The Bartlett School of Architecture


Call for Papers: International Symposium on the Modern Heritage of Africa (MoHoA)

10 June 2021

A new symposium on Africa’s modern heritage, taking place later this year, is seeking written and digital submissions.

St Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral (1938), Asmara (Eritrea) by Edward Denison

Modern Heritage of Africa (MoHoA) will host two new symposia over the next two years, and has issued a Call for Papers for the first, the International Symposium on the Modern Heritage of Africa. The symposium, which is co-coordinated by Prof Edward Denison, will take place from 22−24 September 2021 online and at the University of Cape Town, to coincide with South Africa Heritage Day 2021.

The symposium falls in the same year of the 20th anniversary of the Modern Heritage Programme, jointly initiated by UNESCO, ICOMOS, and DOCOMOMO. The African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) has identified modern heritage as amongst the most marginalised heritage categories on the continent, demanding investment in research and documentation to better protect, increase resilience and subsequently Africa’s representation on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Building on the momentum to decentre modernism, MoHoA seeks to reframe modernist history and heritage, contending that Africa’s experiences of plural modernities include the positive and negative, colonial and post-colonial, tangible and intangible, urban and rural, and cultural and natural. MoHoA was founded in 2020 as a collaboration between the AWHF, UCT and UCL and now includes many other global partners including The Getty Conservation Institute, UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM and IUCN. For more information, contact Prof Edward Denison.


Academics and practitioners are invited to submit papers and other forms of communication including video, music, performance and literature accompanied with a commentary and interpretation. Papers are particularly welcomed from women and young people. Submissions should focus on any of the following themes, highlighting both cultural and natural heritage, the tangible and intangible and their symbiotic relationships:

  • Considerations of modernities in Africa
  • Modern Heritage and Sustainable Development in Africa (SDGs)
  • Infrastructure development, particularly industrialisation and transportation systems, as activators of modernism in Africa
  • Natural heritage and its role in society, linking culture and nature
  • Public spaces, memorialisation and commemoration in postcolonial Africa
  • Modern Heritage of Africa and the World Heritage Convention
  • Any other theme not covered by the above


Contributions with African experiences of modernities and the sharing of heritage knowledge. Abstracts should be a maximum 300 words or equivalent format (e.g. film shorts, blog, Instagram story) for other types of digital submissions. 

Deadline: 23 July 2021
Forming results: 20 August 2021

The symposium is supported by The Bartlett’s Innovation Fund, which also helped to deliver the symposium’s website and other preparatory regional workshops. In 2022 the Bartlett will host the second symposium, Modern Heritage in the Anthropocene, learning from Africa to reframe modern heritage globally.

More information

Image: St Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral (1938), Asmara (Eritrea) by Edward Denison