Foreign Affairs II

Bärbel Müller
Architecture, [applied] Foreign Affairs
2020W, Seminar (SE), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S02404


Tamale Territories

The rapid and sprawling growth of the metropolitan area of Tamale in northern Ghana has led to the merging of the built environment with the coexistent tree savannah and agricultural landscapes. Tamale is the capital of Ghana’s Northern Region and one of the fastest-growing cities in West Africa. Tamale can be characterized by its horizontality and the presence of peripheral urban conditions embedded in the fabric of the city. In this sense, it can seem both vacant and dense. However, when looking at these open territories more carefully, one can find that the ‘vacant’ is in fact not at all vacant. Rather, this anthropocentric definition deserves questioning. Investigating Ghana’s third-largest urban center through an ecological, multi-species, non-anthropocentric lens allows for new ways of understanding urban ecologies and urban change in the predominantly agricultural setting of northern Ghana.

Tamale Territories will focus on inner city ‘peripheries’ in Tamale, Ghana, that illustrate the urban scenarios described above. As with many territories in Ghana, these areas are contested politically, functionally, and environmentally, making them an important focus point not only for our investigative project but also with relevance to the city and its inhabitants.

The project team will be mapping open territories in Tamale to develop an investigative thesis on the characteristics of these environments. Diverse visual media such as narrative and architectural drawings, photography, video, and computational methods will be used to develop a work that communicates the spatial, temporal, and multi-species scenarios encountered in Tamale’s internalized peripheries. Particular focus in the research and field phases of the lab will be given to non-anthropocentric and new ecological ways of understanding. In the research phase each participant will develop an individual topic of interest. The field lab will be used to develop these topics and work on a visual investigation of Tamale from micro to urban scale, reflecting the multidimensional networks that are encountered. Reviews with local experts will add perspective to the project. The individual projects will be collected and exhibited in an online platform.

[a]FA teaching by Baerbel Mueller (Vienna, Tamale), Juergen Strohmayer (Accra, Tamale)


Lab dates:

October 2020 / Interviews Applicants

November 2020 – January 2021 / Research phase in Vienna, Austria

February 08 – 28, 2021 / Field lab in Tamale, Ghana

March – May 2021 / Postproduction and editing in Vienna and Tamale




Course Enrolment

From 01 September 2020, 07:14
Via online registration

co-registration: possible

Architecture (Master): Supplementary Subjects

Individual courses: possible