Department of Archaeology Lecture
What Future for Yemen’s Architecture?
Yemen’s architecture is world-renowned. The ancient cities of Shibam, Ṣan‘ā’ and Zabīd are on the UNESCO World Heritage list, and a number of other sites await inclusion. Each possesses a distinct sense of place, resulting from a combination of topographic features, native ingenuity and locally available construction materials. A long history of conflict and resistance, too, has contributed significantly to the vernacular expression of Yemen’s building traditions. Today’s hydra-headed conflict, however, poses an unprecedented threat to the country’s architectural heritage, and to its people. The lecture will take stock of the ongoing damage as well as current efforts to safeguard buildings and sustain conservation programmes. It will also address factors beyond the military conflict that pose perhaps more enduring challenges to the survival of Yemen’s traditional building practices.
Professor Trevor Marchand
Trevor Marchand is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London; recipient of the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Rivers Memorial Medal (2014), and consultant for ICOMOS. He trained as an architect (McGill), received a PhD in anthropology (SOAS), and qualified as a fine woodworker at London’s Building Crafts College. Marchand has conducted fieldwork with craftspeople in Nigeria, Yemen, Mali, and London. He has published extensively, directed documentary films and curated exhibitions for the Smithsonian (Washington DC), the RIBA (London), Brunei Gallery (London), Museum of Oriental Art (Turin) and the Pergamon Museum (Berlin). Marchand works as an independent researcher and writer. His forthcoming monograph is titled The Pursuit of Pleasurable Work.