Counter-Figures: Profits, Gods and Icons

Jayden Ali and Shumi Bose introduce the first in a new three-part series Counter-Figures, that explores the new heroes of our time


06:30pm, Tuesday, 1 December 2020


08:00pm, Tuesday, 1 December 2020

This is a past event

Join us for the first in the three-part series Counter-Figures curated by Jayden Ali for Central Saint Martins. On the evening of Tuesday 1st December, Jayden Ali and Shumi Bose host a film-screening-come-lecture Profits, Gods and Icons, structured around Ali’s recent cinematic triptych that questions society’s relationship to cultural icons and their influence on the built environment. The event will be followed by a live Q&A with the curator on the Architecture Foundation's Instagram Live.

The event will be streamed via CSM News, and is free and accessible to everyone.

Image: Film stills from Profits, Gods and Icons (Jayden Ali, 2020)


London’s Architecture is a product of past and present figures who give shape to the city’s spirit, attitudes and trends. Those whose work we choose to celebrate affects what and how we build, and our current development aesthetics are arguably founded on the work of an entrenched and exclusive canon. With this in mind, we ask what opportunities present themselves when a more plural range of voices are consulted and celebrated? Through a series of broadcasts, Counter-Figures, curated by Jayden Ali, will explore the new heroes of our time, tell new stories, advocate for new agendas, frame new questions and articulate new aesthetics. Each of the three performance lectures, will be hosted by a cultural space which traditionally has the power to sanctify people and their practice.⁠

Find out more about the second and third events in the series:

Sound Advice Awards Thursday 3 December 6.30pm GMT - Watch here

Sound Advice provide a visual and sonic carnival of an awards ceremony, showcasing the work of undervalued and alternative spatial practitioners that point a way towards the delivery of a more equitable city.

The Future is A Common History (with the Royal Academy) Thursday 10 December 6.30pm GMT - Link to follow

JA Projects in collaboration with Black Females in Architecture and Dr Adesola Akinleye, perform an alternative history that champions the making of a diverse public realm via an investigation of the Royal Academy of Arts and its setting. The performance will be followed by a conversation between the authors and Kate Goodwin (RA Head of Architecture and Drue Heinz Curator), taking a closer look at the history and context of these conversations, both specific to the RA and in general.

Jayden Ali

Jayden Ali is the founding director of interdisciplinary practice JA Projects and works at the intersection of architecture, urban strategy, art and performance - directly engaging with contemporary society on projects that are participatory and empowering. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, where he co-leads the MArch Architecture course while also, alongside Theatrum Mundi, teaching a studio that assists students in using performance as a tool to explore aspects of culture within the city.

Shumi Bose

Shumi Bose is an architectural historian, curator and teacher. She is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture at Central Saint Martins, covering architectural history, theory and broader cultural issues. She also teaches Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art.
 Shumi has worked as curator at the Royal Institute of British Architects since 2017; exhibitions include Freestyle: Architectural Adventures in Mass Media (2020) with Space Popular, and A Home For All: Six Experiments in Social Housing (2018). In 2016, she co-curated Home Economics, the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, alongside Jack Self and Finn Williams. 
Shumi works as an editor on books on architecture, regularly contributing to publications including Pin Up, Log and Metropolis. Recent publications include Spatial Practices: Modes of Action and Engagement with the City (ed. Mel Dodd, Routledge, 2019), Wherever You Find People (Park Books, 2017) and Home Economics (The Spaces, 2016).