Two people building a roof

A global programme exploring the intersections of gender, climate, sustainability and heritage through community and built environments.

The programme is co-developed with international partners to promote greater awareness and alternatives in responding to global challenges for people and planet.

The foundational activity, ‘climate-responsive structures’ is developed in partnership with Yasmeen Lari, from Heritage Foundation Pakistan, BRAC University and INTBAU.

Climate Responsive Structures

In 2020, British Council started developing a gender and climate change programme with Heritage Foundation Pakistan later to be joined by BRAC University in Bangladesh. In 2021, INTBAU chapters in Bangladesh, Pakistan and the UK joined the programme. The programme aims to emphasise and exemplify the empowerment of women in design and construction, as well as the vital roles that local materials and traditional methods of designing and building can play in providing a better built future both for people and our planet.

It was initiated through a gender grant to Heritage Foundation Pakistan to pilot the build of zero carbon structures by women in both Pakistan and Bangladesh, based on Yasmeen Lari’s designs. Lari created a series of video tutorials on YouTube’s Zero Carbon Channel to enable even lay persons to follow step by step instructions for constructing low cost safe bamboo and earth structures, which include an earthen Pakistan Chulah (stove), a prefabricated room for shelter and toilet for privacy. Initially the project aimed to test the capabilities of these online tutorials and the adaptation needed for different countries and climates. As a result of the project, several new resources were created and over 25 institutions became involved, with wide impact in both countries.

The project will travel to London, sitting alongside the chulah. A group of female students from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the UK will work together to build, from start to finish, a bamboo structure designed by Lari. Other elements of the build include Cornish bamboo, textiles stitched by a Scottish Sewing Bee and tapestries crafted by women artisans in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

PK-UK Season: New Perspectives

New Perspectives brings together a group of women from Pakistan, including artisans and students, to build, decorate, and demonstrate the use of a chulah (a traditional Pakistani outdoor earthen cooking stove), designed by award-winning Pakistani architect Yasmeen Lari to enable women to self-build for greater safety and dignity in the preparation of food. The project aims to highlight the central role of women in the climate revolution.

The live build will take place in Granary Square in London from 21 – 26 May 2022 and host a programme of activities alongside the women building - sharing stories, knowledge and skills between women from Pakistan and the UK with the public. The events will include cooking sessions, talks, workshops and other activities, especially promoting the voices of young women.

This project is commissioned by the British Council and Heritage Foundation Pakistan. It has received additional support from INTBAU, World Habitat, Bank of Punjab and Zero Carbon Eco Centre.

Alongside the Pakistani chulah build, a 2-day event will platform voices from Pakistan, the UK and beyond to explore the intersections of gender and climate.

Person cooking

Monday 23 May: Climate-responsive structures event programme

12 - 2pm

Listen to a presentation by contributing authors of the Camel Book Project, led by Nilofar Akmut

2 - 5pm

Bamboo dances, Boatmen’s song

Join students from Bangladesh and Pakistan perform folk songs and dances, including Dhamayeel and Chakma dance, inspired by their heritage

Tuesday 24 May: Climate-responsive structures event programme

12 - 12.15pm

Bamboo dances, Boatmen’s song

Students from Bangladesh and Pakistan will perform folk songs and dances, including Dhamayeel and Chakma dance, inspired by their heritage

12.30 – 12.45pm 

Screening: Tying the Knots

A film sharing a dialogue between Bangladeshi and Pakistani students on building the bamboo structure designed by Yasmeen Lari and adapted to local vernaculars by BRAC University in Bangladesh

1 – 2pm

Climate-responsive structures

Introducing the foundational activity of the gender ecologies programme, with Yasmeen Lari, Zainab Faruqui Ali, Komal Fatima and students from Bangladesh, Pakistan and across the UK

2.15 – 2.45pm

Tapestries weaving Bangladesh, Pakistan and the UK

Pakistani textile curator Asma Khan, the Sewing Bee Collective from Scotland and Zainab Faruiqui will share the textile journey for the tapestries created to decorate the bamboo structure. The tapestries will be draped live during this time.

There will be time for the students to show people around the two low tech, low impact structures

3 – 4pm

chai breaker* with Yasmeen Lari and guests

Join female architects and academics, Yasmeen Lari, Zainab Faruqui, Sumayya Vally, Tumpa Fellows, Cassandra Cozza and Safeeyah Moosa for an opportunity to ask questions in an informal setting over a warm cup of chai to break the ice on topics around gender and climate, hosted by Parvinder Marwaha

*‘chai breaker is written in one case, inspired by Gurmukhi script in Sikh culture where there is no upper or lower case - all letters are treated the same

5 - 6pm

DJ Farrah Mughal playing house tunes!

Wednesday 25 May: New Perspectives event programme


Roti making workshop


Spoken word by Anisa Butt

 11.15 – 12pm:

New Perspectives – from past to present

Moderated by academic Komal Fatima, students from University of Lahore in Pakistan will share more about constructing as a woman, for safety, dignity and climate action

 1 – 1.45pm:

Cooking things up with Yasmeen Lari

Short stories on why the Pakistan chulah (earthern cooker) is important in Pakistan for marginalised women, with a chance to hear about the award-winning design from Yasmeen Lari, Abigail Stoltzfus from World Habitat, and Pakistani artisans Dhani and Sampa

 2 – 3pm:

Makli Namah – Stories from Makli

A circle of women who visited UNESCO World Heritage site Makli in Pakistan will share stories about the special site that weaves heritage, rituals, miracles and sustainability into future vernaculars and climate-smart practices. Beginning with Yasmeen Lari, who will share folktales from her late husband Suhail Zaheer Lari’s writings, followed by artisans Sampa and Dhani, Harriet Wennberg, Sumayya Vally, Safeeyah Moosa, Laila Jamil and Parvinder Marwaha sharing their experiences.

3 – 6pm

Pakistan-UK Season: New Perspectives event

Join the British Council, Heritage Foundation Pakistan and INTBAU teams to meet the architects, educators, artists and women involved in the gender ecologies project to support and highlight the role of women in climate care.


Short introduction to programme from Yasmeen Lari from Heritage Foundation, Harriet Wennberg from INTBAU and the British Council team

 4 – 4.45pm:

Sufi singer, songwriter and musician Sarah Yaseen takes us into the world of Sufi music with a set to celebrate Pakistani culture

 5 – 6pm:

DJ Mahnoor (she/her) playing some tunes!

Thursday 26 May: New Perspectives event programme

 10 - 10.45am: Roti making workshop
 10.45 - 11am:

Luddi circle dancing

Join Sonia Sebhai and learn some traditional Pakistani dancing

 11 - 11.30am:  Stories through Food by chef and Numra Siddiqui
11.30 - 12pm:   Poet Shamsad Khan responds to new perspectives
 12 - 1pm:

 Empoweristan: perspectives from Pakistani diaspora women

Joined by a group of women working across permaculture, community and entrepreneurship, moderator Ghazala Akbar will highlight the importance of supporting marginalised women and the power of community

 1 - 3pm:  DJ Nadine (they/them)

3 - 5pm:

DJ Aisha Mirza(they/them)

5 – 5.45pm:

Sufi singer, songwriter and musician Sarah Yaseen takes us into the world of Sufi music with a set to celebrate Pakistani culture