Lesley Lokko

Professor Lesley Lokko OBE is the founder and director of the African Futures Institute (AFI) in Accra, Ghana. She holds a BSc(Arch), MArch and PhD in Architecture from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. She was the founder and director of the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg (2014-2019) and the Dean of Architecture at the Bernard & Anne Spitzer School of Architecture (2019-2020). She is the editor of White Papers, Black Marks: Race, Culture, Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) and the editor-in-chief of FOLIO: Journal of Contemporary African Architecture.

In 2004, she made the successful transition from academic to novelist with the publication of her first novel, Sundowners (Orion 2004) and has since followed with 12 further bestsellers, which have been translated into 15 languages. She is a founding member of the UN-Habitat Council on Urban Initiatives; was a member of the 17th International Jury of the Venice Architecture Biennale; is a trustee of the London-based Architecture Foundation, the Clean Air Fund and the London Centre for Humanities. She has lectured and published widely on the subject of “race” and its relationship to architecture, particularly architectural education.

In 2021, Professor Lokko was awarded the RIBA Annie Spink Award for Excellence in Education and in 2021, the Ada Louise Huxtable Prize for Contributions to Architecture. She is a guest editor of the UCL Design Research in Architecture publication series and an honorary fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. She was recently awarded France’s Grande Médaille de l’Académie d’Architecture.

She is currently a visiting professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College Dublin and has held visiting professorships at the Cooper Union, NYC and University of Virginia. She was appointed Curator of the 18th International Architecture Biennale at La Biennale di Venezia, which opened on 20 May 2023. In January 2023, she was awarded an OBE “for services to architecture and education” in King Charles’ New Year’s Honours List.

Professor Lokko served on the Master Jury for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2016.

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