Chiji Amaechi (Graduate – Bachelor of Architecture 2023)
Kuro Krukrubo (Graduate – Bachelor of Architecture 2023)
Leslie Mfonow Tochukwu (3rd Year Student – Bachelor of Architecture 2023)
(Mentor: Mark Olweny, Senior Lecturer in Architecture)
Architectural education embarks on a journey of exploration, utilising various architects and their projects to foster an understanding of the development of architectural ideas. Yet, a conspicuous absence becomes apparent – the lack of architects of colour and architectural projects designed by individuals of colour in formal lectures, tutorials, and architectural publications. This absence in the established canon poses a challenge, particularly for us as students of colour who may come to believe that architects of colour are non-existent.
Recognising the importance of providing students with access to diverse histories within architectural education, we initiated a project that culminated with this exhibition. A pivotal question arose: ‘Where are the hidden voices in architecture?’ As Craig Wilkins suggests in his book “Diversity Among Architects,” we must exercise caution not to equate invisibility with absence. Undoubtedly, architects from minority groups have existed in the past, and their lack of immediate visibility does not negate their existence. This realisation propelled us to delve into the archives to uncover some of these individuals and their individual stories. This was bolstered by the election of Muyiwa Oki as the first black president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 2022.
The University of Lincoln Library has a great new Zine collection housed on the ground floor of the main Library. Zines are a fantastic resource for many staff and students across the whole University community. They will be of interest not only to art and design related subjects but also those in social, political and humanities subject disciplines and potentially those outside of the institution.
The word ‘zine’ comes from the word ‘fanzine’ so emerged originally from the 1930s as fans of science fiction produced these ‘fanzines’. These non-traditional publications are self-published (written/edited, illustrated, copied, assembled, and distributed); they are motivated by desire for communication or self-expression (not profit, fame, or a grade). They have their roots in social and political activism e.g. punk, LGBTQ+ etc. and are usually a small publication which tend to be produced from materials to hand by individuals, photocopied and distributed cheaply. Zines have a small distribution (5-3000 copies) and are underground or alternative in content or flavour; they are free of paid advertising. They are a popular medium in the art and design world, but they are also produced for all sorts of reasons – music zines, travel zines, literary zines. The modern zine bears little resemblance to its cousin ‘fanzine’.
The Library is working to diversify materials and challenge white-centred, heteronormative practices which impact our collections, users, and services. The University of Lincoln is committed to long term goals around decolonisation and equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) projects and the Library is central to this work. An intersectional approach considers the many parts of a person’s identity, and the aim of the zine collection will be to be more representative of marginalised voices. It would be great to get staff and student input into the collection either with existing zine donations or student projects around EDI and decolonisation.
Why are they important?
They provide an alternative point of view – something is said by someone who wants to express it.
Producing a zine allows individual expression – no editorial board – simply a direct link to an individual’s opinion or artistic expression.
Zines provide an insight into today’s modern popular culture – a direct and unfiltered view of an individual’s interpretation at the time.
Historically important – letters were a principal form of communication but in our digital world, a lot of this type of history is disappearing. If we do not preserve zines, historians will have to write about our era from secondary sources.
Do you want to make a zine and donate it to the Library collection? Would you like to find out more about zines? Do you know about a zine that you think we should have in the Library? To find out more, look at the School of Design Library Subject Guide https://guides.library.lincoln.ac.uk/design/zines which includes a form where students and staff are invited to ‘suggest a zine’ for the collection. You can also contact Subject Librarian, Oonagh Monaghan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
By Jemima Sims
Library Assistant in the Main University Library
Founded in 2004, LGBTQIA+ History month is upon us, and the theme is “Behind the Lens”. In February 2023, the UK will celebrate the people behind the scenes of stage and screen, such as costume designers, composers, playwrights, screenwriters, make-up artists and many more. Queer actors and actresses are gaining more visibility than ever, however the people off-screen are often unknown, and their contributions are huge.
The University Library have put together some social media posts to celebrate these talented and creative people, beginning with some of the most exciting costume designers in history; Adrian, Orry-Kelly and Patricia Field.
The Library Subject Librarians Hope Williard and Oonagh Monaghan have been active in researching decolonising initiatives at other Higher Education libraries. Attendance at conferences and liaison with librarians across the sector has enabled us to produce our own University of Lincoln decolonising guide for academic staff and students. The next step is to make the work we are already doing more visible. The aim is to embed decoloniality into the physical space of the library. The prospective projects have been grouped into the following four areas:
Revealing coloniality of existing collections
Embracing and extending decoloniality
In addition to new resources, sinage and use of the winning design in the recent competition, a permanent space in the Library has been allocated and we are now at the stage where we have the plans in place and materials ordered or arrived and we hope that the space will develop over the first term of 2022.
We want to reveal coloniality with the aim to share with our students, staff, and library community the ways that our practices of organising, displaying, and sharing information are shaped by colonial worldviews and outlooks.
We want to challenge coloniality by drawing on existing resources and highlightingnew developments in the library, this strand aimsto spotlight information and resources which challenge the colonial worldviews, allowing those who interact with it to broaden their knowledge and perspectives.
We want to research coloniality and collaborate, support, and promote research within the university relating to decolonisation. A particular focus of this area is the emerging project on zines, and efforts to actively engage with the university’s student as producer initiatives and internal funding schemes.
In the final strand we want to embrace and extend decolonialityand propose initiatives which would allow library staff and the wider university community to extend their knowledge of decoloniality and apply this knowledge in the workplace and beyond.
Part of this work is about developing awareness in the physical space of the Library and developing a dedicated Decolonisation and EDI area for display and promotion. Oonagh Monaghan has collaborated with two Interior Architecture academics, Raymund Konigk and Zakkiya Khan on the design of the area to showcase:
resources in the Library that show the diverse range of voices already in the collection.
Reveal and raise awareness of historical and colonial injustices which are embedded in the Library systems
Provide a space for materials that highlight issues of social justice and underrepresented voices.
showcase the new zines collection
Any questions, please email email@example.com
In response to discussions concerning ideas for creative collaboration between the School of Design and the Library, it was proposed that we hold an installation based upon the 97 Ideas About Creativity book, copies of which are already held by the library. The Library copies of the book allow the student to write within the pages and share their own creative ideas. The installation is being held as part of the Festival of Creativity.
The installation comprises of a screen in the library, displaying one idea per day randomly from the 97 ideas contained in the book – to present the ‘Idea for the Day’. Accompanying the screen element, a computer is available to Library users who are able to control the screen and browse any of the 97 ideas.
Special Collections Librarian, Claire Arrand has organised the latest display about making medieval inspired tiles on the ground floor of the library. Students and staff were under the direction of local artisan Andrew MacDonald from the Pot Shop on Steep Hill.