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a PhD in live projects and architectural education

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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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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PhD opportunity in practice-based architectural research

Another excellent PhD opportunity has come across my desk this week. The deadline is very close, but the project is very appealing, with full funding and an excellent supervisor.

PhD Studentship – Architecture by Design

Newcastle University and the University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
Closing Date: 21st July 2011

The School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape is pleased to offer one funded studentship for a three-year PhD to begin in September 2011, to conduct practice-based research in architecture. It is an opportunity to conduct a PhD by design with the School’s Design Office research consultancy; to collaborate on – and construct a thesis around – a series of live and theoretical architectural projects in the Office, under the supervision of Professor Adam Sharr.

Value of the Award and Eligibility

The studentship attracts a bursary of £15,000 p.a. to cover fees and living costs for three years. International students are welcome to apply for this award, however, a successful non-EU applicant will therefore have a lower stipend for living costs because of their substantially higher fees.

The studentship carries an expectation that the student will work with the Design Office as part of their thesis studies.

Person Specification

Applicants are expected to have a background in architecture – a BArch or MArch (RIBA pt.2 or equivalent) is highly desirable – and the motivation to develop and complete a suitable PhD thesis.

(It is possible that the candidate might also be able to use their work in conjunction with the thesis and the Design Office towards a qualification at RIBA pt.3).

How to Apply

You do not at this stage need to apply through the University’s online postgraduate application form.

Applications should include a covering letter, a brief, edited portfolio of design work, a statement of research interests, a CV and the names of two academic referees.

Applications should be submitted by e-mail to Marian Kyte, Postgraduate Research Secretary (marian.kyte <—at—> ncl.ac.uk). Please indicate clearly the reference number “APL10” in your letter/email header.

Closing date for applications: Thursday 21 July 2011.

For further details, please contact Professor Adam Sharr, adam.sharr <—at—> ncl.ac.uk

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PhD Opportunity in community led design at the University of Sheffield

This just in, another great opportunity to undertake fully funded research in collaborative design. Not only a great sounding brief, also a great partnership, and (as my alma mater) I’m obliged to point out a wonderful city to live and work in.

Glass-House and University of Sheffield AHRC Collaborative PhD Studentship in community led design
3 Jun 2011

Great news! The Glass-House and Bureau – Design + Research (a research unit within the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield) have been successful in securing an Arts and Humanities Research Council (www.ahrc.ac.uk) funded Collaborative Doctoral Award. The topic of this research will be community led design. It will investigate, within the context of community involvement in the design process across the UK and Europe, the practice and projects of The Glass-House since its inception.

The award:

  • funds the UK/EU tuition fees and a maintenance stipend of approx. £14k for one person to undertake a 3 year PhD
  • both the University of Sheffield and The Glass-House will oversee the research collaboratively

What we are looking for:

A person with a passion for community inclusion in the design process. The candidate could come from a range of fields – you might be a sociologist, an architect, urban designer, a cultural geographer, or have other knowledge and experience.

You will be creative and passionate about the future, as well as the history and impact of, community led design, and feel that this is the right time for you to commit to the research over the next couple of years

Now more than ever, with the ‘Localism’ Bill currently going through parliament, communities are potentially being given the opportunity to play an active role in the physical and social regeneration of their neighbourhoods. However, far too many development and regeneration projects still fail to really include the community or develop an effective brief that draws on the aspirations and potential of local people.

It is now well recognised that allowing the public to have a say in the shaping of their environment leads not only to better physical outcomes, but also to empowered communities that are active in enlivening and managing their regenerated places and spaces. Indirect benefits can also include increased employability, improved physical and mental health and more cohesive communities. Surprisingly, very little study into this field has been undertaken at this level.

The collaborating partners are keen that the research should produce a tangible resource to support design practitioners in their work with communities, as well as informing future policy and practice.

Application info:

If you are interested in applying for the PhD studentship please apply via the Postgraduate Application Form at http://www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply and mention in your application that you wish to apply for this project.

Applicants must be UK or EU citizens and be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom. Further information on eligibility requirements is available from the AHRC website (Annex A): http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/FundingOpportunities/Documents/GuidetoStudentFunding.pdf

If you have further questions about the area of research, please contact:

Prue Chiles at the University of Sheffield +44 (0)114 222 0312 p.chiles <—at—> sheffield.ac.uk

Rebecca Maguire at the Glass-House t: +44 (0)20 7490 4583 e: rebecca <—at—> theglasshouse.org.uk

Deadline for applications 15th July with interviews at the end of July, with a view to beginning the studentship on 1st October.

