Designer, teacher and associate member of the research laboratory in social innovation through design Projekt (University of Nîmes, France), Caroline Grellier has been living and working in West Africa since 2014. Her research, informed by post-colonial studies and decolonising design, revolves around understanding design practices in Africa, questioning the intercultural dimension of design practices, with the aim of proposing other models of design pedagogies outside those developed by the dominant Western sphere (Ambole, 2020). Sensitive to the relationship between design and cultural contexts, Caroline Grellier is involved with African maker communities, which she perceives as real design schools. Her practice questions intercultural relations in a post-colonial context, through the exploration of the concept of endogenous design. As a member of the Beninese NGO of architects and designers L'Atelier des Griots since 2018, she is also interested in the role of the community in the endogenous design process.
In a context of strong globalisation, the quest for the 'Afrotopos' (Sarr, 2016), or the question of the reappropriation of African identity by Africans, inexorably questions the practices of co-creation and empowerment of the designer from an intercultural perspective, via a demand for Afri-can integration (Ki-Zerbo, 2013), i.e. the mobilisation of endogenous knowledge (Hountondji, 1994) and African grassroots cultures. In Benin, the NGO of architects and designers L'Atelier des Griots is dedicated to the study and valorization of local African building cultures, described as informal urbanism: self-built dwellings by the populations in neglected peripheral neighbourhoods, which today occupy more than 70% of African cities (UN Habitat, 2014). It is in a form of adversity that creativity is imposed, and these habitats appear today as a true source of inspiration, due to their resilience. Akpakpa Dodomey Enagnon, a district of Cotonou neglected by the authorities and plagued by serious social problems, is the first site of intervention for L'Atelier des Griots. The aim is to support the empowerment of the population through the revitalisation of their public spaces, thus enabling them to fully exploit their social, economic and cultural potential. To do this, L'Atelier des Griots relies on co-creation with the local beneficiary communities, based on strong ecological values, which are now more than ever a necessity.