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African cinema and urbanism: cities, landscape and screen media- the moving image

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12:00 PM, Thursday 26 May 2022 (20 minutes)

Author and educator Lesley Lokko, founder of the African Futures Institute (AFI) in Accra, Ghana, has stated recently in a lecture, that ‘what you know is largely dependent on where you are’ adding that thus ‘one’s world view is shaped as is ‘one’s place within it’, and advocating that one may ‘live through imagination.’ During the pandemic many conferences and meetings have showcased the participation of African urbanists and architects, in part as a result of a new impetus, combined with a new normal global reach into research emanating from workplaces and places of research, located in African cities. These kinds of interventions provide a foundation for this current research. The close attention to a range of contemporary cinema, from documentary to screen media to a range of streaming platforms, provides a listening and observing forum with which to observe and analyze current issues in African urbanism and landscape. The visual and sound information provided by screen imagery is moving material to be delved into and dissected, and ideas, conventions and possibilities about urban landscapes will emerge and be compared with the urban predictions made by researchers, who typically suggest a near future of spontaneous, largely unplanned urban growth in Africa.

The paper aims to contribute to critical discourse so as to assess, and critique, and propose directions in contemporary urban development, in the face of rapid spontaneous urbanisation of landscapes in a context of climate change and housing need, and seeks to study, track, set out and present options for landscapes and cities in Africa that are intrinsic to African culture via documentary and narrative cinema, incorporating diverse platforms of screen media.

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