• Salone Drift
    Killian Doherty & Edward Lawrenson

Luxury villa in Signal Hill, Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2014. Digital image. Photo: Killian Doherty

Salone Drift is a documentary that charts informal sand and rock mining in Freetown, Sierra Leone, tracing its ruinous consequences to a legacy of colonial inequality. A British colony until the 1960s, Freetown was an urban laboratory for western experimentation. Concerns around malaria produced health segregation that reshaped the city, including the establishment of Hill Station in the 1930s, a supposedly disease-free enclave for the colonial authorities high above Freetown’s infected city. That uneven topography continues: Hill Station remains a site of prosperity, home to the development of luxury villas. This construction boom consumes sand and rock from unregulated sources, impacting on the city below. Salone Drift uncovers the informal processes of extraction that increases flooding and soil erosion and undermines living conditions for Freetown’s urban poor. In doing so, the film surveys the uneven strata of race, class, and health—injustices hidden beneath urbanisms of the Global South today.

Killian Doherty is an architect with an interest in post-conflict and disaster-built environments. Through his research-based practice, Architectural Field Office, he explores how development, as regeneration, (re)produces unevenness in cities across the Global North and South. His architectural work, teaching, and research have been exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, the Venice Architecture Biennale, and appeared in Japan Architecture + Urbanism (JA+U), Architectural Review, MAS Context, Footprint: Delft Architecture Theory Journal, VOLUME, and Afritecture: Building Social Change. Doherty is completing his Architectural Design PhD at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL), and is lecturer in architecture and urbanism at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA).

Edward Lawrenson is a London-based filmmaker. His 2014 Abandoned Goods (made with Pia Borg) won the Golden Leopard for Best International Short at the Locarno Film Festival, and also screened other festivals, including Sundance, BFI London Film Festival, and True False. The film was included in Bedlam (2015), an exhibition by the Wellcome Collection about psychiatric care. His 2018 film Uppland (made with Killian Doherty) screened in the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale Architettura and went on to be shown at numerous festivals and venues, including Cinéma du réel, Paris; Museum of the Moving Image, New York; and Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London. Uppland was acquired for US distribution by Grasshopper Film and the Images en bibliothèques in France. Lawrenson has also produced documentaries for BBC Radio 4 and teaches filmmaking at Kingston University, London, and University College London.