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AHRA 2011: Peripheries – call for papers

Save the dates, and we hope to welcome you to Belfast in October.

Call for Papers

PERIPHERIES
27-29 October 2011

Architectural Humanities Research Association Conference 2011
School of Planning, Architecture & Civil Engineering (SPACE)
Queen’s University Belfast

Peripheries are increasingly considered in contemporary culture, research and practice. This shift in focus challenges the idea that the centre primarily influences the periphery, giving way to an understanding of reciprocal influences. These principles have permeated into a wide range of areas of study and practice, transforming the way we approach research and spatio-temporal relations.

The 2011 AHRA Queen’s Belfast Peripheries conference will invite discussion via papers and short films on the multiple aspects periphery represents — temporal, spatial, intellectual, technological, cultural, pedagogical and political – with, as a foundation for development, the following themes:

  • Peripheral practices
  • Practice-based research
  • Urban peripheries
  • Non-metropolitan contexts
  • Peripheral positions

From these themes might arise a series of questions:

  • How do notions of periphery and proximity impact on the construction of cultural memory?
  • Is globalization facilitating the inclusiveness of peripheries or denying their local value to favour the centre?
  • How does architecture respond to the challenges of temporal peripheries in varying historical, spatial and political contexts
  • Does being on the edge heighten or transform architectural practice?
  • What infrastructure is required for peripheral positions to exist? How are peripheries networked to one another and to centres?
  • Can architecture support peripheral populations, and can these voices offer critique of architectural practice?
  • How does interdisciplinarity — the communication between perceived peripheral disciplines — affect architectural practice?
  • What are the shifting boundaries of alternative or peripheral currents of education, research and practice? Do architecture schools recognize the importance of peripheral subjects in their teaching?

Queen’s University’s School of Planning Architecture and Civil Engineering operates within a context of an increasingly non-metropolitan society, on an island of rural communities resistant to normative patterns of urbanisation. The culture, economies, politics and social networks in Ireland are often perceived as “on the edge of Europe”; it is a place of experimentation, translation and evolution.

Belfast is thus an ideal setting in which to pose questions of periphery: it is a city in simultaneous states of flux with multiple political and social reiterations and repositionings. In a city where extremism was once the norm, there is much to ask about how to moderate and manage the tensions and potentials that exist between the edge and the centre.

Timetable

  • abstracts of papers (500 words) and digital video (5-8 minutes in length:) 15 February 2011
  • notification of acceptance: 15 April 2011
  • registration open: 1 June 2011
  • submission of summary paper based on abstract (1000-2000 words) or film: 1 August 2011
  • categories/sessions determined and session chairs chosen: 1 September 2011
  • chairs of sessions distribute expanded abstracts/films to co-session paper presenters; all chairs and paper presenters asked to provide structured feedback/reflection on session papers: 1 October 2011

Submissions and registration via conference website: http://www.qub.ac.uk/peripheries2011

Contact peripheries@qub.ac.uk with any questions.

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Common Grounds 2011: four days to go

I’m very excited to that Common Grounds: exploring methodologies for research within or research about architecture and the built environment is very nearly upon us.

Last year Anna Holder and I caught up at symposium in Manchester and bemoaned the trials and tribulations of all matters methodological in our PhD studies. So we decided to do something about it that would be proactive and fun. The result is this, a two day winter colloquium for post-graduate students and early career researchers on methodologies for researching architecture and the built environment. It’ll be happeningin the Anwyl Room at St. Deiniolʼs Library, Clwyd on Friday 14 & Saturday 15 January 2011. Common Grounds proposes a weekend away from the university to present, discuss and constructively critique research-in-progress.

The intent of Common Grounds is to nurture an informal student-led research colloquium dedicated to that most tricky aspect of research: method. It’s been our experience of architectural education that too many students of architecture avoid or consciously postpone any engagement of technical, structural or detailed design in their studio projects. It’s a fear of the unknown, the hard-to-grasp unknown skills that are best learnt through real experience. In our PhDs, we’ve had precious little structured introduction or discussion of actual research method and methodology.

The deadline for abstracts is long gone, but perhaps if you missed it or haven’t found out about the event until now, there might be a chance we can squeeze you in. Head to the Common Grounds webpage and drop us an email. Accommodation at the library is now limited, but we hope we can see you there.

