History of Art


Nikos Stangos Memorial Lecture 2024: Professor Lesley Lokko

10 October 2024, 5:30 pm–8:00 pm

a woman wearing glasses with dark hair, wearing a jumper crosses her arms

Event rescheduled from 9 May 2024.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Queenie Lee – History of Art


United Kingdom


UCL History of Art are delighted to announce that Professor Lesley Lokko will be our next Nikos Stangos lecturer. 

In the hard-nosed realm of international politics, soft power is often referred to as the ability to co-opt rather than coerce, shaping preferences through appeal and attraction, not force. In 2010, the media company Monocle combined a range of statistical metrics to measure the soft power of 26 countries, using approximately 50 factors including the number of language schools, Olympic medals, the quality of architecture and business brands, the latter two encapsulated beautifully in the International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia, indeed in all international exhibitions. The Laboratory of the Future tried to address hard-edged concerns such as decolonisation and decarbonisation within soft-power frameworks of narrative, aesthetics, and atmosphere, positioning imagination and creative enquiry as tools of liberation. To what extent is this a useful or effective strategy for confronting the extremes of social, racial, and environmental inequity that characterise our times?  

Lecture: TBC
Reception: TBC

Image credit: Alix McIntosh

Previous speakers include:

About the Speaker

Professor Lesley Lokko

Architect, educator and novelist. Founder and Chair at African Futures Institute (AFI)

Professor Lesley Lokko OBE is the Founder and Chair of the African Futures Institute (AFI) in Accra, Ghana. She holds a BSc (Arch), MArch and PhD in Architecture from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. She was the Founder and Director of the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg (2014—2019). She is the Editor of White Papers, Black Marks: Race, Culture, Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2000) and the Editor-in-Chief of FOLIO: Journal of Contemporary African Architecture. 

She is currently a Visiting Professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture and at University College Dublin. She was appointed Curator of the 18th International Architecture Biennale at La Biennale di Venezia in 2023. In January 2023, she was awarded an OBE ‘for services to architecture and education’ in King Charles’ New Year’s Honours List. In January 2024, she was awarded the UK’s highest architecture award, the RIBA Royal Gold Medal. In April 2024, she was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people in the annual TIME100 list.

More about Professor Lesley Lokko