The Foreshore: Session 3

Tue 08 Nov 2016 7–9PM

Chris Williams on Eco-Socialism and NLÉ's Makoko Floating School

222 East Georgia Street

This week we will gather to discuss a radio lecture by Chris Williams on the topic of Eco-Socialism and a short video about the Makoko Floating School.

Chris Williams is an environmental scholar and activist  based in New York and focused on the topic of the eco-socialism. His talk assesses the interrelationships between our economic system and the environmental crisis, between the convergence of planetary and social degradation, and offers suggestions and insights into possible alternatives. This talk was originally aired on Alternative Radio and recorded in San Luis Obispo, CA on May 15, 2016.

The Makoko Floating school is a three story building designed to provide space for education and community gatherings in the autonomous water-bound slum of Makoko in the lagoon of Lagos. Designed by Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi in collaboration with the Makoko Waterfront Community the project is part of the firm’s ongoing research into building for flood prone regions.


NLÉ is led by Kunlé Adeyemi, an architect, designer and ‘urbanist’ with a track record of conceiving and completing high profile, high quality projects internationally. His recent work includes ‘Makoko Floating School’, an innovative, prototype, floating structure located on the lagoon heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. This acclaimed project is part of an extensive research project – ‘African Water Cities’. NLÉ is currently developing a number of urban, research and architectural projects in Africa; one of which is Chicoco Radio Media Center; the amphibious building in Delta city of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.

Born and raised in Nigeria, Adeyemi studied architecture at the University of Lagos where he began his early practice, before joining the world renowned Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in 2002. At OMA, working closely with founder Rem Koolhaas for nearly a decade, he led the design, development and execution of numerous projects in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Chris Williams is a long-time environmental activist and author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis. He is chair of the science dept at Packer Collegiate Institute and adjunct professor at Pace University in the Department of Chemistry and Physical Science. His writings have appeared in Green Left Weekly, Alternet, CommonDreams, Climate And Capitalism, Climate Story Tellers, The Indypendent, Dissident Voice, International Socialist Review, Truth Out, and Socialist Worker. He reported from Fukushima in December and January of 2012 and was a Lannan writer-in-residence in Marfa, Texas over the summer, where he began work on his second book on the Commons. He was awarded the Lannan 2013-4 Cultural Freedom Fellowship to continue this work.


The Foreshore is a year-long collaboration between Access Gallery and Other Sights’ for Artist Projects inspired by the deep influence of the waterways on our cities and societies on the West Coast.

The foreshore is a place of unclear jurisdiction, and thus of contestation, friction, and constant movement. Those who dwell in this zone must continually adapt to a changing environment. The foreshore also conjures histories specific to this region: narratives of trade and exchange, habitation and nourishment, resistance and violent erasure. It might similarly evoke our contemporary lived situation in this place. Considering the potential of this zone as both concept and site, The Foreshore initiative asks the following: how do we generate conditions of emergence? How can we take up space differently? How do we support unruly practices and futures?


Established as an non-profit artist-run centre in 1991, Access Gallery is platform for emergent and experimental art practices. We enable critical conversations and risk taking through new configurations of audience, artists, and community. For more information visit Access Gallery

Access Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and BC Gaming, the City of Vancouver, the Hamber Foundation, the Burrard Arts Foundation, the Contemporary Art Gallery, NSB Reederei, and our committed donors, members and volunteers.


Other Sights is a non-profit arts organization that develops new and unexpected exhibition platforms outside of the gallery context. Other Sights collaborates and shares resources with organizations and individuals to present artworks that consider the aesthetic, economic and regulatory conditions of public places and public life. For more information visit

Other Sights gratefully acknowledges the support of the British Columbia Arts Council, The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 15.