Marwa Al-Sabouni, PhD
"Country in the Waiting: On Attachment, Loss, and Home"
Location: Pigott Auditorium 104 - via video and Skype
Time: Session 2: 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Themes: Arts, Cross-Cultural and Global Understanding, History
Description of Presentation
Through the lens of architecture, Marwa Al-Sabouni looks at the inflamed conflict in her homeland and explains in her book The Battle for Home (2016) how architecture and urban planning played a role in the current war in Syria. Although it is a local story, she makes the case for it as a global one. Al-Sabouni will address what kind of life the built environment in Syria has generated through its transformation and how segregation and sectarian antagonism was built, what kind of social code had governed the communities’ relationships and what kind of alternatives has engulfed life in the aftermath.
Marwa Al-Sabouni is a Syrian architect and writer who holds a PhD in Islamic Architecture. Her first book, The Battle for Home: The Vision of a Young Architect in Syria, was published internationally in April 2016 by Thames and Hudson. The work has been widely covered by the media, including cover stories in The Guardian, Financial Times, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and The Sunday Times as well as features on BBC Radio, CNN, ABC, and many other outlets in Europe, Australia, and the U.S. Al-Sabouni has written for the RIBA Journal, Architectural Review, Financial Times, Standpoint, Wall Street International, and others. She participated in United Nations conferences and workshops in Berlin, Beirut, and Geneva convened to tackle the Syrian post-war situation. She was a speaker at the first Basel Peace Forum held in January 2017 and at the World Economic Forum MENA in Amman in May 2017.
Al-Sabouni gave the closing address for the Perth Writers Festival in 2017, and spoke at the Galway International Arts Festival in July 2017 and at the Bristol Festival of Ideas in October 2017. She was a keynote speaker at the celebrated Helsinki design expo, Habitare, and exhibited her contribution to the homelessness project launched by the Finnish Cultural Institute.
Al-Sabouni has taught architectural design in the university and been running her private architectural studio. Her proposal for rebuilding a locality won first national place at the UN-Habitat international competition in 2014. Her TED Talk was selected among the Best TED Talks of 2016 and viewed over 880,000 times.