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Sultan Maccido Institute hosts STINT funded conference on DIY (do it yourself) Urbanism

Sultan Maccido institute hosts a STINT funded conference -- via an "initiation grant" designed to build networks leading towards longer-term research and teaching collaborations. The workshop was held alongside Malmo University and Nordic Africa Institute, both in Sweden.

Background to the workshop: Recent conceptualizations of African urbanism(s), exemplified by the work of A.M. Simone and Filip de Boeck, consider African cities and citizens on their own terms, rather than measuring how well they conform to a set of universal urban aesthetic or behavioral standards. Subsequent to this shift, one emergent conceptual truism is that the unpredictable, predatory, and/or unequal distribution of infrastructure(s) often found in African cities prompts residents to experiment or improvise their daily encounters with both urban environments and each other. Although the emphasis on experimentations in and with the informal or "invisible" city offer evocative depictions of contemporary urban life, they remain ambiguous in both application and definition.

The workshop included papers that seek to elaborate on these concepts and processes through critical analysis or case studies, as well as engagements with more speculative questions: what are the political implications of experimentation or DIY urbanism? For the urban poor, does DIY urbanism represent a form of resistance or acquiescence in the class-stratified environments African cities, which are themselves situated in a milieu of unequal neoliberal globalisms? Given the diversity of urban settings in Africa, to what extent is it possible to generalize about practices of DIY urbanism?

As an immediate outcome of the workshop, we plan for an edited (probably both) book and journal publication by may 2018.