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Decolonise Architecture
Festival 2022




Funded by the University of Bath’s Centre for Learning and Teaching, the Decolonise Architecture Festival was open to all and held on the last day of Welcome Week 2022 at Bath in the spirit of bringing together new and returning students, academics and professionals from across the country.

The aim for this event was to advocate for honest learning outside of the western canon at all stages of architectural education and inspire those who attended to become involved in actioning change.

The festival was opened by the Vice Chancellor in support of the DA initiatives, live music from the student body and catering from a local vendor.  A book fair and screen filmings hosted by the Bath Architecture Library featured novels from DA’s own reading list that have been added to the faculty resources, and student action groups from departments across the university (Bath Black Engineering Student Society, Women in Engineering Society and the African and Caribbean Society) hosted activities throughout the day as part of an open, multi-disciplinary effort to create lasting impact and opportunities that extended beyond the time-frame of the festival itself. Discussions and workshops featured a variety of topics to demonstrate intersectionality between race, climate justice and social equity.

Architecture is a global practice that has the potential for individuals and groups outside of governance to create impact through their own agency, but this requires understanding of the needs and circumstances of people around the world that are alien to our own. For unlearning, this could involve receptivity of alternative approaches and technologies that may exist outside of western taught methodology

Our mission has been to inspire more holistic and diverse learning from academia, but it has become increasingly apparent that many of the issues we aim to address continue long after university and into practice. As a solution-based group, our most recent event was the first of its kind: a multidisciplinary festival that brought together students, academics, and professionals to facilitate dialogue that could begin to bridge the gap in understanding in our institutions. This article hopes to demonstrate the continual unlearning that needs to be embraced more often in practice to transform the profession into one that is equitable, inclusive and compassionate.

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