Professor Dr. S. Akbar Zaidi is the Executive Director of the IBA. He is a renowned political economist with an experience of four decades of teaching and research in Pakistan and abroad. His areas of interest in research include political economy, development, the social sciences, and history. He completed his PhD in History from the University of Cambridge in 2009. Prior to his appointment as the Executive Director, IBA Karachi in 2020, Dr. Zaidi served as Professor at Columbia University, New York and held a joint position at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and at the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS), from 2010 to 2020, when he became the Executive Director of the IBA. Dr. Zaidi has written numerous books, and over 80 academic articles in international journals and as chapters in books.
Rémy Delage is a geographer working on the role of religious circulations (pilgrimages, ritual and political processions, vernacular tourism) in structuring places and territorial belonging in India and Pakistan. His PhD (2004) centered on an in-depth study of a Hindu mass religious gathering in South India, focusing especially on the circulatory dimension of pilgrimage and the pilgrim’s journey as a strong experience of mobility. Between 2008 and 2013, he participated to the French Study Group on Sindh initiated by Michel Boivin, a multidisciplinary research project looking at processes of social and religious change in a Sufi pilgrimage center, Sehwan Sharif, looking more specifically at the interplay between the manifestations of a cult of saints, the making of local society, of composite modes of religiosity and the ritual politics. Rémy Delage co-edited two books, one with Michel Boivin, Devotional Islam in Contemporary South Asia Shrines, Journeys and Wanderers, Routledge, London, 2016) and another one with Mathieu Claveyrolas, Territoires du religieux dans les mondes indiens. Parcourir, mettre en scène, franchir (Edition EHESS, Collection Purusartha, Paris, 2016). He is the codirector of the CEIAS since 2019 and of the Master’s degree in Asian Studies at EHESS since 2018.
Aqsa Jawed is a Lecturer at the Department of Economics, School of Economics and Social Sciences at IBA, Karachi since 2021. She was the Co-Principal investigator for the Karachi Urban Resilience Project that looked at the migrant population in two informal settlements of Karachi. Prior to this, she was working in the development sector on a randomized control trial in Karachi and has led the design of community-based interventions to promote health care, social cohesion, and women empowerment at the grassroots level. She completed her Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Warwick in 2018 on the commonwealth scholarship and BSc (Hons.) in Economics from Lahore University of Management Sciences in 2016.
Michel Boivin received his initial training in the history of the contemporary Muslim world, before turning to anthropology. He is co-Director of the CEIAS (CNRS-EHESS) and Director of Research at the CNRS. He teaches Historical Anthropology at EHESS and supervised several PhD students. His research mostly focuses on the varied interactions between Islam, especially Sufism and Shiism, Hinduism, and Sikhism. After having worked intensively on the issue of authority and transmission of religious knowledge, he shifted to topics pertaining material culture of religions. Actually, he is completing a research project on the Indus River as represented by riverine populations, and how it is sacralised, with Professor Masooma Shakir from N. E. D. University, Karachi. He is currently starting a new one with Professor Karen Ruffle, from the University of Toronto, on the material culture related to the veneration of the Ahl al-Bayt from the Middle East to South Asia. His latest books are The Hindu Sufis of South Asian. Partition, Shrine Culture and the Sindhis of India, London, I.B. Tauris, 2019, and The Sufi Paradigm and the Makings of a Vernacular Knowledge in Colonial India: the case of Sindh (New York, Palgrave MacMillan, 2020).
Suneela Ahmed is an architect, urbanist and an academic. She earned her PhD in 2016 from Oxford Brookes University, UK. Her research interest lies in developing an understanding of local processes and everyday adaptations of urban spaces at the grass root level by locals of the global south. Her interest also lies in documenting and analyzing the mitigation processes through the challenges of globalization, localization and informalization which gives shape to everyday spaces within an urban setting. She has written various research papers, book chapters, newspaper articles and presented in conferences around these issues/ themes/ ideas. Her first solo authorship and a tribute to the city that has always inspired and aspired her, her hometown- the city of Karachi- is entitled ‘Urban Architecture and Local Spaces in Pakistan’ published by Routledge, Taylor and Francis.
Amer Bazl Khan (Co-founder/Director, MAHI) is a Maritime Archaeologist with over 17 years of experience in Australia and the broader Asia-Pacific region. Prior to moving back to Pakistan, Amer was the Principal Archaeologist for the State of Queensland at the Government Department of Environment and Science, where he led the Department’s maritime and terrestrial archaeology teams responsible for the administration of State and Commonwealth heritage legislation. Amer has worked on numerous maritime archaeological projects in Australia and the Asia Pacific region, including working with UNESCO to develop regional capacity for the management of underwater cultural heritage. Amer has a Masters of Arts Degree in Maritime Archaeology from Flinders University in Australia and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Yale University in the US. He is a member of the International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage (ICUCH), an international scientific committee for the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) as well as a member of the ICOMOS Pakistan National Committee.
