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a PhD in live projects and architectural education

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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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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Academic opportunities in architecture at QUB

We have four openings in the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering which you may be interested in. Click on the links for more information. Applications close on 7 October.

Lecturer in Architecture Design

Lecturer in Architectural Technology or Construction Management

Senior Teaching Fellow in Construction Management

Senior Teaching Fellow (0.5FTE) in Professional Studies

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Live Projects 2011: a colloquium

On 25 March we had the pleasure of welcoming some twenty-five delegates from thirteen schools of architecture across Britain and Ireland to Live Projects 2011, a colloquium at Queen’s University Belfast. With the  support and guidance of our steering committee partners (Anne Markey of London Metropolitan University and Rosie Parnell of the University of Sheffield) Ruth Morrow and I had received significant financial support from the Centre for Education in the Built Environment (CEBE) in the form of an Innovative Projects in Learning and Teaching grant to make the event possible.

The intent of the colloquium was to build upon research into live projects in architectural education currently being undertaken at QUB, inviting participation from live project practitioners and academics from across Britain and Ireland through the presentation and discussion of live project practice and research. On the morning of the one day event we were delighted to host seven excellent presentations.

Martin Andrews and Francis Graves of Portsmouth School of Architecture spoke first, co-presenting Live Projects at the Portsmouth School of Architecture: A Critical Review, which provided an excellent insight into the work of the students and project office at that school. It also asked with some aspiration what role project offices might have at a city-wide level. Sandra Denicke-Polcher of London Metropolitan University had been due to present a review (co-written with Torange Khonsari) of the live projects programme at that school, but was delayed en route to the airport and missed her flight. With some last minute jimmying we were able to improvise a Skype connection and Sandra presented remotely, discussing a live project programme that explicitly seeks to contradict and interrogate some of the very assessment criteria that the ARB and RIBA apply to schools of architecture. Sandra spoke with some insight about how live projects could be used to extend the traditional role of the architect towards a more positive contribution to society.

Speaking with the background of another school that now has more than decade’s worth of experience in live projects, Carolyn Butterworth presented Liveness: building on 13 years of Live Projects at the University of Sheffield. Carolyn placed participation at the heart of live project teaching and learning, and therefore used it as the key to developing a theory and critical framework for live projects. Carolyn went on to explore the work of Philip Auslander’s theories of performance to suggest that live or real projects offer a place for criticality not located in the real world. Live art was also suggested as a framing device in which we can experiment with alternative practices.

After a brief pause for refreshments, Prof. Murray Fraser introduced Yara Sharif, both from the University of Westminster, to describe the ‘Palestine Regeneration Team’ (PART), a co-operation with RIWAQ. This area is the focus of Yara’s doctoral research, and presented a series of live interventions in a highly charged political landscape.

Jane Anderson of Oxford Brookes University presented a paper entitled OB1 LIVE: an Agent for Architectural Education and Practice (co-written with Oxford Brookes colleague Colin Priest) that described live project activities in first year of architecture and interior architecture at their school. Anderson and Priest proposed John Hejduk’s nine-square problem as a means of introducing architectural practice to early students, one that could “teach students to imagine and act simultaneously.”

Rachel Sara, of the University of the West of England, presented Learning from Life – exploring the potential of live projects in higher education, locating live projects between the either/or binaries of education, such as theory/practice, designing/making, and student/professional. It also challenged the preconception of study as an isolated singular activity as opposed to work as being a collective and social activity. Finally of the morning papers, Alan Chandler of the University of East London spoke about risk in architectural education and practice, notably how RIBA Part III qualification measures success based on the avoidance of risk. Alan suggested that the risk assessment could become a creative tool.

The morning concluded with an open discussion between the speakers and the delegates of the floor.

After lunch I had the (nervous) pleasure of presenting some of my own research to the delegates, before Rosie Parnell took the helm and we divided into focused groups for a workshop session to develop the themes of the morning. These centered on the largest or most contentious branches of a mindmap that was drawn live on screen (click on the image for larger image).

These workshop groups developed themes that, along with some of the papers presented in the morning, will be discussed at greater length in a forthcoming special themed issue of the Journal of Education in the Built Environment (JEBE) which will disseminate the proceedings of Live Projects 2011.

