urban life and exposed the vulnerabilities of the societies it ravages. So how can epidemics help us understand urban environments? And what insights from the outbreak and experience of and the response to previous urban epidemics might inform our understanding of COVID-19?

Addressing these questions, this online symposium on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 May, 16:00–18:00 BST (11:00–13:00 US EST) will bring together academics from a range of disciplines to present case studies from across the globe demonstrating how cities in particular are not just the primary place of exposure and quarantine, but also the site and instrument of intervention.

Each presentation will tell a story of a city, an outbreak of illness, and the city’s response to the epidemic, addressing notable interventions or actions implemented and their effects. Some will discuss the impact of the epidemic on urbanism, urban design and urban planning. Others consider epidemic influence on architecture, the built environment and the experience of illness.

Presentations will cover a range of illnesses and epidemics, geographies, time periods and urban interventions. The observations on the impact of these epidemics on society and urban life seek to offer insights to understand, critique or complicate the conception of and response to COVID-19 because the symposium ultimately aims to create a space in which to use history as a medium to provide a better understanding of the current crisis and how it might shape our future.

Information and Registration:



Register by 20 May 2020.

Tania Sengupta, “Papered spaces: clerical practices, materialities, and spatial cultures of provincial governance in Bengal, Colonial India, 1820s–1860s”, Journal of Architecture, vol 25, issue 2, 2020

British colonial governance in India was built upon global technologies of writing produced through European mercantile colonialism; the extraction of the embodied Mughal administrative knowledge from a Persianette (or Tamil-proficient, as in Southern India) Indian clerical class, and its materialisation into official paper-based forms, as shown by Christopher Bayly; and a scribal-clerical ‘habitus’ as described by Bhavani Raman. This research focuses on the architecture, spaces and material culture associated with the paper-bureaucracy of the colonial government of Bengal that Jon Wilson calls one of the world’s earliest modern states.

A provincial administrative town in colonial Bengal. George Francklin Atkinson, Our Station, Plate 1, lithograph, from Atkinson, Curry and Rice (On Forty Plates) Or the Ingredients of Social Life at Our Station in India (London: Day & Son, 1859), © British Library Board, 1264.e.16

A provincial administrative town in colonial Bengal. George Francklin Atkinson, Our Station, Plate 1, lithograph, from Atkinson, Curry and Rice (On Forty Plates) Or the Ingredients of Social Life at Our Station in India (London: Day & Son, 1859), © British Library Board, 1264.e.16

It argues that this paper-/ writing-oriented habitus also mandated a chain of materialities and spatialities (paper-records, furniture, spaces, and architectures of colonial governance). Focusing on the colonial cutcherry(office), the nerve-centre of Bengal’s zilla sadar (provincial administrative) towns, I analyse such ‘papered spaces’ as record rooms and clerical offices. The work is conceptualised around paper as a key agent of colonial governance, including the expanding spheres of its logic, which profoundly permeated the cutcherry’s material-spatial culture and experiential ‘lifeworld’. I also reflect on how colonial paper-practices intersected with other more immaterial and mobile circuits of knowledge and information spread over the town and country, and how such paper-governance was fed, for example, by spatial geographies of paper supply and printing. For the research, I combined extensive on-ground documentations of the material fabric of the buildings with archival research (governmental papers, period literature and art) in India, Bangladesh and Britain. 

The 7th International Congress on Construction History (7ICCH) will be held in Lisbon, from 12 to 16 July, 2021. As in 6ICCH (Brussels, 2018), the 7ICCH event will adopt a two-step procedure for proposals evaluation:

– First call: a first call for proposals for thematic sessions will be open from 15 April 2020 to 9 May 2020; followed by a

– Second call: a general call for abstracts for the usual open sessions, from 18 May to 28 June 2020.

We are what we build and how we build; thus, the study of Construction History is now more than ever at the centre of current debates as to the shape of a sustainable future for humankind. With the main theme “History of Construction Cultures”, the Congress will provide an opportunity to celebrate and expand our understanding of the ways that everyday building activities have been perceived and experienced in different cultures, times and places.

The general call for abstracts will invite proposals for inclusion in thematic sessions as well as single contributions dealing with a broad range of construction history topics (construction determinants and their relation with design, extraction and processing of materials, site management, works execution processes, knowledge transfer, actors, machines, tools, building legislation, construction – politics, economy and society, etc.). The aim will be to achieve a broad and in-depth assessment of new research in construction history.

The present call, open until 9 May 2020 invites prospective session chairs to suggest topics for thematic sessions. The proposed subjects should contribute to the debate of the latest issues, approaches and questions of research in the field of construction history research, stimulating intercultural and interdisciplinary collaboration and discussion. Proposals should include a description of the theme (max. 400 words), an explanation of the relevance of the theme (max. 400 words) and the CV of the applicant chair demonstrating his/her relevant expertise.

