Huda Tayob is a South african architectural historian and achitectural theorist. She is currently a lecturer in Architectural Studies at the University of Manchester, and has previously taught at the University of Cape Town, the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Johannesburg and the Bartlett School of Architecture. She holds a PhD from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, for which she was awarded an RIBA Commendation Award for research, with undergraduate and Masters degrees in Architecture from the University of Cape Town. She has been a Mellon Fellow on the Canadian Centre for Architecture project, Centring Africa (2020 – 2022), a Graham Foundation Grantee holder (2022; 2023) and received the Scott Opler Award for Emerging Scholars (2019). Her research focuses on minor, migrant and subaltern architectures, centred on the African continent and global south. She is co-curator of the open access curriculum Race, Space & Architecture, and lead curator and project manager of the pan-African digital exhibition, Archive of Forgetfulness. She is a participant in the 18th International Architecture exhibition in Venice (2023) with a project titled Index of Edges, which traces watery archives, methods and stories along east African coastal edges from Cape Town to Port Said.
Opaque Architectures: Black Markets as Infrastructures of Care (2016 - 2024) draws on postcolonial, subaltern and black studies frameworks to study pan-African migrant markets in Cape Town, South Africa - along with their wider trans-national connections in Kenya, USA, and Dubai. This is a book project, that has built on PhD research, including extensive ethnographic research and ethnographic drawing. The work argues for a recognition of these mixed-use markets established by migrants and refugees as 'Black markets' drawing on the framework of Black Urbanism, as a means to recognise them as opaque architectures, sites of precarity within contexts of urban racialised violence, and peripheral care. These markets enable and support the movement and siting of people and goods, pointing to a minor and marginal urban ecology and economy, with seeds for alternate forms of urban practices. The entangled spatial network of these markets points to the importance of questioning established area studies boundaries and borders, with implications for theorising southern architectures.
Index of Edges (2023- ) draws on the vast global worlds of encounter along east African coastal cities to draw deep historical knowledge of living with and along seas. This project gathers sites, stories and approaches which collectively point to coastal pasts and futures through joyful, dangerous, abundant and difficult encounters. An index is not a map - rather than delineating boundaries it gathers people, repositions histories and draws out significance. In the Index of Edges, sites and stories of deep and near futures are drawn into adjacency. Tracing indexical points along the coast from the 1st C Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and 18th C Dalrymple’s Nautical charts, to contemporary coastal data and continued ways of living with watery intimacies, is an attempt to recognise the ebb and flow of edge conditions, despite violence and catastrophe. This index traces the accumulation of embodied detritus of layered pasts through an excess of specificities which collates stories of site and temporality, archival and present. This is work towards a relational, situated, and material axis where precarity and possibility meet at the shore; where global empires coincide with fishing villages; and where beyond danger, the coast is a site of joy and sustenance. Index of Edges is curated and designed by Huda Tayob for the Biennale Architettura 2023, within Dangerous Liaisons - curated by Lesley Naa Norle Lokko, The Laboratory of the Future.
Unconfessed Architectures (2016 - )
Archive of Forgetfulness (2020- 2022) is a pan-African digital exhibition and podcast series which ran from September 2020 and December 2021, and remains live at archiveofforgetfulness.com. Lead curator Huda Tayob alongside the wider curatorial team including Bongani Kona, Ali Al-Adawy, Eric Ngangare, Jumoke Sanwo, Omnia Shawkat, Princess Mhlongo, Zoubida Mseffer.
Race, Space & Architecture (2018 - ) Race, Space & Architecture is an open-access curriculum co-curated by Huda Tayob, Thandi Loewenson and Suzanne Hall.
Archive of Forgetfulness Catalogue (2023) acts as a physical translation of the online platform archiveofforgetfulness.com . It raises wider questions around archives, memory and forgetfulness. The project includes the work of fifty-six artists, cultural producers, curators, creative thinkers and researchers from the African continent and diaspora, including Angola, Brazil, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, France, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, USA, the United Kingdom and Zanzibar. The catalogue speaks to the four parts of this larger project, namely an eight-part podcast series, twenty-two art works submitted in response to an open call, five essays and six regionally curated projects. As a collection of work centred on the African continent, the various contributors interrogate archival gestures, raise questions on personal and political histories that emerge via infrastructures of mobility, and suggest ways of living and remembering for alternative possible futures. In these works, archival labour and memory work are understood as deeply political, personal and speculative. Published by and available from Jacana.