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Shumi Bose

Finding Space/Holding Space

Easter 2020-2021

Tuesday, 4 May 2021


To what extent are we able to determine the space/s we take up and the places we occupy? Scholarly worth is subject to value metrics and performance analytics that I must uphold even as I disagree with them; likewise the premises of academic rigour and archival custodianship. With no tangible output or material design practice, finding my own place in architectural culture is a process that has arguably become a seductive and perpetual end, and I find myself ever more interested in holding or finding space for forms of exchange which do not serve those systems.
As a teacher, historian, editor and curator of architecture, I have often been hard pressed to describe my ‘practice’ as such; as a woman of colour and a human being, I am challenged to find or take my place. Such internal conflicts are, in the light of recent histories, increasingly explicit and sometimes even performative. This talk will be a frank and unapologetically personal one, on the perpetual negotiations between these and other roles.


Dr Shumi Bose in an architectural historian, curator and teacher. She is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture at UAL Central Saint Martins, and teaches at the Royal College of Art. She was recently appointed as a Trusteee of The Architecture Foundation.

At the RIBA, Shumi curated exhibitions including Freestyle: Architectural Adventures in Mass Media with Space Popular (2020), and A Home For All: Six Experiments in Social Housing (2018). In 2016, Shumi co-curated Home Economics, exhibited at the British Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale, alongside Jack Self and Finn Williams; in 2012 she was a curatorial collaborator with Sir David Chipperfield in his directorship of Common Ground, at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Recent publications (as editor) include Spatial Practices: Modes of Action and Engagement with the City (Routledge, 2019), Home Economics (The Spaces, 2016), and Wherever You Find People: The Radical Schools of Oscar Niemeyer, Darcy Ribeiro, and Leonel Brizola (Park Books, 2016)

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