Shahed Saleem: 'Can architecture be decolonised?' | ESALA Frictions Public Lecture 2021-22
From Richard Anderson
'Can architecture be decolonised?'
What does it mean to decolonise architecture, where do we start to understand and undertake this process? In this lecture Shahed Saleem will present his research and design work and ask whether it constitutes a practice of decolonisation by centralising the narratives and experiences of migrant, diasporic and subaltern communities.
Shahed's research and writing of the architectural and social history of the British mosque has given recognition to a largely self-designed form of architecture and institutionalised this story into British architectural history. The British mosque is the subject of the current V&A Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, which Saleem has co-curated, and he will speak about this project and his wider research.
Through his own mosque designs, Shahed seeks an Islamic architecture that is responsive to the Muslim experience in Britain, which is mostly a migrant and marginalised one. He will present his own design work and design research which asks whether postcolonial diasporas can articulate their identities and narratives through architecture.
Shahed Saleem is an architect, author and educator, teaching architecture at the University of Westminster. His book, The British Mosque; an architectural and social history, was published in 2018 by Historic England and is the first comprehensive account of Muslim architecture in Britain. His works centres on the architecture of post-colonial diaspora communities in the UK, and in particular their relationship to heritage, belonging and nationhood. Shahed co-curated the V&A Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021 on the theme of the mosque in Britain. His architectural design work explores new cultural identities for migrant communities, and has been nominated for the V&A Jameel Prize 2013 and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2016.