Every month architects and industry insiders share their recommendations for the best exhibitions and events to visit in London.

March 2020
Selasi Setufe and Jacqueline Bleicher
Co-Founder & Director and BFA Member
Black Females in Architecture

March is women’s history month which is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate women for their contributions to building herstory, while considering how much more is to be accomplished so all women are valued, visible, represented, educated, economically active, empowered, safe, healthy and happy. As such, Black Females in Architecture (BFA) is delighted to share a variety of events and exhibitions that engage a breadth of discourse.


Kicking off on 2nd March the LSE Festival: Shape the World will be exploring how social sciences can make the world a better place. The Festival will bring together global leaders, innovators and change makers to investigate how we can learn lessons from the past, tackle the challenges of today and shape the future. All events are free to attend and open to all. Browse through and take your pick from more than 30 events including Shaping London, Financing a Global Climate Deal, The Carbon Conscious Consumer, Inclusion in the City, Gender Equality and the Data Revolution, Youthquake and many more.


The age of late capitalism, tumultuous governance and climate emergency has engendered a sense of powerlessness and despondency. These power struggles more often than not play out in – and are intrinsically connected to – the arena of the built environment. As urban citizens and practitioners, how does this affect our lives? And what can be done to reclaim this power and effect positive, radical change? Hosted by collective Afterparti, on 3rd March the next Architecture on Stage Afterparti: For the Love of Power invites guests from within and around the field of architecture to define, unpack and challenge notions of power. Born out of the New Architecture Writers (N.A.W.) programme, the collective explores big ideas about contemporary urban space through the lenses of identity and race.


What is 'race' doing in a nice field like the built environment? will launch the new 'Race' and Space curriculum that has been developed by colleagues across The Bartlett, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment, specifically for other colleagues and students, and hosted by The Bartlett's Vice Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. It responds to a need for greater understanding of 'race' and where and how it affects the built environment, and a demand for practical sources of support for teachers and learners. Hear from a panel of speakers before sharing your thoughts and experiences of 'race' and the built environment curriculum.


To celebrate International Women’s Day join BFA Co-founder Neba Sere over breakfast on 6th March. You will hear about incredible black women who have made wonderful contributions to the built environment in the form of architecture and design, research, activism and more! BFA will shine a light on historically significant black female architects as well as women currently studying, practicing and working within architecture. This will also be an opportunity to find out more about BFA’s work, aims and objectives as a network and organisation.


We will also celebrate Revolutionary Black British Women in an International Women's Day Special with a mixed intergenerational panel composed of Leila Hassan a seasoned activist and writer; Janine Francios, a Black feminist, cultural critic, writer and lecturer; Korina Holmes, an intersectional feminist, retail lawyer, Ted Ed Talk speaker; Edem Barbara Ntumy, a community activist, organiser and social entrepreneur; and Amja Unbashedly, an artist advocate and domestic abuse survivor.


To close out the 2020 Architecture awards week, the Royal Academy are gathering the Dorfman Award finalists for an evening’s festivities celebrating some of the best architecture from around the world. The finalists will present their work for the first hour in the lecture theatre and the discussion will be chaired by our International Partners at the British Council. On 19th March, Forming Futures, will see the Burlington Gardens campus opening after hours with architects, artists, musicians, students and teachers from around the UK filling the building with activities and installations all thinking about what the future of architecture might look like. You will have the opportunity to play games, draw, build and dance. Look out for “The future is a common history” live installation. This is a new project by JA Projects which is happening in collaboration with, and supported by, BFA and choreographer Adesola Akinleye. A publication of "love letters" that chronicles each participants' contribution to architectural discourse and city-making and a new cinematic work will also be shot on the night and gifted to those taking part. The performance itself will explore the themes of labour, camaraderie and the relationship between artwork and audience whilst also making the case for the production of constructed works and architecture which reflect society's plurality. Join the performance in the Collections Gallery from 7pm to experience this historic moment.


We also encourage you to join the architectural duo, Space Popular, as they survey the impact of new technologies and media on architectural style. On 17th March, joined by architecture critic Oliver Wainwright, “From the printing press to Pinterest: a lecture on architecture and media” will expand on the work of Space Popular in their solo exhibition, Freestyle – Architectural Adventures in Mass Media, which is the first virtual reality (VR) exhibition hosted by RIBA and is open until 16th May in RIBA’s Architecture Gallery.


For a more immersive experience do attend WMG Late: Invisibility” an evening of talks, poetry and live music on the themes of black identity, gender and hypervisibility curated by Nicole Crentsil, with an exclusive viewing of the “Yellow Wall Paper exhibition by Kehinde Wiley. Featuring portraits of Black women that the artist met on the streets of Dalston, and inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman's renowned feminist text, the exhibition plays upon the sense of powerlessness that happens in a person who's not seen, respected and whose sense of autonomy is in question.


Public housing is an important part of socioeconomic government policies in support of social welfare, but also social justice, social security and social mobility. What should future housing standards and ambitions look like? New Models of Public Housing is a symposium bringing together housing researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders involved in housing delivery and design, to discuss today’s housing design, policy challenges and to explore new models of public housing delivery.


Finally, don’t miss the exhibition “Growing up during neighbourhood change in south London” opening on 23rd March. Through this photovoice project, director of The Body Narratives and researcher Hanna Riazuddin, together with young people as peer researchers, reflect on questions of psychosocial health within the wider debate on urban regeneration, gentrification and social transformation.


Selasi Setufe is Co-Founder & Director of Black Females in Architecture (BFA)


Jacqueline Bleicher is a BFA Member and Director of Global Urban Design C.I.C

Past Editors