Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, Sweden

Conference: Decolonizing Architecture

“Decolonizing Architecture: Internal Colonialism – Refugee and Colonial Heritage – Knowledge Production” is a conference organized by the Decolonizing Architecture advanced course and the R-Lab advanced course at the Royal institute of Art (RIA), the School of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Konsthall C and Tensta Konsthall.


Once situated beyond Europe’s borders, the struggle for decolonization has now moved within its territories and peripheries, namely through the numerous populations arriving from former colonies. What the media calls the “refugee crisis” is in reality the incapacity of Europe to come to terms with the consequences of five hundred years of colonialism. It is not possible to seriously understand
today’s migration processes without addressing Europe’s colonial heritage. The conference presents a series of comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of colonial architecture, expanding the notion of colonial space into present realities. It will explore the internal colonization of Sami land in Sweden, remittance urbanisms and new struggles of knowledge production within Europe, pose disruptive questions around the heritage of Palestinian refugee camps – the oldest refugee camps in the world – as well as confronting the colonial heritage of European museums and institutions. A second day is dedicated to guided exhibition visits to Konsthall C and Tensta Konsthall and an evening lecture by Forensic Architecture that will call for the mobilisation of architecture as both a form of research and activism.


26 April, KTH School of Architecture

09.15-09.30 Introduction

Session 1. Decolonizing North

09.30-10.15 Joar Nango
10.15-10.35 Respondents: Meike Schalk and Maria Lind
10.35-11.00 Q&A

Session 2. Knowledge Production

11.20-12.05 Diego Barajas and Camilo García (HUSOS)
12.05-12.25 Respondents: Fernanda Ruiz and Carlota Mir (Decolonizing Architecture Advanced Course)
12.25-12.50 Q&A

Session 3. Critical Cultural Heritage

14.00-14.45 Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal (DAAR)
14.45-15.05 Respondents: Jennifer Mack and Thordis Arrhenius
15.05-15.30 Q&A

Session 4. Decolonizing the Museum

15.45 – 16.30 Afaina de Jong
16.30 – 16.50 Respondents: Corina Oprea and Ulrika Flink
16.50 – 17.45 Q&A and final remarks by Peter Lang

17.45: Drinks
KTH School of Architecture’s Public Lecture:
Architecture and Philosophies ResArc Research Course Lecture convened by Hélène Frichot

18.00-20.00 Lectures and launch
Isabelle Doucet: Activist Tools for Situated Architectures
Alessandro Armando: Five problems on the politics of design practice

Launch: Resist, Reclaim, Speculate: Situated Perspectives on Architecture and the City, Architectural Theory Review (ATR) 22:1, edited by Isabelle Doucet and Hélène Frichot

27 April, Konsthall C and Tensta Konsthall

Guided visit by Corina Oprea of the exhibition “Precarious terrain and entangled situations” with Ayesha Hameed, Carola Grahn, Elizabeth Povinelli & The Karrabing Film Collective, and Hanna Husberg

Guided visit by Maria Lind of the exhibition “Soon enough: Art in Action” with among others Joar Nango, Dale Harding and Kultivator.

Eyal Weizman: Forensic Architecture

Architecture + Philosophy

KTH, School of Architecture, Osquars backe 5. Subway: Tekniska Högskolan

Konsthall C, Cigarrvägen 14. Subway: Hökarängen.

Tensta Konsthall, Taxingegränd 10. Subway: Tensta


Alessandro Armando

Alessandro Armando is assistant professor of architectural and urban design at the Polytechnic University of Turin, from which he holds a Ph.D. in architecture and building design. Since 2005 he has been working as project consultant for the Urban Center Metropolitano in Turin, a department of the Turin municipality that acts as an interface between public and private investors on large scale urban developments. His research activity focuses mainly on the political and bureaucratic effects of architectural design on the urban processes.


