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Nilsu Erkul

Nilsu Erkul

Graduate Tutor

School of Geography and Planning

Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB


Nilsu Erkul holds a Master's degree in Urban Design from Cardiff University, attaining the grade of distinction and a Bachelor's degree in Town and Regional Planning from Dokuz Eylul University, in Turkey. In April 2020, she started her PhD studies at the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA), Cardiff University. Her research focuses on conflict and heritage contexts.  


Varosha – Cyprus: Investigating Tangible and Intangible Dimension of a Contested Heritage

The main aim of this research is to investigate the numerous factors, forces and decisions which have shaped the collective memory of Cypriots in relation to the contested urban area of Varosha. It will develop a holistic evaluation of the various tangible and intangible heritage dimensions associated with the site to develop recommendations for a consensus-based future urban development plan.


During my time at the WSA over the years, I undertook the following roles:

  • Studio tutor in the MA Urban Design (MAUD) programme for the Autumn Studio and Spring Studio modules.
  • Dissertation supervision in the MA Urban Design (MAUD) programme
  • Guest tutor for the undergraduate module, Architecture in Context (AiC), and the postgraduate module, Urban Design Research Methods (UDRM).
  • Teaching Assistant and Guest Crit for the undergraduate module, Architectural Design 1 (AD1).


I am a contemporary, forward-thinking Cypriot urbanist with a passion for researching conflict, post-war sites and contested heritage. My unique background in a country strongly identified and affected by conflict has inspired me to develop myself and my education in the hopes of being a small part of the greater social change needed in many parts of the world.

Following my bachelor's degree in Town and Regional Planning at the Dokuz Eylul University/turkey, my devotion to urbanism drove me to complete a master's degree in Urban Design at Cardiff University. In this time, I have;

  • Collaborated with brilliant minds from different cultures and backgrounds, expanding my perspective and expertise.
  • Acted as a Studio Tutor in the Master's Urban Design course at the Welsh School of Architecture, gaining key connections and refining my skills.
  • Connecting and conducting interviews with key stakeholders and establishing communal trust.

It is an absolute honour for me to be able to pursue my dreams by conducting my own research for my PhD degree in Architecture, here at the Welsh School of Architecture, which I strongly believe will make a big change for the community, the history and the future of Famagusta/Cyprus.

Research themes


  • Architectural heritage and conservation
  • Intangible heritage
  • Memory
  • Urban HIstory