Constance Smith is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. Her work examines the material and social afterlives of buildings, in particular high-rise housing. Beginning from histories of community and solidarity, she is interested in the relationship between urban landscapes, material remains and new urban politics as potential ways of rethinking urban futures.
She currently holds a UKRI Future Leader Fellowship, exploring the aftermath of high-rise housing disasters, notably the Grenfell Tower fire in London and a series of building collapses in Nairobi. This work examines the relationship between the materiality of place and home and the political economy of urban transformation. Working closely with local communities as well as urban practitioners, artists and organisers, this project brings together ethnographic and visual methodologies with participatory and public-facing research, to collectively explore alternative forms of urban change.
Constance holds a PhD in Anthropology and Material and Visual Culture from UCL, London, and an MA in Museum Anthropology from Columbia University, New York. She is the author of Nairobi in the Making: Landscapes of Time and Urban Belonging (2019, James Currey).