ETH V Parity Talks

October 2, 2020

Lecture and workshop

Zürich, Switzerland


Khensani de Klerk, Solange Mbanefo

Matri-Archi was invited by the ETH Department of Architecture to give a lecture and run a workshop in their 5th Parity Talks. The aim of the Parity Talks is to foster public debate on gender equality and diversity in architectural education as well as in the profession in Switzerland and abroad. 

In response, Khensani de Klerk and Solange Mbanefo presented a lecture titled Matri-Archi on alteration, transformation, diversity. The abstract read:

The academy is being tested, but the institution is reluctant to instrumentalise change given the established regime of complex frameworks and overcomplicated obstacles to alteration, let alone confrontation. Disruptions are time limited, and much needed protests will continue to nudge at the institution until it cracks open to the idea of evolution for the greater good of a truly universal concept of academia in our globalised world. Activists are transient to the institution, given the shorter time we spend in them, consequently making any sustainable efforts for change close to impossible. With this in mind, we bring a simple question to the table: How can we direct transformative change as creative individuals in, and as part of these privileged institutions? Matri-Archi will be (re)discussing critical steps in normalising the inclusion of diverse and othered knowledges in what is currently Eurocentric academia. More so, we are optimistic in presenting that the inclusion of other modes of knowledge production can only be of benefit to the academic rigour of these institutions, and to be effective, has to include people from the contexts concerned. These marginalised groups will inherently reflect narratives that acknowledge the engaging multiplicity of the built environment. There is great opportunity for established institutions across continental Europeans and the UK to include and increase Southern and African knowledge as a means of becoming more globally relevant, and preparing a wider range of competency for international professionals. We believe that quality numbers count - for the sake of a growing and inclusive archive and workforce.

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