Recognition for ACC researcher Liza Rose Cirolia

Senior ACC research Liza Rose Cirolia has received a UCT College of Fellows’ Young Researcher Award 2022. The Young Researcher Award is offered annually in recognition of outstanding scholarly work by young academics who have made significant independent contributions to research in their field.

Cirolia’s work is largely focused on the social, political, technical, and institutional dimensions of urban infrastructure, decentralization, and human settlements in African cities. She is currently leading several projects at ACC, including co-curating the upcoming African Infrastructure Futures Conference. She is currently a co-investigator on a large GCRF project on Off-Grid Cities, where she leads the Governance Package. She also drove the development of two successful funding applications, one on Platform Politics (funded by VREF) and one on Climate City Labs (funded by GIZ).

In support of Cirolia’s award, Nancy Odendaal, Head of the School of Architecture Planning and Geomatics, highlights her remarkable publishing record, contribution to special issues, and edited volumes, as well as serving on panels. She also believes Cirolia’s research impact has extended to include wider leadership in the field.

Odendaal highlights two examples: the Uta-Do Urban Theory Workshop and the African Infrastructure Futures Conference.

“In 2022, she co-conceptualised and co-convened the Uta-Do Urban Theory Workshop in Nairobi, with leadings scholars Wangui Kimari and Prince Guma. The programme lasted one week and brought together scholars, activists, and artists to engage with critical questions of urban theory in Africa, to include a diversity of inputs, for example covering ethnographies of infrastructure, queering cities, and urban social justice. The programme aimed to develop a rich conversation about the future of urban scholarship in and from the East African perspective,” writes Odendaal in her motivation letter.

“She is also playing an important leadership role in the African Infrastructure Futures Conference which takes place in November 2022; building the Scientific Committee on which I serve, with other urban scholars from Africa, and Europe, leading the committee in the selection of abstracts, constructing the panels, assisting scholars to refine and develop their contribution and (eventually) hosting the event. These two examples I believe, illustrate her commitment to creating African platforms for knowledge sharing and collaborative development.”

Nancy Odendaal