RESEARCH, WRITING, EDITING
Valletta Accra is a travelling research project where Ann works as fellow researcher and writer alongside AP Valletta and Kojo Derban. The project – launched as part of Art Council Malta’s International Cultural Exchange funding stream – considers two capitals across two continents, each diversely holding memory of colonial presence and its wielding of mercantile potential. Heritage fabric becomes a transcript of the evolving urban, social and economic life of two harbour cities – Accra, the capital of Ghana on the Guinea Coast of West Africa, and Valletta, the capital of Malta, an island in the Mediterranean. Both carry the imprint of their role as adopted trading strongholds. Their comparison becomes a departure point for a deeper reading of both the colonial and post-colonial experience.
In its parallel observation, Valletta Accra unearths new dimension within the story of heritage architecture and its scope for development in the present – its capacity to either resist, or evolve in service to, native cultural expression. Through on-site observation and critical research, this project questions how heritage might develop in line with authentic permeations of identity and urban ambition, positioning contrast as a methodology for revelation.
In November 2023, the team conducted the project's first on-site workshop in Jamestown, Accra. A photographic exhibition with work by Paul Addo, Guillaume Dreyfuss and Luis Rodríguez was opened in North Ridge, Accra at the Malta High Commission of Ghana, to mark the first phase of the research project and launch a visual starting point to its comparative observation. In March 2024, the team will meet again in Valletta, where the project's second workshop will take place. The project will culminate in a publication, edited by Ann, documenting the team's research findings.
Ann authors Space Matters, the Times of Malta architecture column, discussing building and urban design and construction in Malta. Space Matters is the first regular series in Maltese media exclusively dedicated to criticism and investigation around the built environment. The column provides commentary around urban progression on the islands, directly interrogating topics such as construction methods and materials, urban planning, architectural education, the client-architect relationship, infrastructure, the natural environment, conservation, retrofit, and more.
LISTENING AS A METHODOLOGY
Co-authored with Judith Stichtenoth, 'Listening as a Methodology, Longevity as a Goal' was written in the summer months of 2022 and published in the peer reviewed The Plan Journal. The essay explores the relationship between a group of design professionals, a community of residents, and a local council in the early stages of the Tustin Estate renewal project – a Master Plan and Phase One Regeneration for a south-east London post-war housing estate. Exploring the role of ballots in estate regeneration, the piece is built around three interviews with the development's key players - a representative from Southwark Council, the head of the project's engagement strategy, and a Tustin Estate resident. Collectively, the interviews and associated text explores approaches to building authentic engagement; the importance of community ownership; and how listening enables knowledge transfer and creates a blueprint for longevity.
CURATION & WRITING
Ann curated the exhibition GĦALLIS, a small-scale exhibition highlighting Malta's need for retrofit and a shift in focus for heritage conservation. The exhibition showcases a retrofit design for a coastal watchtower sited along the north-eastern shore of Malta called Torri tal-Għallis, built in 1658 by Grandmaster Martin De Redin of the Knights of the Order of St John. The retrofit proposal was designed by designed by Valentino Architects with Sumaya Ben Saad, Nigel Borg, Matthew Farrugia, Luca Zarb, and Tara Žikić, and culminates as nine new architectural elements that insert into the tower without permanent impact. The elements fall into three groups: primary, auxiliary and connecting, all of which are flexible, lightweight, translucent, and illuminable.
GĦALLIS explores the de-programming of architecture and how historic structures might be creatively adapted towards greater inclusiveness. The exhibition is open between May-November 2023 as part of the European Cultural Centre's Time, Space, Existence event.
Ann edited the exhibition catalogue for fuse, a site-specific art project delivered by the Valletta Cultural Agency and curated by Elyse Tonna. The project was delivered as a collaborative visual arts and research project responding to the communities and contexts surrounding the Biċċerija area (Old Abattoir) building in Valletta, Malta.
