This symposium, proposed by architect Ola-Dele Kuku, addresses African urban space as a place for progressive socio-cultural development, conflict prevention, and post-conflict rehabilitation. It is held under the patronage of the Embassy of Sierra Leone in Belgium and in the presence of H.E Mr Ibrahim Sorie (Ambassador) and the Minister Counselor Mrs Florence N. Bangalie .
The discussion will investigate modern alternatives in the integration of creative arts and culture as tools to formulate, regenerate and activate a synthesis for a progressive socio-cultural development amidst the destruction and devastation of the environment, which are the prominent aftermath in a conflict zones.
The symposium includes the contribution of contemporary curators on new interpretations of the impact of the 'Destructive Acts' of conflict on the 'Creative Arts' of a society, highlighting the 'people-environment' interrelationship, and interdependence.
The case of Sierra Leone is addressed. Freetown, the capital city would require the establishment of major cultural events or the accommodation of expressive creativity in order to introduce a social consciousness of geography and place with reference to years of conflict. This will also assist in the creation of different ancillary industries, structures and several economic activities in response to the possibilities associated with the proposed events.
Topics addressed:
• Why is social conflict a major aspect of contemporary culture, and what are the necessary means to conflict prevention and progressive development?
• Is conflict - as the main organizational principle behind the way things are ordered -necessarily a negative, destabilizing factor, or on the contrary can we manage and even benefit from it?
• What does it take to create an alternative approach within the routine of responding to a conflict?
• How can you translate the very complex dimensions of extreme human conditions in conflict and disasters zones to something someone can relate to within their own private space?
• Curating the community and environment has always been an essential property of social order and coordination which relates to people-environment interrelationship and identity. This is an essential responsibility that defines curating as a Social Science.  How can ‘Applied Architecture’, ‘Creative Art’ and ‘Design Application’ in post-conflict rehabilitation encourage creative synthesis for innovative thinking for new products and new spatial morphology?


18:00 - Introductory solo acoustic concert by Bai Kamara Jr., Brussels-based singer of Sierra Leone origin
18:30-19:30  ‘Cultural Mapping’ symposium (Part 1) 'Conflict Culture' - Lecture by Ola-Dele Kuku, architect - artist, L-ARN initiative, Brussels
19:30-20:00 - Break
20:00-22:00 - Symposium (Part 2): Contributions by:

Melbourne Garber (ingénieur, Trenton NJ, (USA), expert in Monuments and Relics in Freetown et around Sierra Leone
Isatu Smith, President, Monuments and Relics Commission, Freetown.
Kurt Vanbelleghem, Curator - editor, Antwerp - curator of 'Conflict and Design' 7th Flanders design Triennial, Genk 2013.
Koku Konu, architect,  'Cultural Mapping' project, Lagos.

Juwon Ogungbe, Composer and musical director, London.

Followed by a discussion.


Ola-Dele Kuku is the founder of L-ARN (Laboratory for Academic Research Network). He has lectured  at numerous  international conferences and coordinated  various academic workshops on the application of architecture, art, and design for progressive socio-cultural development. He has been a tutor / guest tutor at several architecture institutions.
He has long studied and taught the phenomenon of conflict, and has conducted extensive research in Freetown, Sierra Leone. In 2002 he organized a seminar in Lagos Nigeria, 'Culture and the Contemporary African City' which examined the impact of progressive cultural development on social structure, social distribution density, social economy and cultural identity. L-ARN now proposes the ‘Education Development Programme’ and the 'Event Based Development Process' as a means to a 'Progressive Socio-Cultural Development', 'Conflict Prevention', and 'Post-Conflict Rehabilitation'.

The architect-artist has worked on several award winning projects over the years which also  include built objects, drawings and installations. His works have been presented in numerous galleries, museums and international exhibitions.  Ola-Dele Kuku’s installation titled ‘Diminished Capacity’ was presented at the 15th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition, for the first Nigerian Pavilion at the event in 2016. He currently lives and works in Brussels.