From Land Grab to LandBack

September 2023

Estudios de la Mujer y Genero, Departamento de Estudios Generales, Universidad de Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
Graduate School of Architecture at the University of Johannesburg
Department of Architecture Iowa State University with support from the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities
Loudreaders Trade School with support from the Mellon Foundation, re:arc institute, and ACSA Fellowship to Advance Equity in Architecture

Monday, September 25

10:00am  Shelley Buffalo (Meskwaki Nation), Decolonial Pathfinder (Lobby College of Design)
Register here.

11am Sean Connelly, Architect / Artist, Hawai’i (Online / Gallery College of Design)
Register here.

5pm Dima Srouji, Architect/ Designer, Palestine(Auditorium College of Design)
Register here.

Tuesday 26

10am Gabriela Leandro, Architect, Bahia, Brazil/ Loudreaders (Online)
Register here.

3pm Dima Srouji, Architect/ Designer, discussion with students

6pm  Sikowis Nobiss (Nehiyaw/Nahkawiyinîwiw) Executive Director, Great Plains Action Society (Beckman Forum/ King Pavilion) ACSA Fellowship to Advance Equity in Architecture Lecture Register here. 

Wednesday 27

11am Nell Gabiam and Abu Salma Khalil, ‘Yarmouk Camp, Palestine, and the War in Syria” (Gallery College of Design) 
Register here.

12pmMaria Parazo Rose, spatial data analyst and journalist of Indigenous affairs, climate migration and conservation at Grist, discussion with  students (Food and Science Building)

5pm Maria Parazo Rose, spatial data analyst and journalist of Indigenous affairs, climate migration and conservation at Grist, , Lecture (Auditorium College of Design) Register here.

Thursday 28

11 am - 12.10 pm Marakiani Olivieri, Architect, Vieques, Puerto Rico (auditorium College of Design)
Register here.

3pm Discussion with Maria Parazo Rose on journalist, data, research. 

6pm Nadia Huggins, Artist, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Lecture (online/Gallery) Register here. 

Friday 29

10 am Oleksiy Radynski, Filmmaker, Ukraine (Online / Gallery)
Register here.

4pm Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Filmmaker, Barbados (Auditorium)

Saturday 30

1pm Luis Othoniel Rosa, Writer, UNL (Black Contemporary) with poet and UNL professor Katie Marya 

6pmAnthony Warrior  ( Muscogee / Creek)  (The Recipe, Ames)

Register here.

Call for Contributions

Scholars, designers, artists, authors, planners and activists are invited to submit proposals to participate in From Land Grab to Landback: Architecture and Positions on Land. A multimedia and interdisciplinary symposium spanning three continents, From Land grab to Landback explores the role of architecture and spatial practices in the politics of land and water rights, occupation, displacement, sovereignty, property, dispossession, reparations, ecological spoliation, capital, wealth accumulation and distribution, production, and on-going struggles against settler colonialism.  The symposium seeks to bring together diverse perspectives on how the built and destroyed environment shape and are shaped by power relations, struggles for land rights, stewardship, and extraction, and alternative visions of land use and custodianship.

Co-organized by the Department of Architecture at Iowa State University with support from the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, the School of Architecture of the Universidad de Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, Graduate School of Architecture at Johannesburg, and Loudreaders with support from the Mellon Foundation and re:arc institute, the symposium is part of a series of events, exhibitions, roundtables, and publications to be celebrated in Ames (USA), Rio Piedras (Puerto Rico), and Johannesburg (South Africa).

Abstracts of 300-500 words should address one or more of the following themes:

Histories and geographies of land grab and dispossession

The spatial dimensions of land struggles and resistance

Architecture and design as instruments of colonization and resistance

Reimagining land use

Afroindigenous and indigenous perspectives on land, space, and architecture

Global and local struggles for landback and reparations

Intersectional approaches to land justice and environmental racism
Interdisciplinary perspectives that center contemporary struggles against settler-colonialism and projects that draw on fields such as architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, geography, history, anthropology, environmental studies, and Indigenous studies are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please submit your abstract and/or proposal by June 20, 2023 to, subject: land symposium application, including your name, affiliation, and contact information in a pdf (2mb max).

From Land Grab to Landback is a transdisciplinary symposium and multimedia platform that investigates and offers critical perspectives that tie architecture across different scales to urgent questions about land, territory, property, sovereignty, ecology, and life. In response to planetary-scale calls for social and ecological justice, architecture is called to confront its legacy as the material manifestation of systems of power, occupation, territorialization, extraction, capture, identity, development, and modernity. Drawing from the work, research, and practices of leading international designers, planners, artists, political-scientists, anthropologists, scholars, journalists, philosophers, and activists, the symposium provides an intersectional approach to questions about land, and the many struggles that ensue during an era of technological escalation and ecological urgency. Through a series of talks, film screenings, roundtable discussions, and workshops From Landgrab to Land back: architecture and positions on land engages with many temporalities while looking at the past and present of critical questions on land and architecture. The symposium offers a platform for the presentation and dissemination of critical imaginaries operating in the immediate and distant future.

Register for From Land Grab to LandBack IV

9:00am CT
Opening and welcome
Douglas Spencer

9:10am Perspectives from Puerto Rico, Johannesburg and Iowa Nathalie Frankowski and Cruz Garcia with Alexandra Pagan, Simphiwe Mlambo, Samiha Meem, Post-Novis

panel 1
Chair: Douglas Spencer
“Hard Labour/Soft Space” Stephanie Kyuyoung Lee, Bard College
“On Moon, Comradeship, and Possibilities of Landback Beyond Earth” Marija Marić, University of Luxembourg
“From Land to Power: Strengthening Community Resilience” Venesa Alicea-Chuqui, Kean University

panel 2
Chair: Peter Zuroweste
“The Field Station: From Dispossession to Decolonization” Brittany Utting, Rice University and Daniel Jacobs, University of Houston,
“Unceded: a Long History of Land in Rural Southern California”Juliana Maxi, University of San Diego
“Inland Empire: On Legal and Architectural Orders”: Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió

panel 3
Chair: Nathalie Frankowski
“Landscape Architecture, Extractive Entanglements, and the Settler State in 20th Century British Columbia” Sara Jacobs, University of British Columbia
“Pathologies and Production: Capital, Land, and Landscape”
Douglas Spencer, Iowa State University.
“Landback Is Not a Metaphor” Jae Shin and Damon Rich, HECTOR urban design
Alfonso Espino, Globeville Elyria Swansea Coalition

Discussion and closing remarks

Presentations by Pedro Cardona Roig, Organizacion del Pueblo Indigena Can-Jibaro de Borike, El Hangar en Santurce, Colectiva Feminista en Construccion, Rocio Zambrana, and Marakiani Olivier. Co-organized by Estudios de la Mujer y Genero, Estudios Generales Universidad de Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, September 15, 2023.

From Land Grab to LandBack Johannesburg included a podcast discussion organized by  Simphiwe Mlambo Nomalanga MahlanguOratile Mothoagae Naadira Patel