Stephen Lawrence memorial lecture 2019

On the 10th of September, we joined forces with the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) for the 19th annual Stephen Lawrence memorial lecture.

Held in the beautiful backdrop of Florence Hall at the RIBA headquarters, the evening was filled with discussions about the themes and early findings of our research project called Connecting People and Places.

This young person-led, community participatory research project was funded by Historic England and launched in response to ‘The race Diversity Survey’, which was published in collaboration with the Architects Journal last year. The project aims to identify and celebrate the built environment within the context of BAME local community and heritage, in doing so strived to ask the question “How have BAME communities had a voice in the planning and design of sites that are significant to them?”

Olivia Bellas (research lead) summarised the project with three findings. Firstly, the importance of linking the right people in heritage projects, Olivia remarked ‘for things to really flourish between architects and communities you need to have the right people in place and stay connected’. Secondly, we should question how we brand heritage and community and consider ways to make it more appealing to new generations. Lastly, Olivia reflected on the role of the architect when working with communities on heritage projects.

Researchers on the project Pragga Saha and Ayshah Begum spoke proudly about their findings and expressed the need to embrace the rich diversity of England, in all its different facets, when exploring heritage. Pragga and Ayshah showcased an exhibition of illustrated case studies from the project. These were incorporated into a short film with interview clips from community members; an effective way to bring the project to life. You can watch the short film here.

Pictured above: Pragga Saha and Ayshah Begum 

Following the panel discussion that explored these themes, we had some probing questions from the floor to further the conversation. The evening concluded with a drink’s reception and music from the enchanting Hilang Child frontman, Ed Riman, on piano. A buzzing atmosphere and wonderful to see so many supporters of SLCT in one room as well some new faces. Thank you to all those who came and a special thanks to our co-chairs Alice Fung and Yasmin Idris, as well as our three panellists Sandra Stancliffe, Satwinder Samra and Dr Shawn Sobers. Stay tuned for next year, when we’ll mark the 20th anniversary of this collaboration with the RIBA.

You can find out more about our project Connecting People and Places here.

Pictured above (from left): Chairs, Alice Fung and Yadmin Idris and Panalists Sandra Stancliffe, Satwinder Samra and Dr Shawn Sobers

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