The first Accra Writing Workshop took place July 2018 in Accra, Ghana. The workshop was organised by Professor Ola Uduku of the Manchester School of Architecture in collaboration with Dr. Irene Appeaning Addo of the University of Ghana’s Institute of African Studies. The workshop was funded by the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK).
Dr. Joseph Oduro-Frimpong, Assistant Professor, Ashesi University
Victoria Okoye, Postgraduate Researcher in Architecture, University of Sheffield
Kuukuwa Manful, Doctoral Researcher, SOAS University of London
Yaa Kankam Nantwi is an International Literary and Visual Studies student at Tufts University but living in Ghana. Although her academic focus is on African and African-American art, her personal exploration has been that of museum structures and how exhibition architecture can resist museums’ colonial and exclusive history. Taking a more ethnographic approach, Yaa’s thesis research has been around the artistic institutions and spaces in Accra and how they frame art. As such, she is a research intern at Ano Foundation to follow the impact of its Kiosk Mobile Museum project. This project involved redesigning kiosks from a culturally recognized structure commonly used for commerce in Ghana, and turning it into a mobile Art space that invites inclusion and participation.
From then, she has been travelling around Ghana with the Ano Foundation team speaking to people about culture and in what structures they encounter it so that the way we display art can reflect these contexts. Along the way, Yaa and the team have visited historic buildings, festivals, conventional gallery and museum spaces as well as community settlements and villages with indigenous architectural forms to gain perspective on how space shapes culture. Yaa is an arts and culture writer for Gal-Dem Zine, staff writer for the Tufts Daily and Tufts Observer and editor in chief of Clapback Zine, an online arts and culture magazine that serves as a platform for prioritizing the voices and narratives of African women between the ages of 14-25.
Selorm Abla Afeke is a second year post graduate Architecture student studying at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. As a young architect with about 5 years in architecture school, writing has been part of her training to appraise and learn from buildings. Selorm uses writing to express innate thoughts and feelings about various aspects of the world like design, food and other issues related to life that could be shared with various people.
Nelly Gyebi is an a prospective graduate student at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. She is a gender advocate and an aspiring academic advocate for women and children rights. She has an interest in gender and developmental issues and has a special focus on building an entrepreneurial foundation to support the underprivileged. She is an exceptional event organizer and has been part of the successful organization of two international conferences held in Accra in 2017. She is willing to explore other academic disciplines to boost her academic career.
Hudson Taylor Lekunze is a technology enthusiast and lover of deconstructivist architecture and its “experimentation” with geometry, following the work of Zaha Hadid. He also has great interest literary work on pop culture trends in Africa and how they capture the essence of everyday life in African communities. He loves academia and intends to remain in academia after postgraduate studies; he is just interested in a number of things – from anthropology to artificial intelligence – and needs to pick or find where they all merge. He is proficient in Programming, Mobile Application Development, Computer Networks and Systems Administration.
Ernest Sasu Kwame Sewordor is a growing scholar with an M.Phil. degree in History, earned from the University of Ghana in 2017. Since 2015, however, his academic work has broadly hinged on urban and architectural history, with particular emphasis on missionary encounters in the context of the Atlantic World. As two-time grant recipient from the Adjaye Endowment Scholarships in History trust to support his M.Phil., his hard-work is self-evident. He has several years of experience as a researcher and teaching/graduate assistant responsible for both Ghanaian and international students. He has recently submitted an article each to the Journal of West African History and The Journal of African History for consideration.
The foregoing foundation partly predicates his future interest to research Basel Mission encounters on the Gold Coast and how these religious exchanges shaped urban space via the establishment of separatist enclaves (i.e., Salems) since the mid-19th century. Sasu, via his M.Phil. training, developed conviction particularly for not restricting his thinking to local academic standards and this outlook defines his intellectual independence, marked by his ongoing book-length project titled; ‘When we look, what we see?: An Introduction to Visual Testimony and Use for Ghanaian Histories.’ These evidence of intellectual rigour and maturity have earned him a Doctorial Fellowship at the University of Basel, Switzerland.