Thordis Arrhenius

Thordis Arrhenius (SAR, PhD, professor of cultural heritage, Linköping University) is an architect and architectural researcher with a strong interest in contemporary architectural and urban practice and associated theories. Her teaching and research are characterized by dedication to contemporary critical issues in heritage and urbanism where the historical perspective informs actions and strategies. Recent publications include Place and Displacement: Exhibiting Architecture (eds. Arrhenius, Lending, McGowan, and Wallis), Lars Müller Publisher, Zurich, 2014 and Experimental Preservation (eds. Arrhenius, Langdalen, and Otero-Pailos), Lars Müller Publisher, Zurich, 2016.


DAAR – Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal

DAAR’s work combines conceptual speculations and pragmatic spatial interventions, discourse and collective learning. DAAR explores possibilities for the reuse, subversion and profanation of actual structures of domination: from evacuated military bases to the transformation of refugee camps, from uncompleted governmental structures to the remains of destroyed villages. In Hilal and Petti’s practice, contemporary art exhibitions are at the same time a site of display, material production, research and political imagination. Alessandro Petti is a professor in Architecture and Social Justice at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm where he teaches the advanced course in Decolonizing Architecture.


Isabelle Doucet

Isabelle Doucet is a senior lecturer at the University of Manchester where her research focuses on the relationship between politics, aesthetics, and social responsibility in architecture. She is particularly interested in architecture and urban politics in the 1970s and the repercussions of architecture’s “post-political” turn. She examines such questions through both conceptual-methodological inquiries and historical and contemporary cases.


Ulrika Flink

Ulrika Flink is a curator from Stockholm, Sweden, at Grafikens Hus. She received her MA in curating contemporary art at the Royal College of Art, London. Recently she held the positions of director of Konstfrämjandet at Stockholm, assistant curator and producer at Tensta konsthall and co-founder of the Stockholm-based curatorial collective Parallellogram. Flink has worked on numerous exhibitions at Tensta konsthall, Autograph ABP and Tate Modern. Recent curatorial projects include The Artist Council (2015- ) an art festival developed with artists in exile in Sweden, film screening and talk: The Stuart Hall Project by John Akomfrah (2014), in collaboration with CinemAfrica, The Shadow office, Parallellogram (2013- ), a project aimed to creating new models for artistic and curatorial collaboration, and Construct (2011), a group exhibition, Folkestone Triennial, UK.


Hélène Frichot

Hélène Frichot is professor in critical studies of architecture, at KTH School of Architecture. Her research is located between the disciplines of architecture and philosophy. She is the editor with Catharina Gabrielsson and Helen Runting of Architecture and Feminisms: Ecologies, Economies, Technologies (Routledge 2017); with Catharina Gabrielsson and Jonathan Metzger, Deleuze and the City (EUP 2016); with Harriet Edquist and Laurene Vaughan, DeSigning Design: Cartographies of Theory and Practice (Rowman and Littlefield 2015); and with Stephen Loo, Deleuze and Architecture (EUP 2013). In general her research places a methodological emphasis on architecture-writing and ficto-critical methodologies.


Husos – Diego Barajas and Camilo Garcia

Husos is an architecture and urbanism design firm committed to explore social and biological forms of care from a spatial and territorial perspective. Founded in 2003 by Diego Barajas and Camilo Garcia, it is based in Madrid and operates between Spain and Colombia. Work by Husos forms part of permanent collections at the FRAC centre in Orleans, France, and the History Museum of Rotterdam, and received a distinction from the Zumtobel Award for Sustainability and Humanity. It has been presented at the Venice Biennale, the Rotterdam Biennale, the Oslo Architecture Triennale, Matadero Madrid, the Tápies Foundation, Witte de With Museum in Holland, and PhotoEspaña, among others.


Afaina de Jong

Afaina de Jong is an Amsterdam-based architect specialized in spatial design and design strategy. Afaina’s aim is to cross the boundaries of the traditional architecture practice by dealing with the existing city with an interdisciplinary approach, integrating research and design. She has worked for renowned international firms before establishing her own studio in 2005. With her creative studio AFARAI she works on the boundary of architecture and art. Her work is deeply connected to represent people and cultural movements that are not traditionally represented in architectural form. Afaina teaches at the Faculty of Architecture at the TU Delft and the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam. She is a member of various advisory bodies and is currently working on her PhD dissertation on the participatory practice of public space.


