Graduate Teaching Assistant: Urban (Hi)Stories, Fall 2017, 2018, 2019

As a GTA in this course, I’ve given one guest lecture each fall semester to undergraduate and masters students on architecturally relevant theory with practical exposure to design challenges in the city of Accra.

For three consecutive fall semesters, I’ve worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with Florian Kossak on his undergraduate + masters architecture course ARC303 Urban (Hi)Stories. As a GTA, I’ve given one guest lecture each fall semester to students based on my own professional in Accra and academic research focus, and also marked (graded) students’ final essay exams.

In each lecture, I’ve tried to blend architecturally relevant theory with practical exposure to design challenges in the city. In my 2018 and 2019 lectures, I presented and explored postcolonial criticism via the experiences of architecture and design, pulling from the works of Achille Mbembe and Homi Bhabha to critique architecture as a tool for colonial practices of segregation, exclusion, all embedded within a modern imaginary. I then traced the colonial mobilities of British architects and colonial ideas about modernity, progress and development (to be achieved through modernist design and planning). I then moved to critique the emphasis on urban modernity in the contemporary city’s design, and explored this through the practical example of the modern markets initiative in the city. This presentation helped us to explore our roles as architects, designers, planners when coming from ‘global north’ spaces to do design in ‘global south’ cities. Namely, how are we working toward liberatory practices, rather than re-producing colonial and postcolonial exclusions?

Each lecture session has provided the opportunity for me to connect with students (third-year architecture and masters in urban design students), and to provide a critical lecture connecting coloniality and architecture. Feedback I’ve received on my teaching from students:

“I’ll never forget your lecture on Accra (which for me was one of my favorite Humanities lectures ever). Also everyone I spoke to after your lecture said how much they enjoyed it! They all said you’re charismatic and that the talk was very engaging!” – student

Writing Tutor: Accra Architecture Writing Workshops: 2018, 2019

For two consecutive years, I have been part of a team of academics and PhD students organizing and running an intensive writing workshop for undergraduate, masters, and PhD students to learn and write about specific architectural sites in the city of Accra.

For two consecutive years, I have been part of a team of academics and PhD students who together organize the Accra Architectural and Urbanism Workshop (in July 2018 and June 2019). Working with Ola Uduku (Manchester School of Architecture), Irene Appeaning-Addo (University of Ghana, Legon), Joseph Frimpong (Ashesi University) and Kuukuwa Manful (SOAS), we organized writing workshops for undergraduate, masters, and PhD students to learn about and write about specific architectural sites in the city of Accra.

2018, in addition to helping workshop preparations and planning, I joined as a workshop tutor. I supported a small group of undergraduate students to explore, research, and document the architectural history and present-day realities of the University of Ghana’s Balme Library. I coordinated an informational tour with the head librarian, encouraged them to use transect walks and informal interviews with library users, and edited the initial and final drafts of their essays. I also worked with a small website team of participants to produce an online blog showcasing their work:
www.africarchi.wordpress.com

I also wrote my own reflective essay.

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In 2019, I again helped organized preparations and plans and joined as a workshop tutor. I supported four students to explore, research, and document the architectural, design and wider planning history and present-day usages of the Old Kingsway Building, located in Old Accra (Ga Mashie). I facilitated their interviews with local resident experts and provided editorial support as they pitched ideas for their essays and produced initial drafts. I also coordinated a talk by Nat Nuno Amartefio, former mayor of Accra for the students, and he shared his insights on the various international and regional influences on Accra’s architecture.

UNCLE NAT TALK

Graduate Teaching Assistant: Principles of Research Methods

In Fall 2018, I worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with Mark Taylor of the Sheffield Methods Institute to support teaching of Principles of Research Design, a first-semester course for masters and first-year PhD students.

In Fall 2018, I worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with Mark Taylor of the Sheffield Methods Institute on his Principles of Research Design course, a first-semester course for masters and first-year PhD students.

Mark taught this course as a weekly seminar, requiring that students write weekly reflections on the assigned readings to inform participative weekly class sessions. The two-hour class sessions were seminar style, blending short lectures interspersed with small group discussions. The course covered the fundamentals of designing a rigorous research process; and before the semester, Mark invited me to make any contributions to the syllabus and I did, adding (for example) readings on the politics of citation practices. In each session, Mark would lead the lecture presentations and I would help facilitate the small group discussions, moving between the small groups and listening to the students’ reflect on set topic questions and their readings, and answering questions and clarifying understandings. This was a fantastic learning and teaching experience, providing me the opportunity to work with students from across social sciences disciplines, and build experience in facilitating student discussions and teaching in small-group settings.