Listening as a Methodology, Longevity as a Goal THE PLAN JOURNAL
Before Architecture: a laboratory of truths THE SUNDAY TIMES OF MALTA
Beyond the Biennale: art’s opportunity for atonement THE SUNDAY TIMES OF MALTA
Six Interviews VC001
Architecture's Climate Crusade NEW LONDON QUARTERLY
Il-Gallarija - An incidental icon THE MALTA INDEPENDENT
LECTURING & TUTORING
Workshop lead, Modes of Art Writing, DEPT. OF ART AND HISTORY OF ART, UNIVERSITY OF MALTA
Guest tutor, 2021 Writing Cohort NEW ARCHITECTURE WRITERS (N.A.W.)
Guest lecturer, Understanding Interior Space FACULTY FOR THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT, UNIVERSITY OF MALTA
Written by Kat Scott and Finbar Charleston of dRMM, Ann provided editorial support to Treelogy, a three-part essay discussing the role of trees and timber over in nature’s diverse ecosystem, their sustainable use in construction, and their relationship with humanity’s communities and urban realm. The essays were published as a written companion to dRMM’s Treeptych drawing, which was displayed at the Royal Academy 2021 Summer Show, forming part of the architecture room, curated by David Adjaye to the theme of ‘Climate and Geography’.
THE SPACES THAT CONNECT US
WRITING & CO-CURATION
In March 2018, Ann travelled with photographer Joanna Demarco and Mark Leonard to Green Bank, West Virginia – a small region in America, home to the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope and a Wi-Fi free society. Following the group's fieldwork and research there, Ann wrote a literary non-fiction essay for The Spaces That Connect Us exhibition, a photographic and text-based study examining the day-to-day realities of an existence without constant connection. The project shed light on a hybrid way-of-life negotiating between a long-standing vocation to explore space and a contemporary human need to be connected. The exhibition was on display at Valletta Contemporary in Malta.
Ann formed part of the curatorial team for AP's radical prophecy project, Novelletta, developed 2006 as a printed manifesto. The team expanded Novelletta into a three-dimensional experience in line with AP’s ambitions, activities and theoretical, academic and educational interests, focusing on themes related to the expansion of the city of Valletta, iterations of utopia, and alternate realities for the metropolis. Noveletta formed part of the London Festival of Architecture and was exhibited at The Building Centre, London.
SOAP TO THINK WITH
CURATION & WRITING
Ann was curator and writer for SOAP TO THINK WITH, a solo exhibition by artist Norbert Francis Attard featuring multi-media work spanning over two and a half years in the making. The show’s works and catalogue interrogate three themes: the Covid-19 pandemic; political and financial corruption in Malta; and the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Themes are catechised through links with canons of conceptual art, objet trouvé, light art, photography, sculpture, and graphic art. In his selection of subject-matter, Attard builds a retrospective comment around the wider and ongoing question of human ethics, grappling with major traumas and moral dilemmas that have and continue to plague communities in this decade.
THE ORDINARY LIVES OF WOMEN
Ann edited the exhibition catalogue for The Ordinary Lives of Women, an exhibition featuring ten female artists whose selected work addresses the "mundane in the revolutionary", revealing the "revolutionary within the mundane". Going beyond iconic and visible moments of feminist triumphs, the exhibition explores the power of so-called ordinary acts. The catalogue features three conversations between Ann as editor and artists Rachel Fallon, Julieta Gil and Syowia Kyambi.
THE ARCHETYPE SERIES
CURATION & WRITING
Ann curated The Archetype Series, a fifteen-piece collection of diminutive structures, each built from four-sided measuring rulers, appropriated and given new meaning and metaphor by artist Norbert Francis Attard. The series finds lineage the practice of found object art or objet trouvé, with strong links to symbolist, minimalist and conceptual art canons. Its point of departure is the object itself – a foldable tool known as a multi-angle template scale ruler, re-purposed as a foundational element in the creation of Attard’s ‘archetypes’. Each of the fifteen is presented as a vessel for wider social, cultural, political even metaphysical commentary. Ann also wrote the exhibition catalogue for the show, which was held at Valletta Contemporary in Malta.