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Akil Scafe-Smith, RESOLVE Collective

Tools for Dis-Orderly Practice

Michaelmas 2023-2024

Thursday, 19 October 2023


For the past seven years, RESOLVE Collective has worked toward a reconciliation of spatial intervention and structural change both to imagine and rehearse more equitable built environments for marginalised communities. Our professional journey as a design collective has taken us from our childhood neighbourhoods of South London to locales across the world in the attempt to understand the ‘site as a resource’: a design philosophy that works to re-value local materials and local knowledges.

Through this understanding, we have used design as a means to platform local ecologies of radical, community-focused creative practices. We see the capacity of this type of collective design as an inherent infrastructure for dis-ordering dominant power structures that produce and maintain the deep societal and environment fissures of our urban age. This talk will reflect on RESOLVE’s body of work in order to think through this dis-ordering and draft a trans-local approach to building planetary, liberatory frameworks.


Akil is a director of RESOLVE Collective, an interdisciplinary design collective that combines architecture, engineering, technology, and art to address social challenges. They have delivered numerous projects, workshops, publications, and talks in the UK and across the world, all of which look toward realising just and equitable visions of change in our built environment. RESOLVE are currently the commissioned artists at the Mosaic Rooms in London, Tate Liverpool, and Grand Union Gallery in Birmingham. Alongside his RESOLVE colleague Seth, he is a Unit Leader at the Architectural Association, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and a previous research fellow at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.

Akil has a background in urban design and is a Public Practice alumnus, having been part of the first cohort of Public Practice, an initiative supported by the Mayor of London that places a new generation of urban practitioners within local government to shape places for the public good. Under this initiative he worked as a project officer in the London Borough of Croydon’s Spatial Planning team. He also worked as a researcher for the London School of Economics with Dr. Julia King, working with young people in the London Borough of Brent to co-design a public space in Wembley Park and an accompanying set of policy recommendations. In addition to this, he is a trustee at Participatory City in Barking & Dagenham.

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