learning architecture

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a PhD in live projects and architectural education

Bosh

I think we’re almost there.

A few months later than expected (you can blame me, my university and Jesus’ rebirth at Easter) I will be submitting the examination copies of my doctoral thesis on Monday 21 May. We have examiners in place, and I hope to defend the thesis in late June or early July. 

Beneath this achievements lie many mixed emotions. Pride, embarrassment, disappointment, happiness, sadness, fatigue, to name but a few. But for the time being, I’m very glad to have reached this point.

I’ll write more in the coming weeks and months. Until then I have a few very pressing writing commitments. I’ll also be speaking this week at this conference in Oxford. Please come if you can.

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Thesis status check: chunky with revisions

Brief emergence from the thesis lair for an update. Very productive supervisions in Belfast a week and a half ago (during our third annual Street Society vertical live project). I’ve taken the liberty of pushing my deadline back a few weeks to Friday 13 April.

You know, for luck, and stuff.

If you’re in Belfast that evening, give me a buzz and I’ll give you directions to a hostelry where you can watch me sob into a Guinness.

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A live architectural question is…

“A live architectural question is like a live moral question; it has more than one answer, all of them wrong…”

— Reyner Banham, What Architecture of Technology?, Architectural Review, February 1962 (via Reyner Banham Said)

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Live Projects Pedagogy International Symposium 2012

This poster arrived tonight. It’s obviously great to see such a large and well organised event happening just a few months after I finish my PhD on the subject (and not just for the usual cheeky reasons of self-promotion). I’ll be there in May and presenting a paper drawing on some of my findings. If you’re interested, I hope I can encourage you to come to Oxford as well. There’s more info here.

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Thesis status check: chunky

20120217-114146.jpg

Just over one week until I share this final draft with my supervisors, and just under a month and a half until I hope to submit it. Yoikes.

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Call for participation: 2012 Street Society live project

The School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering (SPACE) at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) will be running its third annual Street Society live project for one week in March. We’re now actively looking for potential clients and projects located throughout Northern Ireland, ideally in rural locations. If you’re interested, or know someone or a group who might be, please ask them to contact my colleague Paul Bower (details below) by next Tuesday.

Street Society is a one-week design research office. 

It brings together first year students from both the undergraduate BSc Architecture and the Masters in Architecture course in the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queens University Belfast, to work on a range of projects for clients.

It will run between Monday 12th  Friday 16th March 2012.

The Street Society is now looking for potential clients – external organizations, architects, built environment professionals, community organizations, etc. Potential clients will have a question that architectural students can help to answer; a design problem; a site to evaluate; a building, material, or construction process to investigate, document, or better understand. 

This year the emphasis is shifting from the urban to the rural, and we are looking in particular for clients and projects that are in someway set, related to, respond to, or operate in the countryside of Northern Ireland.

If you are interested in submitting a project proposal for one of the offices of The Street Society please forward a 300 word description to pbower02 <–AT–> qub <-DOT-> ac <-DOT-> uk no later than 12.00 midday, Tuesday 21st February 2012.

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Call for participation: Common Grounds 2012 – On Site

Last year, with Anna Holder of the University of Sheffield, I helped to organise and curate a colloquium for postgraduate researchers entitled Common Grounds. This year, Common Grounds returns for a second event, to be hosted by the Sheffield Graduate Architectural Society and is being organised by Carolyn Butterworth and Adam Park. The call for participation went out this morning; you can find more information on the website.

Common Grounds: On Site

An open call for active participation in a postgraduate research colloquium.

20th – 21st April 2012, University of Sheffield School of Architecture

Common Grounds is an opportunity to collaborate with postgraduate students and other early-career researchers in exploring what it means to engage in situated/active spatial research, and what might be gained through a propositional or praxis-led research agenda. Researchers that actively engage on and with site, people and place are encouraged to apply from any ‘spatial’ discipline (including activists, architects, artists, geographers, performers, planners, sociologists, and others).

Please find further details and the full call at the colloquium website: http://exploringcommongrounds.wordpress.com/

Please forward to anyone else who may be interested in submitting!

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The road less taken

(Post updated to include a PDF of the AIARG programme)

Happy new year to all who kindly follow this blog. After a brief excursion to celebrate my fiancé’s thirtieth birthday somewhere warmer than the northern half of the UK (re: the photo, we did not turn right), I’m now back at my desk and knuckling down (minor administrative duties permitting) to the final three months of my PhD. I am extremely excited (if not a little bit nervous) to have received a tentatively positive response from a highly regarded academic who may be able to be external examiner. The intention is to submit my thesis for examination at the end of March, with a viva to follow sometime in the spring.

In the meantime, I’ll be presenting a paper tentatively entitled Negotiating pedagogies: developing a grounded theory of architectural education at the inaugural conference of the All Ireland Architectural Research Group (AIARG) at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 January. The conference costs just €50 for two days and more than thirty-five papers, plus a keynote from Adrian Forty. You can download the finalised programme from here. For more info, contact Brian Ward at DIT by email on: brian <–DOT–> ward <–AT–> dit <–DOT–> ie

Other activities will be posted here in due course. But for now… onwards with 2012.

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Published: Site and other matters

A bit more than two years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Anne Pirrie of the University of the West of Scotland at the 2009 international conference of the AHRA at Edinburgh College of Art(aka Field/Work). Following that meeting and a discussion surrounding the paper she had just oresented – entitled Tripping, Slipping and Losing the Way – Anne invited me to work with her on developing the paper for publication.

Since then, the draft paper has been through several evolutions and variously considered for several publications. Somewhat unexpectedly, it was accepted without our immediate knowledge to Policy Futures in Education, and appears in this months edition, volume 9, issue 5 as Field/Work, Site, and Other Matters: exploring design practice across disciplines.

Anne has been a fantastic collaborator to work with, and although this is perhaps not the version of the paper we had envisioned being published, it’s a pleasant detour through rich fields surrounding the core interests of my PhD. Subscribers can download the article and the rest of the issue here. The paper will be available to non-subscribers in two years time.

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Published: Intercultural interaction in architectural education

It’s a pleasure to finally hold in my hands a copy of Intercultural Interactions: in Architectural Education (eds. Peter Beacock, Geoffrey Matstutis and Robert Mull) – to which Ruth Morrow and I contributed a chapter on the first Street Society live project at QUB. If you’re interested in reading it and thirteen other chapters on participatory practices in architectural education, you can buy the book now for just £10 from Amazon or from your preferred retailer (ISBN: 978-0956353214).

If you’re in London on 3 November, there’s a book launch alongside a lecture and exhibition on Capturing Urban Conflict by Wendy Pullan, author of Chapter 5 in the book. Details are on the ASD blog.

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About the project

learning architecture is an academic blog of James Benedict Brown, previously a doctoral candidate in architectural pedagogy at the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland. James passed his viva in September 2012 and graduated the following December.


About the author

James Benedict Brown has worked and studied in England, Northern Ireland, France and Canada. Following the completion of his PhD at QUB, he was appointed Lecturer in Architecture at Norwich University of the Arts. A short bio is here.


About the supervisors

The project is supervised by Prof. Ruth Morrow and Keith McAllister. Prior to his appointment at Qatar University in 2009, Prof. Ashraf Salama also supervised the project.


Bibliography

Click here for the bibliography to date.


Words

Click here for a selection of peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed writing.


Glossary

Click here for a glossary-in-progress of key terms used in the project.


Conference diary

Conferences and seminars of interest to the project.


Note

All images are used for illustrative purposes only, and the copyright remains with the artist and/or creator. Please contact me if I have misappropriated an image or incorrectly credited it.


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