Dr Constance Smith

Hallsworth Research Fellow

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Overview

My primary research focus is the anthropology of architecture, time and urban change, primarily in East Africa. My research examines the afterlives of colonial urban design and architecture, and how its disintegrating yet vital remains continue to influence contemporary urban lives, from engagements with the past to ways of anticipating the future.

A new project focuses on collapsed buildings and failed architectures in Nairobi, exploring how sites of collapse can animate new urban politics, from community activism to large-scale megaprojects. I have conducted extensive fieldwork in African cities, including Nairobi, Kampala and Addis Ababa, and more recently, on urban change and placemaking in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London. 

I am a participant in an ongoing collaborative project between scholars and artists, experimenting with practice-based work at the intersection of art and research. This work has featured in two exhibitions at the National Museums of Kenya. 

Before coming to Manchester, I was Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Institute for Global Prosperity at UCL. I hold a PhD in Anthropology and Material and Visual Culture from UCL. A former Fulbright scholar, I have a background in History and Museum Studies, which inform my interests in temporalities of change and the production of history, and how these are influenced by materials, objects and design. 

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