Lesley Lokko Appointed Spring 2022 Senior Loeb Scholar

Headshot of Lesley Lokko, who wears all black.
Photo by Murdo Macleod

Lesley Lokko has been appointed the Harvard GSD Loeb Fellowship’s Spring 2022 Senior Loeb Scholar, a cherished and dynamic role within the GSD community. Each year, the Senior Loeb Scholar spends time on campus at the GSD, during which time they present a public lecture and engage directly with GSD students, faculty, staff, researchers, Loeb Fellows, and others. Since its inception, the program has offered the GSD community opportunities to learn from and be in discourse with visionary designers, scholars, and thought leaders in a uniquely focused context.

Lokko will be in residence at the GSD on Monday, February 28 and Tuesday, March 1, 2022. She will deliver the annual Senior Loeb Scholar public lecture on Tuesday, March 1 at 6:30 pm ET. Details on Lokko’s other engagements will be shared in the coming weeks. These will include connecting with Black in Design student organizers, who had initially invited her to the School last fall for the fourth biannual conference, Black Matter.

Lokko is a Ghanaian-Scottish architectural academic, educator and best-selling novelist. She is the founder and director of the African Futures Institute, established in Accra, Ghana, in 2020 as a postgraduate school of architecture and public events platform.

In 2015 she founded the Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg. She has taught in the UK, in the US, Europe, Australia and Africa (the Bartlett School of Architecture; Kingston University and London Metropolitan University in London; Iowa State University and University of Illinois at Chicago in the USA; University of Johannesburg and University of Cape Town in South Africa and UTS in Sydney, Australia.) In 2019, she took up an appointment as Dean of Architecture at The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, CCNY, from which she subsequently resigned in 2020 to start the African Futures Institute in her home country, Accra, Ghana.

For the past thirty years, her work in both architecture and literature has looked at the relationship between ‘race,’ culture, and space. She is the recipient of a number of awards for contributions to architectural education, among them: the RIBA Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Education 2020; the AR Ada Louise Huxtable Prize for Contributions to Architecture 2021.

In 2004, she made the transition from architecture to fiction with the publication of her first novel, Sundowners (Orion), following up with further novels. Her thirteenth novel, The Lonely Hour is forthcoming in 2023 from Pan Macmillan. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of FOLIO: Journal of Contemporary African Architecture, and a UCL Press Series Guest Editor. She is the author of White Papers, Black Marks: Race, Space and Architecture (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press 2000). She holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of London and a BSc (Arch) and MArch from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

She is currently a founding member of the Council on Urban Initiatives, co-founded by LSE Cities, UN Habitat and UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose; and a Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

Lokko was a member of the International Jury of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia in 2021. In December 2021, she was appointed Curator of Biennale Architettura 2023 of La Biennale di Venezia.

Lokko joins a cohort of previous Senior Loeb Scholars who include Walter Hood (2021); Bruno Latour (2018-2019); Kenneth Frampton and Silvia Kolbowski (2017-2018); Richard and Ruth Rogers (2016-2017); and David Harvey (2015-2016).

Learn more about the Loeb Fellowship on the Loeb Fellowship website.