Dezeen Magazine

Elizabeth Hoover's work at The World Around In Focus: Land event

Holly Jean Buck and Joseph Kunkel to present at The World Around In Focus: Land

Dezeen has teamed up with The World Around to live-stream its In Focus: Land event on 22 October, an afternoon of free online talks exploring the complex post-colonial issues of land use in the 21st century.

Environmental social scientist Holly Jean Buck and MASS Design Group principal Joseph Kunkel are among the speakers scheduled for The World Around In Focus: Land.

The event will bring together artists, activists and practitioners from around the world across three themed sessions as part of The World Around's year in residence at Guggenheim Museum.

Event to explore the "infrastructures and systems that shape our lives"

The free online public programme is the latest event by The World Around – a non-profit organisation founded in 2020 by Beatrice Galilee with the aim to deepen architectural discourse.

With The World Around in Focus: Land, the organisation says it will "share the compelling and important stories of artists, researchers, designers, scientists and architects whose work explores the agency of infrastructures and systems that shape our lives and deplete natural resources".

The World Around's previous events include January's 2021 summit, also live-streamed on Dezeen, and an Earth Day symposium held as part of Dezeen's Virtual Design Festival.

The October 22 forum will be the first in a series of "In Focus" events focused on contemporary post-colonial land-use issues and aimed at building a more equitable future.

The talks will unfold across three sessions – titled Community, Technology and Ecology – and will be followed by discussion.

The World Around In Focus: Land will be live-streamed on Dezeen on Friday October 22 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm London time (1:00pm to 4:00pm New York Time), as well as the Guggenheim Museum's YouTube channel.

The World Around has been in residence at the museum throughout 2021, with the October 22 event marking the last of the activities programmed under its auspices.

Read on for the full line-up and register to take part on the day.

Welcome to Africatown sign
Welcome to Africatown image by CG Foisy. Image above Atquetzali Quiroz with Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli dances at a Stop Line 3 Rally by Jaida Grey Eagle


The first session will feature designer and educator Kunkel, who is a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation Kunkel and a principal at MASS Design Group, where he directs the Sustainable Native Communities Design Lab. He will speak about integrating and lifting indigenous voices into community design projects.

He will be followed by urban planner Renee Kemp-Rotan, who is the first African American woman to graduate from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Architecture. She will share the story of her current project, the Africatown International Design Idea Competition, which will create an Africatown Cultural Mile to mark the first African settlement in the US in Mobile, Alabama.

This session will be moderated by architect Emanuel Admassu.

Simon Denny's industrial machinery artwork in a gallery
Installation view Simon Denny Mine, Petzel, New York, 2021


Artist Simon Denny will start the next session. Denny's art, including the recent exhibitions Mine and Proof of Stake, interrogates the way technologists frame land-use issues, including around mineral extraction and labour practices.

Speaking next will be environmental social scientist and geographer Buck, whose recent book After Geoengineering laid out the progressive case for geoengineering. She will speak about how emerging technologies can help build a regenerative society.

This session will be moderated by curator Dani Admiss.

Wild rice harvesting in a field
Veronica Smith and Valerie Whitebird harvest rice at the Fond du Lac Reservation in northern Minnesota. Image by Jaida Grey Eagle


The final session will start with anthropologist Elsa Hoover, who is an associate professor in Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley. She will speak about her work on food sovereignty and environmental justice for Native American communities.

Following her will be multidisciplinary artists Carolina Caycedo and David De Rozas. They will present on their new body of work examining the issues of land ownership, infrastructure and natural resources in Texas.

Academic Macarena Gómez-Barris will chair the discussion.

The World Around In Focus: Land programme will be accompanied by a commissioned essay by Hoover, and The World Around newsletter subscribers will also have access to films.

The World Around In Focus: Land takes place online on 22 October. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

Partnership content

This article was written for The World Around as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen's partnership content here.