Rémi Boivin is a doctor in sociology and cultural project manager. He defended a thesis at EHESS on the social and urban issues of a music scene in Marseille (Listening to La Plaine. Ecological approach of a musical scene in Marseille, Doctoral thesis in sociology, EHESS, 2020). His researches are focused on cultural scenes and territoriality, urban ecology, cultural and spatial boundaries and public problems. After following an initial training in media studies, he was lecturer at Paris 8 University and Sorbonne Nouvelle, on topics such as “Cultural and creative industries”, “Sociology of Popular music” and “Fieldwork methods in social sciences”. He currently works on a research-creation program at EHESS and takes interest in sound as a tool for research in social sciences. He started to make sound documentaries on local life and urban atmospheres in Marseille and Paris. His main published works ionclude: “Les frontières d’une scène musicale urbaine. Proximité spatiale et distance culturelle au centre-ville de Marseille”, in L’épreuve des frontières sociales (dir. PEDLER E. and FONTAINE M.), Enquête, EHESS Eds, 2022 and “Comment le rap construit-il sa centralité à Marseille ?”, in Marseille : Les batailles du centre-ville (dir. FRANÇOIS C., VACHET K., VALEGEAS F.), Métropolitiques, 2021.
Vanessa Caru is a historian and research fellow at the Centre for South Asian Studies (CEIAS, CNRS-EHESS), Paris. She published in 2013 a book entitled “Workers’ Housing and the Social Question in Bombay (1850-1950)”, which resulted from her PhD dissertation. She is currently researching the social history of Indian staff of the Public Works Department in the Bombay presidency, from 1875 to 1950. In particular, she is interested in the—permitted or prohibited—social mobility opened up by the emergence of this new profession.
Jean-Baptiste Clais is an ethnologist and curator at the Musée du Louvre in charge of the Asian and porcelain collections in the Department of Works of Art. In his spare time, he works on Mughal India. He is administrator of the Facebook group “South Asia & the world 16th – 19th century” which gathers researchers in this field. He is also interested in the history of corruption and the fight against art trafficking. His activities as an ethnologist focus on digital culture and contemporary popular culture (video games, comics, manga, etc.). He teaches on global history at Sciences-Po Paris. He is the President of the association of teachers of IEP Paris (Sciences-Po). He is a volunteer curator of the collections of the Mo5 association dedicated to digital heritage. He is a member of AGORA 41, think tank of the French National Agency for Information Systems Security (ANSSI). He holds undergraduate and museology degrees from the École du Louvre, a DEA in social sciences, a curatorial degree from the Institut National du Patrimoine and a PhD in social and political anthropology.
Eric Denis, current director of Géographie-cités’ Lab (Paris), holds a PhD in urban and economic geography from the University of Caen and a Habilitation from Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne University. He is senior research fellow at the French National Centre for Scientific Research – CNRS. Based in Cairo over a decade (1993-2003), he has worked also in Sudan. From 2009 to 2013, he was heading the social sciences department of the French Institute of Pondicherry, India. His studies concern metropolitan changes, social division of urban territories and the evolution of systems of cities with a particular focus on land transformations and international comparisons. His research contributes to decentre our understanding of urban dynamics by claiming small towns where half of the urban citizen are living. He authored over 60 papers and books (Popular Housing and Urban Land Texture in the Middle East – 2012 ; Subaltern Urbanization in India – 2017, etc.). His current study concerns urban commons for housing and land transformation in the Global South. He is also involved in researches modelling built-up footprint expansion, human mobilities and urban land financialization.
Laurent Glattli is doing his PhD on the history of post-independence heritage conservation policies in India from Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, and is a visiting doctoral student at the Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities, New Delhi. His research focuses on post-1947 activities of the Archaeological Survey of India, the role of heritage in nation-building, as well as the construction of a statist monopoly over monuments. He is an alumnus of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Toulouse, France, where he completed his B.A. in Political Sciences and his M.A. in International Relations in 2015. He then worked for think tanks in Mumbai and in Paris, before joining the French Embassy in India as a project manager for scientific and university cooperation.