As an avid reader, Farouk Kwaning’s inclination to write extensively began close to three years ago. Writing began informally with discourse on comics, architecture and urbanity and became heavily formal with his second major academic work with “I Envisage Accra: #Housing” which enabled him to express commentary on the capital city of Accra. The body of work presents a personal insight through multi-layered research in housing within Accra as it investigated the historical, socio-cultural, political, and statistical construct influencing housing in selected locations within the city. “I Envisage Accra: #Housing” has become a springboard, a foundation on which I building my upcoming project “I Envisage Accra: Storeying Utopias” which hopes to discourse urbanism, its past, present and future with virtual and physical 3-dimensional models Accra.
Farouk’s research and writing work include design, architecture, banking & commodification of nature, film, and techniques of famous artists and architects. His expressions, sometimes satirical reflect situations in which I find myself writing at the particular time — affected by memory of occurrences, time and genius loci. Farouk is currently studying MA in Architecture at Royal College of Art in London.
Taru, from Patna, India, is an architect, urban planner and researcher, currently doing my PhD on comparative urbanism in post-colonial cities of the Global South. Her research seeks to examine planning for equity and social justice in the face of structural conflicts and polarization in cities. It aims to map ways to negotiate change and plan and implement inclusively despite the existing socio-political barriers. It seeks to investigate state-led or institutional urban change through the feminist and subaltern lens of identity, class, and power and understand the emerging urban phenomena of insurgency and change-making within these communities. As someone deeply interested in the dynamic city, Taru is fascinated by the vibrant informality and the DIY nature of the emerging African city. Her current exploratory work as a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Planning seeks to inquire into the nature of such kinetic urbanism and the unique form it takes in Accra. This inquiry sits at the intersection of multiple sets of literature, including ones on post-colonial architecture, informality, kinetic cities, comparative literature cities of the global south and appropriate technology.
Yvonne Elom Adzo Ahadjie is currently pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Architecture at Central University. She is interested in using writing to explore the past and present state of architecture in Ghana and the way forward to proper design in architecture.
Tony Yeboah is a doctoral student in African history at Yale University. His manuscript, “Phoenix Rise: A History of Architectural Reconstruction of Kumase, 1874-1960” has been accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of Journal of West African History. He has also collaborated with Trevor Getz and Lindsay Ehrisman on an applied history project, the findings of which are captured in an article entitled, “We Should Have Maintained This Unity, Then There Would Be More Development:” Lessons from a Pop-Up Museum of the Fante Confederation.’ This will be published in the Spring in History in Africa.
Emmanuel Banahene Owusu developed an early interest in the urban environment after high school when he realized the spontaneous developments that characterize the Ghanaian urban environment. Since then, his goals have been to contribute to knowledge and practice by conducting research to improve the built environment, to help conserve the heritages and identity of the urban environment, to design climatic responsive and sustainable structures and proper planning of our cities, towns, communities’ neighborhoods and homes to also conform to the principles of sustainability. Emmanuel completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Architecture in KNUST and has taken part in international workshops including Landscape and Initiatives for Neighbourhood and Community Revival (LaNCoR+) and Agro-Tourism as Food Security Strategy (Atafoss), where he helped to propose practical solutions to some of the pertinent problems that exist within the urban environment. Emmanuel’s practical experience includes work on affordable housing in Asokore Mampong, Kumasi and a design proposal for the KNUST Hospital.
For Kwamena Akraba Quagraine, architecture is a way to contribute to development and living standards of people in his part of the world: I believe there is the need to merge the trending creativity with regards to design with our cultural values to provide a hybrid design that best suits the African context. This is a necessity because as designers we know that the buildings we choose to live in have impact on our way of living and therefore demands attention. I believe that people can get to appreciate our designs that best suits our part of the world through making our voices heard.
He is a graduate of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and pursued BSc. Architecture. Over the years of study he has interned in Architectural offices to help bring out his capabilities and sharpen his thoughts in the field of Architecture. He has interests in music, design, career coaching and writing as well.