Aga Khan Program Lecture: Yara Sharif, “The Not So Ordinary: Capturing Possibilities Through The Gaps”

Yara Sharif black and white city collage

“I became no longer able to live with the subtle acceptance of the ‘norm’ that existed. I needed to zoom out in search of a breathing space beyond the constraints of the Israeli occupation. I needed to search for a broader narrative where everyday life would be bigger than the city of Ramallah, where adventures might involve more than journeys across checkpoints, and where dreams could go beyond merely those of sneaking into Jerusalem (which, after all, is only 15 minutes away from my family home).”

Dr. Sharif will be sharing a collection of the various thoughts and ideas provoked by her own journeys and narratives when she lived and worked in Palestine, and which were later transformed into projects.

The work will unpack alternative means to re-read and redraw the Palestinian landscape – from a Palestinian perspective – by stripping it off the dominant power of lines. Dr. Sharif will be using speculation – and at times irony – as a mean to stretch the mental space beyond the constraints of the occupation. The work argues that there is a degree of power on the Palestinian side and weakness on the Israeli one that transforms contested spaces into spaces of creativity of which she will share.


Yara Sharif is a practicing architect and an academic with an interest in design as a mean to facilitate and empower ‘forgotten’ communities, while also interrogating the relationship between politics and architecture.

Combining research with design her work runs parallel between the architecture practice Golzari NG Architects, London and the design studio at the school of architecture, University of Westminster.  Sharif has co-founded Palestine Regeneration Team (PART). PART is a design-led research group that aims through speculative and live projects to search for creative and responsive spatial possibilities in Palestine to heal the fractures caused by the occupation.

Yara’s work on Palestine has won a number of awards including the 2014 Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction for the Middle East Region, RIBA President’s Award for Research 2013, 2016.

This event is supported by the Aga Khan Program at the GSD.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].