Arif Hasan is an architect and planner, activist, teacher, researcher and the author of a large number of books, research papers and monographs on urban development issues. He has been the Principal Consultant to the Orangi Pilot Project-Research and Training Institute from 1981 to 2017 and is the father of the technology and extension process of its sanitation and housing programmes. He is also founder Chairperson of the Urban Resource Centre, Karachi and a founding member of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, Bangkok. These projects, and their hundreds of spinoffs, are being replicated in a number of cities worldwide and have received international recognition. He has taught at Pakistani and European universities, lectured worldwide, been a member of various UN committees, and his activism has led to the modification of a number of projects and policies in favour of equity and justice. He has been a Visiting Fellow of the International Institute for Environment and Development, UK and is currently on the editorial boards of a number of international peer-reviewed journals. He was a celebrity speaker at the UIA Congress in 1987 and is currently the co-chair of the organisation’s Design for Health Track. He has received a number of national and international awards for his work.
Heba Hashmi (Co-founder/CEO, MAHI) is a Maritime Archaeologist with 8 years experience of working in heritage management in Pakistan. Since 2019, she has been building Pakistan’s first platform dedicated to maritime archaeological research, and is now Principal Investigator on its flagship project, the Inventory of Maritime Archaeology in Pakistan. Prior to co-founding MAHI, Heba was Project Development Officer at the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva, a role which involved coordinating the Silk Roads Responsible Tourism Initiative in Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral. She has also worked on UNESCO listed sites in Lahore as Heritage Coordinator of the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan, and on the documentation of heritage sites in Sindh as Assistant Director at the Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh. Heba has a Masters in Cultural Heritage Studies/Managing Archaeological Sites from University College London, and received her fieldwork training certificates in Maritime Archaeology from the Balkan Heritage Field School (Bulgaria), the International Center for Underwater Archaeology (Croatia) and the Nautical Archaeology Society (UK).
Zoé Headley is a social anthropologist, member of the Centre for Indian and South Asian Studies (CNRS-EHESS) and associate member of the French Institute of Pondicherry, India (CNRS-MAEE). An important part of her work is devoted to the transformations of social morphology in the villages of southwestern India (Tamil Nadu), to the issues and negotiations of caste membership and to the contemporary articulations of customary law. In this context, she has coordinated the constitution of a ‘village’ digital archive, DATAH (Digital Archive of Tamil Agrarian History-1650-1950). More recently, she initiated the STARS (Studies in Tamil Studio Archives and Society) project, which aims to document the history of studio photography in South India. The stars.archive currently includes over 42,000 digitized images (glass-plates, soft negatives and prints) has resulted in a number of exhibitions in India, France, Germany and England curated by artists and social scientists.
Amen Jaffer is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. His research is located at the intersection of religion and urban studies with a particular focus on sociality, community, and infrastructure in neighborhoods, markets and Islamic institutions. His first monograph, which is currently under preparation, is provisionally titled, Making Islam Real: The Social Space of Sufi Shrines in Urban Pakistan, and examines the coming together of Islam and the city in Pakistan’s Sufi shrines. He is the co-editor of State and Subject Formation in South Asia, which has been published by Oxford University Press. He has two ongoing research projects. One is a comparative ethnography of urban citizenship in low-income neighborhoods of Lahore which explores poor residents’ engagements with the infrastructures of their neighborhoods as practices of forging political communities. The other project, for which he is currently conducting fieldwork, investigates the social organization of the waste and recycling economy in Lahore by focusing on scrapyards run by Afghan refugees and jhuggi settlements of low-caste nomadic communities.
Corinne Lefèvre received her Ph.D. (2005) in History from the Ecole des Hautes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. She taught at the INALCO University before becoming a CNRS Research Fellow and a member of the Centre for South Asian Studies (CEIAS) in 2006. She specializes in the political and cultural history of the Mughal empire (16th-18th centuries). Her most recent book publication is Consolidating Empire. Power and Elites in Jahangir’s India 1605-1627 (Ranikhet, Permanent Black: 2022). Her current research projects deal with the history of Delhi (13th-19th c.), and Mughal antiquarian cultures (16th-18th c.).
Anila Naeem is a Professor and Co-chairperson at the Department of Architecture and Planning, N.E.D. University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, Pakistan. Having graduate degrees in architecture (DCET, Karachi) and heritage conservation (METU, Ankara), she pursued doctorate in UK (OBU, Oxford) researching on historic urban centers. She has served in various executive and technical committee positions, including ICOMOS Pakistan and Heritage Advisory Committee (Sindh). Her most recent publications include a monograph ‘Shikarpoor: Historic City, Sindh, Pakistan – Inventory and Mapping of Heritage Properties, Volume 1& II’ (Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of the Heritage of Sindh, 2013) and book chapter ‘The Conflict of Ideologies and Ambiguities in Conservation Policy: A Legacy of Shared Built Heritage in Pakistan’ in Asian Heritage Management: Contexts, Concerns and Prospects” eds. Silva, K. & Chapagain, N. K., (Routledge, 2013).