With the support of the Scientific Committee, the Organizing Committee will select up to 12 thematic sessions, limited to one per applicant. Chairs of the thematic sessions are expected to be present at the 7ICCH and give a short introduction to their session. They are, in collaboration with the Scientific Committee, responsible for the selection process of the submitted abstracts and for the editing process of the submitted papers. Four or five papers will be selected for each session.

No more than one paper from the chair’s research team can be selected. The Scientific Committee reserves the right to redirect papers towards other thematic or general sessions. Proposals should be sent to until 4 May 2020. Prospective session chairs will be informed on the evaluation of their proposals by the Organizing Committee by 18 May 2020.

More information at

Organizing Committee:
Chair – João Mascarenhas Mateus (University of Lisbon)
Treasurer – Ana Paula Pires (NOVA University of Lisbon)
Sandra M. G. Pinto (NOVA University of Lisbon) Fernanda Rollo (NOVA University of Lisbon)
José Aguiar (University of Lisbon)
Ivo Veiga (University of Lisbon)
Milton Pacheco (Coimbra University)
Manuel Caiado (University of Lisbon)

‘The architectural production of India’s everyday modernism: middle-class housing in Pune, 1960-1980’ in Architecture Beyond Europe Journal, no.16, 2019.

Sarah Melsens, Inge Bertels et Amit Srivastava


Architects United, Freestanding Bungalow for Mrs. Shroff, Pune, 1966

The large-scale appropriation of modernist architectural features in everyday housing projects in postcolonial India is remarkable. This article examines how regional architects adapted their engagement with architectural modernism to the evolving circumstances of architectural production within the context of the developing world. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s “field theory”, it presents a detailed case study of two decades of residential work by Architects United, a medium-scale architectural practice founded in the Indian city of Pune in 1961. While the architects’ earliest projects demonstrated an opportunity and desire for architectural innovation, this approach became increasingly restricted as new patterns for housing provision emerged, resulting in a more subdued and hybrid form of modernist architecture. The paper makes use of the architects’ previously undisclosed archive and oral history to demonstrate that these architectural adaptations were the indirect result of governance practices and societal change, particularly the government’s stimulation of co-operative housing initiatives and the emergence of a postcolonial middle class with distinct housing expectations. As such, this “peripheral” case exposes some of the processes that have been overlooked in the rhetoric of Architectural Modernism as a Western import in India, which is primarily centered around the discussion of exceptional public building commissions by “global experts” or their Indian disciples. The paper further highlights the need to investigate the processes of architectural production, in addition to the built product itself, so that a pluralistic rather than romanticized understanding of architectural practice may emerge.

The full article is freely available here:

Herbert Baker, New Delhi and the reception of the classical tradition

by Soumyen Bandyopadhyay, Sagar Chauhan, in The Routledge Handbook on the Reception of Classical Architecture: 

This chapter assesses the work of the British architect Sir Herbert Baker (1862–1946) for the imperial capital of New Delhi, a role he shared with Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869–1944) very much as an equal partner over more than a decade. This assessment is undertaken in the context of the reception and rereading of the classical project and the wider classical tradition among not only the imperialists, but also the colonised in India.

Herbert Baker: corbelled arch in New Delhi

corbelled arch in New Delhi

The reception of the classical tradition in India assumed a character distinct from other British colonies as a result of a long-standing history of interaction with the classical world, as well as the sheer immensity of its diverse historical, literary and material culture traditions. With the consolidation of the British Empire in India, European classical traditions assumed attributes and resonances they did not possess in Europe.

Infrastructure between Statehood and Selfhood: The Trans-African Highway

Kenny Cupers, Prita Meier


Focusing on the 1960s–70s project to build a trans-African highway network, Infrastructure between Statehood and Selfhood: The Trans-African Highway argues for the need to develop a more dialectical understanding of the relationship between people and infrastructure than current architectural and urban scholarship affords. As Kenny Cupers and Prita Meier describe, African leaders imagined infrastructure as a vehicle of Pan-African freedom, unity, and development, but the construction of the Trans-African Highway relied on expertise and funding from former colonial overlords. Based on archival research, visual analysis, and ethnographic fieldwork in Kenya, this article examines the highway’s imaginaries of decolonization to show how infrastructure was both the business of statehood and a means of selfhood.

Map of the Trans-African Highway project, late 1970s (Rolf Hofmeier, “Die Transafrikastraßen: Stand der Planung und Realisierung,” Africa Spectrum 14, no. 1 [1979], 35).

Map of the Trans-African Highway project, late 1970s (Rolf Hofmeier, “Die Transafrikastraßen: Stand der Planung und Realisierung,” Africa Spectrum 14, no. 1 [1979], 35).

From the automobile and the tarmac road to the aesthetics and practices of mobility these fostered, infrastructure was a vehicle for the production of subjectivity in postindependence Kenya. This new selfhood, future oriented and on the move, was both victim and agent of commodification.