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La Biennale di Venezia

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Lesley Lokko

Director of the Architecture Department

Lesley Lokko (Ghana/Scotland) is an architectural academic, educator and best-selling novelist.

She is the founder and director of the African Futures Institute, established in Accra, Ghana, in 2020 as a postgraduate school of architecture, research centre and public events platform. In 2015 she founded the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg.

She has taught in the UK, in the US, Europe, Australia and Africa (the Bartlett School of Architecture, Kingston University and London Metropolitan University in London; Iowa State University and University of Illinois at Chicago in the USA; University of Johannesburg and University of Cape Town in South Africa; and UTS in Sydney, Australia).

She is the recipient of a number of awards for contributions to architectural education, among them: the RIBA Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Education 2020; the AR Ada Louise Huxtable Prize for Contributions to Architecture 2021.

In 2019, she took up an appointment as Dean of Architecture at The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, CCNY, from which she subsequently resigned in 2020 to start the African Futures Institute in her home country, Accra, Ghana.

For the past thirty years, her work in both architecture and fiction has looked at the relationship between ‘race’, culture, and space.

In 2004, she made the transition from architecture to fiction with the publication of her first novel, Sundowners (Orion), following up with further novels. Her thirteenth novel, The Lonely Hour, is forthcoming in 2024 from Pan Macmillan.

She is the founder and editor-in-chief of FOLIO: Journal of Contemporary African Architecture and the editor of White Papers, Black Marks: Race, Space and Architecture (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press 2000).

She holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of London and a BSc (Arch) and MArch from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

She is currently a founding member of the Council on Urban Initiatives, co-founded by LES Cities, UN Habitat and UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose; a UCL Press Series Guest Editor; a Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL; Visiting Professor at University College Dublin and in 2022, was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).

Lokko was a member of the International Jury of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia in 2021.

Biennale Architettura
Biennale Architettura