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a PhD in live projects and architectural education

AJ: Glasgow students told ‘not to come back’ after summer break

The AJ is dropping off my radar (perhaps because I’ve ditched Twitter?) so I apologise for being more than a week late on this one…

Glasgow students told ‘not to come back’ after summer break
24 April, 2009 | By Ren Deakin
Source: http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/daily-news/glasgow-students-told-not-to-come-back-after-summer-break/5200879.article

Third-year students at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, have been told to ‘do anything, but don’t come back here’ after this year’s summer break Among the suggestions offered by the school of architecture was for students to teach surfing in Australia.

Many Part One students had been hoping to continue with their studies at the university after being unable to find year-out work experience placements due to the impact of the credit crunch on practices.

However, the university told students that if a significant number decided to stay on it would put pressure on resources. It proposed they look at filling their year any way they can.

One of the students, who had attended an informal meeting held by staff for year-three and year-five students, said. ‘It was a feeling of disillusionment. People interpreted it as a “Don’t come back” message.’

Head of Strathclyde University’s school of architecture Gordon Murray felt that the actions were justified and that taking time out would ‘better equip’ students for their fourth year. He said: ‘We advised against returning in the case of year three.

‘All schools recognise, with evidence to back it up, that students who spend time out after year three – gaining life experiences – return as better students and improved in themselves.’

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BD: Applications for architecture degrees rocket

I wasn’t surprised to read this report, although I can’t help wondering what longer term impact the recession will have on architectural education. I’m more concerned about the numbers of lesser experienced part one or part two graduates now entering a barren jobs market.

BD magazine: Applications for architecture degrees rocket

8 February, 2009

By Anna Winston

The number of students applying to study architecture at undergraduate level has rocketed by almost 2000 in a year despite the onset of the recession.

A snapshot of applications taken by UCAS this month showed 24,126 prospective students have applied to study architecture, up by 6.7% compared to last year.

The rise in applications was given a cautious welcome by the RIBA and heads of schools body Schosa, who warned there could be problems ahead for those choosing to pursue parts two and three.

“This is good news – a little flame in the recession,” Robert Mull, chair of Schosa said.

“Often recessions are very creative times for architectural thought in schools of architecture. A lot of the intellectual spade-work gets done during these periods so it’s not surprising that people wish to return to or start education.”

[my emphasis]

The UCAS statistics also showed that applications to planning degrees have dropped by 18.7% to 2,985 while the number of applications to building degrees dropped 7.6%.

“That needs to be looked at because there’s a desperate need for more planners,” said Paul Davis, chairman of Paul Davis and Partners and former president of the ACA. “Maybe [architecture and planning] could balance their intakes a bit better if they combined.”

Despite the best intentions of those institutions offering dual honours degrees in architecture and planning, a real step change would be required for the two disciplines to ‘combine’.

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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.


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