The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has awarded the 2016 H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship to architectural historian and photographer Adeyemi Akande. The prestigious award allows an emerging scholar to travel anywhere in the world for one year to gain firsthand experience of the built environment through observation, photography, writing and sketching, and to acquire knowledge that will contribute to one’s profession and to society.
Akande plans to focus his travels on areas that exhibit the pinnacle of early Western religious architecture as it is embodied in the Classical, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles.
“To see the great works of early Western civilization with my own eyes will enrich my world view and fundamentally influence me as an individual, as a professional and, most importantly, as a teacher of the next generation of architects and historians in urban studies,” said Akande.
Beginning in the summer of 2017, Akande will travel to Spain, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Greece and Egypt to visit some of the world’s most renowned cathedrals and temples. Of particular interest to Akande is how the architecture of religious buildings interfaces with the arts of sculpture, mosaic, painting and relief. He will spend one to two months in each country, allowing him ample time to interact visually, physically and mentally with the buildings and develop his aesthetic awareness and interpretation of the architecture and history. Akande will share his fellowship experience on the SAH Blog (sah.org/blog) through monthly reports that incorporate his reflections, photographs, sketches and videos of the places he visits.
Akande has taught architectural history at University of Lagos in Nigeria for three years and although the experience has been rewarding, he has never seen many of the buildings he lectures on. The H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship affords Akande the opportunity to not only deepen his own knowledge of architecture, but to bring what he has learned and experienced back to the classroom.
“Many African students of architectural history find themselves in a crisis. They painstakingly scratch the grounds for whatever value—however meager—they can get from their environment,” he says. “It is my goal to bridge that gap of despair by providing inspiration and enthusiasm to young scholars through lectures.”
In 2015, Akande received a grant from the SAH-Getty International Program to attend the SAH 68th Annual International Conference in Chicago. Traveling to the U.S. for the first time and participating in the conference opened his eyes to the value of firsthand experience. Akande remarked, “Being physically present at the conference helped me see a future and a career in architectural history.”
The H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship was established in 2010 by a bequest from noted scholar and architectural historian H. Allen Brooks. Applications for the next award cycle will open on July 1, 2017. For more information, visit sah.org/brooks.
About the Society of Architectural Historians
Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is a nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs. Learn more at sah.org.