Peter Lang

Peter Lang is professor in architectural theory and history at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, where he conducts post-graduate and pre-doctorate research courses in architecture, design and multimedia communications. Lang works on the history and theory of post-war Italian architecture and design, with a focus on sixties Italian experimental design, media and environments. Lang has written and curated a number of projects on the Italian Radical Design and Architecture movement, most recently in 2016 “The Mondial Festival” at Vancouver Art Gallery Museum. He has been a member of the Rome based urban arts research group Stalker since 1997.


Maria Lind

Maria Lind is a curator, writer and educator based in Stockholm. She is the director of Tensta konsthall, Stockholm, and the artistic director of the 11th Gwangju Biennale. She was director of the graduate program, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (2008-2010), Iaspis in Stockholm (2005-2007), and Kunstverein München (2002-2004). From 1997-2001 she was curator at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, responsible for the format of Moderna Museet Projects with 29 positions with among others Simon Starling, Apolonija Sustersic, Koo Jeong-a and Matts Leiderstam. Currently she is professor of artistic research at the Art Academy in Oslo.


Jennifer Mack

Jennifer Mack is a researcher at the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and at the Institute for Housing and Urban Research at Uppsala University. She combines history, ethnography, and formal analysis to study social change and the built environment. Recent publications include The Construction of Equality. Syriac Immigration and the Swedish City (University of Minnesota Press, 2017).


Carlota Mir

Carlota Mir is a curator and researcher currently based in Stockholm, Sweden. Her work, of a multidisciplinary and multilingual nature, interrogates the relationship between gender, sexuality and space in visual culture, design, curating and architecture and focuses particularly on the notion of domesticity as a political arena from a feminist and queer perspective. Carlota holds an MA in contemporary art and visual culture from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid/Museo Nacional Reina Sofia. She is a participant of the research group Decolonizing Architecture and R-Lab at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.


Joar Nango

Joar Nango is an architect and practicing artist, working primarily with place-specific installations and self-made publications. His work explores indigenous identity and the contemporary Sami Space, and sits on the boundary between architecture, design and visual art. He has exhibited at Documenta, OCA in Oslo and most recently at Tensta Konsthall.


Corina Oprea

Corina Oprea is Artistic Director of Konsthall C, Stockholm, running the program The Decolonial Option. Oprea holds a PhD from University of Loughborough-UK, with the thesis The End of the Curator: on curatorial acts as collective production of knowledge. Oprea is a Allumni of Curator Lab at Konstfack- Stockholm and holds a MA in Arts –Cultural Policies in the Balkans from Belgrade University. From her recent exhibitions are Precarious Terrains and Entangled Situations and Nordic Trouble at Konsthall C, the video-work Sicherheit co-authored with Saskia Holmkvist and Ellen Nyman and presented at Gothenburg Biennial and the co-curated winning apexart Franchise exhibition, Washed Out, Feb 2011, at Konsthall C-Central Tvätt, Stockholm.


Fernanda Ruiz 

Fernanda Ruiz is an urbanist and architect, MSc Building and Urban Design in Development from the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL. Her interests engage with questions of global inequalities and how spatial practices can act as forms of political interventions. She is co-founder of Chilean based NGO Cerros Isla where she has been working on urban projects with an interdisciplinary approach combining research and practice. She has approached the architectural practice through urban interventions, exhibitions and publications collaborating with different organizations and institutions.


Meike Schalk

Meike Schalk is an architect and associate professor of Urban Studies and Urban Theory at KTH School of Architecture. Her research on architecture and urban questions combines critical inquiry into issues of sustainability, democracy and participation in urban development processes with practice-based research methods. Schalk is part of the nonprofit association Action Archive dedicated to urban research through approaches of oral history. Her recent publications include Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice: Materialisms, Activisms, Dialogues, Pedagogies, Projections, co-edited with Thérèse Kristiansson and Ramia Mazé, 2017


Eyal Weizman

Eyal Weizman is an architect, professor of spatial and visual cultures and director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2010 he set up the research agency Forensic Architecture (FA). The work of FA is documented in the exhibition and book FORENSIS (Sternberg, 2014).