I’m Victoria Okoye, a PhD Candidate in Urban Studies & Planning at the University of Sheffield (UK). I’m interested in the ways that architecture, urban design and planning reproduce colonial aesthetics and imaginaries that marginalize Blackness, and the diverse ways that Black peoples make space around and despite that.
I completed my previous masters studies in urban planning and international affairs at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) and the School of International Affairs (SIPA). My doctoral research is an activist project with Spread-Out Initiative NGO, situated in their neighborhood of Nima in Accra, Ghana. Together we built a collaborative approach grounded in architectural and arts-based methods, and we examined young people’s spatial experiences and practices of claiming place in community spaces, and we work with 17 of SOI’s students (aged 10-17 years). Our work points toward embodied experiences of space, and the ways in which young people employ creative modes of making space for play and leisure, supporting alternative meanings for their neighborhood and the city.
My activist research approach focuses on race, space, and place using critical scholarship in the areas of global Black geographies of Africa and the African Diaspora, Black feminism, African feminism, and decolonial thought.