Hussain is the Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (South Asia) on the GCRF Gender Justice and Security Hub where she is working on ‘Culture and Conflict’ project under the Transformation and Empowerment stream. In this her research looks at the value of cultural landscapes in post-conflict rehabilitation.
- Hussain received her DPhil in Human Geography from Durham University in March 2019.
- She holds a BA in Architecture Design from the National College of Arts, Lahore in Pakistan.
- MA in Research Architecture from Goldsmiths University, UK.
In 2013, Hussain developed the concept of Academy for Democracy under which she initiated Laajverd Visiting School Project, annual interdisciplinary and cross-curricular intensive based in sites of conflicts, crisis and disasters bringing together academics, local communities and professionals to exchange dialogue on shared futures. LVS is a task-based, challenge-led process of actors learning from locals and each other across backgrounds and interests producing varied outputs ranging from publications to community museums. Her research focuses on documentation and protection of cultural landscapes, namely community-based heritage conservation which has led her to develop C-PAR (Creative Participatory Action Research), Indigenous Practices and Patterns Catalogs, curate community museums in post disaster and post conflict zones.
Since 2007, Zahra has worked extensively in Northern Pakistan with mountain communities around heritage, vernacular architecture and rural development issues. She has worked with the Heritage Foundation Pakistan, Aga Khan Cultural Services Program before setting up her own arts and culture organisation called Laajverd, that explores alternative modes of development in rural mountain communities that face conflicts and disasters. Her DPhil work from 2015-2018 specifically engaged with post-disaster landscapes and offered re-conceptualization of resilience, displacement and resettlement through her ethnographic work carried out with displaced communities of the Attabad landslide disaster.
Hussain’s work also intersects with policy, where she is leading a project on developing Mountain Architecture Policy (building guidelines and codes) for Northern Areas in Pakistan. She is also the lead author on the National Policy for Museums in Pakistan.