The gift of architecture: spaces of global socialism and their afterlives

Mon 13 - Tue 14 Jun 2022

Online and in person
A photograph of a group of men looking at an architectural model
University of Manchester and online

British Academy Conferences bring together scholars and specialists from around the world to consider and evaluate new research in the humanities and social sciences.

During the Cold War, the gifting of architecture was among the most visible manifestations of global socialism, or the multiple, evolving and often contradictory exchanges between the socialist countries and the decolonising world. In collaboration with local actors, Soviet, Eastern European and Chinese institutions designed, constructed and equipped hundreds of buildings for education, health, culture, industry and habitation in Ethiopia, Guinea, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Mongolia, Tanzania, Vietnam and elsewhere. This conference will gather architectural historians and anthropologists who will discuss the ways in which the dynamics of gift-giving impacted the design, construction and the afterlives of these buildings. Scholars will debate whether the generosity and violence specific for gift-giving, the principle of reciprocity and the changing geopolitics and foreign trade in the Cold War facilitated the production and everyday uses of gifted buildings. By focusing on their continuous appropriation by inhabitants and users in Africa and Asia, this conference and the resulting publication will offer a more differentiated genealogy of global urbanisation and its architecture.

Conference convenor:
Professor Łukasz Stanek,
University of Manchester

Conference support:
Ksenia Litvinenko
, University of Manchester

Speakers across the two day conference include:

Professor Fantahun Ayele
, Bahir Dar University
Professor Anna Bronovitskaya, Independent scholar
Professor Ana Ivanovska Deskova, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje
Professor Hannah Le Roux, University of the Witwatersrand
Kojo Derban, University of Ghana
Professor Duanfang Lu, University of Sydney
Ksenia Litvinenko, University of Manchester
Kuukuwa Manful, SOAS University of London
Dr Michał Murawski, University College London
Dr Thuc Linh Nguyen Vu, University of Vienna
Dr Joseph Oduro-Frimpong, Ashesi University
Professor Ruth Prince, University of Oslo
Professor Christina Schwenkel, University of California, Riverside
Dr Ke Song, Harbin Institute of Technology
Professor Taoufik Souami, Paris School of Urban Planning
Dr Huda Tayob, University of Manchester
Professor Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov, Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg
Professor Łukasz Stanek, University of Manchester
Dr Miruna Stroe, independent scholar
Professor Ola Uduku, University of Liverpool
Professor Albena Yaneva, University of Manchester

Book your FREE conference tickets using the links below.

Funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Image: Nikita Khrushchev and president Sukarno inspect the model of the National Stadium in Jakarta (Indonesia), 1960. Private archive of interpreter Igor Kashmadze. Courtesy of Mikhail Tsyganov.


Book Day 1

Day 1 - Monday 13 June, 09.30 - 17.00 UK time


Book Day 2

Day 2 - Tuesday 14 June, 09.00 - 16.00 UK time

Organised in partnership with:

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