Material Atlas

Material Atlas is a living map of materials, language, landscapes and practices.

An emergent space that places an emphasis on the material and immaterial wealth of different geographical regions around the world. Material Atlas begins to decolonise language beyond the typological framework that exists in the current dominant universal understanding of materials, offering a more nuanced and blended approach that is co-developed by various practitioners around the world.

The first iteration of maps for the Material Atlas focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, mapping material migration and various material landscapes across the region by charting, plotting and translating materials through sensorial adaptations. Material Atlas is co-created by Ma-tt-er, the British Council and ten creatives from ten Sub-Saharan African countries.

Betty Bulongo, Lusaka, Zambia
Isatu Harrison, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Kishan Goochoorum, Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius
Mamy Tall, Dakar, Senegal
Matthew Binary Edwards, Johannesburg, South Africa
Maxwell Mutanda, Harare, Zimbabwe
Naa Obeye, Accra, Ghana
Vanessa Nsona, Lilongwe, Malawi
Wacy Zacarias, Maputo, Mozambique
Yegwa Ukpo, Lagos, Nigeria

Material Atlas will encourage an evolving dialogue, which over time, will include contributions from multiple regions around the planet, finding connections through materials - a creative commons.

Material Atlas is part of the British Council’s Architecture Design and Fashion programme, Making Matters. It is a space in which to explore the nuanced approaches to various material languages around the world, as well as a catalyst for exchange between designers who are exploring circular design principles to support alternative and regenerative futures.

Ma-tt-er established, designed and co-developed the Material Atlas instigating a deeper awareness of how materials can play a role in reorienting narratives, behaviours, mechanisms and dialogues towards inclusivity, diversity and participation between ourselves, each other and our surroundings.

Ma-tt-er is a long-term collaborator of the British Council’s Maker Library Network, Beirut Design Week, Saudi Design Week, Circular Cultures Conference, Athens and Materials workshop lead for the Making Matters programme in 2020.