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Common Grounds: 14 & 15 January 2011

On Friday morning, at the AHRA Postgraduate Research Symposium hosted by the University of Sheffield, Anna Holder and I launched the call for participation for Common Grounds: exploring methodologies for research within or research about architecture and the built environment

This two day winter colloquium for post-graduate students and early career researchers on methodologies for researching architecture and the built environment will take place at St. Deiniolʼs Library, Clwyd on Friday 14 & Saturday 15 January 2011.

Doing research on or in the field of architecture can feel like a methodological free-for-all, borrowing from the arts, humanities, physical sciences, social sciences etc. Conscious of the difficulties facing early career researchers in the built environment (who may not feel they have received adequate training in this area) Common Grounds proposes a weekend away from the university to present, discuss and constructively critique research-in- progress. This event will focus on developing thematic clusters and working relationships to support research in the field of architecture.

Early-career researchers in any discipline with an interest in architectural research are invited to submit:

  • a 100 word introduction to your topic and key questions
  • a 200 word abstract describing your current / proposed research methodologies
  • a brief statement of what you would like to get out of this event

Timeline:

  • Call for papers: 22 October 2010
  • Deadline for submissions: 26 November 2010
  • Programme announced: 10 December 2010

On the Friday attendees will be invited to present an informal 20 minute paper specifically discussing their research approach and methodology. Time will be allocated for detailed discussion and feedback. Submissions are particularly invited from researchers who have are still developing their research questions and approaches. Informal conversations may continue over dinner and perhaps onwards to a local hostelry. Based on the outcomes of the previous dayʼs presentations, on the Saturday we will collectively design structured workshops to consolidate and develop methodological themes.

The intent of Common Grounds is to nurture an informal student-led research colloquium dedicated to that most tricky aspect of research: method. It’s been our experience of architectural education that too many students of architecture avoid or consciously postpone any engagement of technical, structural or detailed design in their studio projects. It’s a fear of the unknown, the hard-to-grasp unknown skills that are best learnt through real experience. In our PhDs, we’ve had precious little structured introduction or discussion of actual research method and methodology.

So let’s make a date. Come to North Wales for the weekend and tells us about your research, regardless of whether or not you are decided on research method or methodologies. We’ve booked a meeting room and plan to let the conversation flow. St. Deiniol’s is a fascinating venue, and very easy to access by road or rail. We very much hope to see you there.

Everything you need to know about submitting and participating is on the Common Grounds blog: http://exploringcommongrounds.wordpress.com/

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In Manchester

Last time I was in Manchester, I got (metaphorically) legless at a wedding. This time,  a few days later, it seems a Mancunian has become legless (completely unmetaphorically) before a wedding. Tragic.

I’m in town at The Manchester Architecture Research Centre‘s Politics of Design conference for the next two days. Assorted ruminations due shortly.

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Seminar: mediating reality: live projects and architectural education

Oops. Not too hot on the self-promotion here. As part of my duties to CBER, my research cluster at Queen’s, I’ll be delivering a seminar on my research tomorrow afternoon (Friday 11 June) at 15h00 in Seminar Room 2 of the David Keir Building. It’ll be a nice gentle meander through ’til four o’clock which, depending on your outlook, could be an acceptable Friday evening going-home-time.

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Congratulations RM & TB

While my supervisor is out of town on other business, I will ignore her modesty and draw your attention to this news item:

Entrepreneurs win prize for best local innovation
By Symon Ross Monday
Belfast Telegraph, 28 September 2009

Two female entrepreneurs have cemented their place among the leading innovative businesses in Northern Ireland by taking home the top prize in the Northern Ireland Science Park’s competition to find the province’s “next big thing”.

Tactility Factory, founded by Ruth Morrow and Trish Belford, edged out nine rival competitors to win the NISP CONNECT £25k Award.

They took home a £10,000 cheque for their patented technology designed to combine textile design with hard building materials such as concrete.

The concept is expected to have implications for building construction and received credit from the judges for combining Northern Ireland’s textiles heritage with building product design.

Trish Belford said: “Competing for this award benefited our business thinking and has given us great insight into the potential of our business on a global scale.

“This award has greatly boosted our prospects to commercialise our product and go to market. In addition to this, the icing on the cake is receiving a significant financial prize which will provide vital capital at this time enabling us to take advantage of the opportunities that are now presenting themselves.”

Steve Orr, director of NISP Connect, said the awards had uncovered local talent with innovative ideas and inspiring ambitions.

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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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