Delphine Ortis is Doctor in social anthropology and ethnology from EHESS, associate researcher at CEIAS, lecturer at ESSEC, INALCO and EHESS. She has been conducting research for several years on the ritual practices of worship of Muslim saints in South Asia, on the organization of their shrines and on the relations between Sufism and Shiʿism. Newal Osman holds a PhD in History from Trinity College, University of Cambridge. She has been Assistant Professor of History at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, since 2013. Her research interests include the partition of 1947, Punjab politics, and the landowning elites of the Punjab. She has previously been a visiting research fellow at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
Newal Osman holds a PhD in History from Trinity College, University of Cambridge. She has been Assistant Professor of History at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, since 2013. Her research interests include the partition of 1947, Punjab politics, and the landowning elites of the Punjab. She has previously been a visiting research fellow at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
Ali Samoo is currently working as an archival researcher at the Karachi Urban Lab on the Cool infrastructures project. He has been looking at how the discourse on heat has shifted across time in the context of Karachi, for which he is mostly looking into 19th and 20th century colonial and post-partition records. His archival work spans across Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad where he has investigated six different archival repositories: Sindh Archives, Liaquat National Library Records, KPT Archives, KMC Archives, Punjab Archives, and the National Archives. They are also working at the heritage site, 70 Clifton, building an archive of the late Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and late first lady, Nusrat Bhutto.
Masooma Shakir is an architect and an urban researcher. She is particularly interested in interdisciplinary research focusing on urban and spatial issues in relation to historic environments. She has keen interest in cultural heritage and its contextual associations. Her doctoral research looks at the local religious and cultural heritage of Sufi shrines in the region of Sindh. Her work is analytical, aiming to decipher the vocabulary / components of the regional tangible and intangible culture of a particular place as a system / language. Her master thesis was an urban design proposal for the futuristic development of CBD in a direction that protects the heritage areas of the city. Urban research and documentation activities have not been limited to the city of Karachi and Masooma has ventured into the research activities exploring the smaller towns and secondary cities in Sindh in particular. She has been part of the faculty at the Architecture and Planning Department at the NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi as Assistant Professor since 2007. She has been involved in design teaching, theory courses including Urban Planning and Design, Research Methodology and Environment Studies. She has been a part of the Editorial team of the Journal of Research in Architecture and Planning at the Department previously and has also acted as Advisor / Senior Coordinator of Design Studio Group (DSG).
Aaliyah Tayyabi has a Masters in Anthropology from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad and is currently working as the Head of Research and Digital Archiving (HRDA) at CAP. In her role as HRDA she conducts oral history interviews and is responsible for the oral history digital archives at CAP. She conducts research of different cultural and sub-territorial facets of Pakistan and develops content for print, visual and social media dissemination. She has actively worked on documenting first-hand accounts of partition and the formative years of Pakistan, she has been using oral histories as a tool to educate, engage and understand the importance of South Asian history. She also looks after content generation for exhibitions and other long-term cultural projects at CAP. She was the Content Lead for the content development and research for the National History Museum (NHM), Lahore and was responsible for data collection and compilation. Aaliyah was Project Manager for the Story Share Initiative at CAP. A two-year long project, The Story Share Initiative allowed individuals from across the world to relate personal stories and create sustainable dialogue founded on civic engagement, freedom of expression and shared interests in arts and culture.
Yves Ubelmann is president and co-founder of Iconem since 2013, specialized in digitalization 3D rendering of cultural heritage sites in danger. Graduated from the National School of Architecture in Versailles in 2006, Yves has worked as an architect in the Near East and in Central Asia (Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan…) for the study and interpretation of archaeological sites. This experience has led to the development of a technological approach to study archaeological sites by imaging digital. Iconem is currently active in around thirty countries to promote the conservation of cultural heritage threatened by looting, urbanization, mass tourism, armed conflicts, and climate change. His team develops very large-scale digitization solutions for natural and cultural sites allowing their recording at very high resolution. Iconem works with various governments, museums, or international institutions such as UNESCO.
Irene Valitutto Irene is architect and urban planner. She is currently a PhD candidate in human geography at the University of Paris1- Panthéon-Sorbonne, at the PRODIG laboratory. Her work focuses on citizen involvement in governance and construction of the territory, on North-South and South-South relations in the circulation of knowledge and models of urban management and development, and on risk and crisis management in urban environments. Her fields of study, past and present, include Peru, Tunisia, Uruguay and Argentina. Along with her academic research, she is also member of the team Architectes Sans Frontières, an association that is part of an international network of humanitarian organisations. In this space, she coordinated a training course called “Challenging Practices”, which aims to teach new architecture and urban planning professionals to work in collaboration with local populations in international cooperation operations applying a reflexive approach.