Decolonizing the Campus

Decolonizing the Campus
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From November 23 – 24, 2018, Goethe-Institut in collaboration with 16/16, the department of Architecture at the University of Lagos and Obafemi Awolowo University will present a symposium Decolonizing the Campus. Through dialogue between local and international architects and scholars, the symposium will offer a critical dialogue on design pedagogy and campus construction as practiced at the start of Nigeria’s transition to independence.

The Decolonizing the Campus symposium focuses in particular on Obafemi Awolowo University. Founded in 1961, the University of Ife in protest against colonial rule, became the first post-independence university in Nigeria to have an architecture faculty. The Israeli architect Zvi Efrat has been commissioned by bauhaus imaginista to conduct on-site research and produce a short film about the development of the University of Ife campus, which was designed by Bauhaus graduate Arieh Sharon together with a team of Nigerian architects (including Lagos-based architect A.A. Egbor). Sharon completed his studies at Bauhaus Dessau in 1931, returning to Palestine where he was subsequently appointed head of the State Planning Authority after Israeli Independence. His involvement with Ife campus was part of Israel’s development aid in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sharon and his team designed the University of Ife campus over a twenty-year period lasting into the 1980s. How did the resulting campus in the ancient town of Ife-Ile differ from colonial campus architecture? How was the Ile-Ife Campus perceived by local students and architects and how does it function today?

The Lagos symposium is part of bauhaus imaginista’s 2018 series of events celebrating the centenary of the Bauhaus school (1919-1933) in Germany, a project investigating the worldly relations of the Bauhaus across major geopolitical transformations of the twentieth century. The Bauhaus school radicalized design pedagogy and stood for a cosmopolitan vision, acting within the transnational network of the modernist movement. It hosted students and teachers from various world regions. Through flight and migration following its closure by the Nazis in 1933, Bauhauslers were in contact with other modern movements in Asian, American and African countries. Over the course of 2018, artistic directors Marion von Osten and Grant Watson—in cooperation with a team of international researchers, artists and designers—have developed a research project, including four separate exhibitions in China, Japan, Russia and Brazil, complemented by discursive events in India, the United States, Morocco and Nigeria, held in partnership with local art and design institutions and the Goethe-Instituts. From 15 March to 10 June 2019, the final exhibition bauhaus imaginsta will be on view at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (HKW). More information on the project can be found on the website/online journal bauhaus-imaginista.org.

bauhaus imaginista is a collaboration between the Bauhaus Cooperation Berlin Dessau Weimar, the Goethe-Institut and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (HKW). The research project with its different exhibition stations is taking place for the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus. It will be enhanced with international perspectives of the Goethe-Instituts and tied together as part of the long-term project 100 Years of Now in 2019 at Haus der Kulturen der Welt. bauhaus imaginista is made possible by funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. The German Federal Cultural Foundation is supporting the exhibition in Berlin and the German Foreign Office the stations abroad. Mediapartners are 3sat and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. Partners abroad are the Goethe-Instituts in China, New Delhi, Lagos, Moscow, New York, Rabat, São Paulo, and Tokyo as well as Le Cube – independent art room (Rabat) and other institutions. bauhaus imaginista is realized in collaboration with the China Design Museum / China Academy of Art (Hangzhou), the Independent Administrative Institution of National Museum of Art / The National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow) and SESC São Paulo.


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