The day closed with presentation from invited keynote speaker Professor Ashraf Salama of Qatar University. Prior to his appointment at Qatar, Ashraf was briefly my second supervisor, and we were delighted to welcome him back to Belfast to present them possible avenues for the theorising of live projects. Professor Salama is an acknowledged and widely published expert on the field of architectural education, and he was able to conclude the day with some very helpful directions to existing theoretical frameworks that might inform those educators who currently or aspire to use live projects in architectural education.

We are especially grateful to Qatar University for enabling Prof. Salama to attend Live Projects 2011. Sincere thanks are due to all our delegates for coming to Belfast and participating with such interest and engagement, especially those who presented such concise and well developed papers. We look forward to continuing our relationship with them as we work towards the themed issue of JEBE.

A longer and more detailed report of the colloquium will be submitted in due course to CEBE, and will be available for download.

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Things

In the manner of the insanely beautiful but highly distracting Things Magazine, it behoves me to offer my loyal readers something of a disjointed update on what’s going on, and why I’m not telling you more about it here. For regular 140 character updates, you can now follow me on Twitter.

1 April 2011 will mark the beginning of my third and final funded year of PhD studies. I’m aiming to complete a draft of thesis chapter three, which discusses pedagogical theories appropriate to architectural education and live projects this month. Ruth and I have also been invited to co-write a chapter for a very exciting forthcoming book, but have a very tight deadline.

As you may know, in October we will be hosting the 2011 Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA) International Conference, Peripheries 2011. Earlier this week I joined the organising committee to sort through the abstracts we’ve received for them to be distributed for double blind reviewing by our scientific committee. The standard of abstracts is very high, and 21 countries are represented.

On 7 March the 2011 Street Society begins, bringing our first and fifth year students of architecture together for a one week live project, working with eight clients outside the school of architecture. I’m delighted to be working with all of the client groups and look forward to bringing two of our more segregated year groups for the week. The Ulster Museum have also generously donated their refurbished lecture theatre for the end of project presentations on Friday 11 March.

On 25 March, we welcome speakers from eight schools of architecture for a CEBE-supported one day colloquium, called Live Projects 2011. Registration is completely free, and open for a few more days here. If you need help finding affordable travel to Belfast, I’ve compiled everything you need here.

Finally, I’m delighted to announce that Amanda and I are engaged. Planning a wedding is naturally the perfect compliment to completing a PhD.

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PhD Opportunities in architecture at QUB

I forgot to post this last week, but there’s still plenty of time to consider. The Centre for Built Environment Research (CBER) cluster – of which I am a member – at the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering (SPACE) here at QUB has a range of PhD opportunities for a 2011 start. Eleven interdisciplinary subjects have been selected for funding, and in addition there are four broad themes that propose research under the guidance of academic staff. For more information on all the opportunities, click:

www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CenterforBuiltEnvironmentResearch/Research/ResearchOpportunities/PhDOpportunities2011/Interdisciplinaryprojectsselectedforfunding/

Might I draw your attention in particular to:

A8.      Architecture and Education

Architecture and Education is a rich area to investigate not only since architectural education is still a relatively under theorised and critiqued area but also because it bears close witness to the nature of practice; its strengths and weaknesses. Research in this area may enquire into the historical context of architectural education, the surrounding context of other related disciplines or at new educational models or drivers for change in architectural education and hence practice. Many questions and challenges face contemporary architectural education not least its position within the academy and its relationship to practice.

Supervisor: Professor Ruth Morrow

A9.    Prefabrication and craft

This research area looks to investigate such issues as the potential overlaps between prefabrication and craft, how digitalized prefabrication may or may not open new opportunities for specificity and detail to evolve and whether this then echoes and/or extends traditional definitions of craft in architecture. There is also the opportunity within this area to consider architectural components, their design and manufacture; and how they in turn inform, define and refine architectural quality and human interface with the resultant spaces. Certain aspects of this research may necessitate the investigators to establish contact with the construction industry both locally and internationally.

Supervisors: Professor Ruth Morrow & Professor Michael McGarry

A10.    Non-metropolitan architectures

This research area raises such questions as the following. What is it to practice architecture in non-metropolitan cultures and/or locations? What are the theoretical and typological influences on the built realm in rural areas? What impact do access to and the nature of resources, both the physical and human, have on the process and built form? Have such issues differed historically and do they differ currently from metropolitan areas? Are urban forms and spatial configurations (e.g. in cultural, commercial or public buildings) appropriate to rural (non-urban areas)? Finally, what lessons can be learnt from non-metropolitan practice that bears relevance to urban practices?

Supervisors: Professor Ruth Morrow & Dr. Sarah Lappin

A11.    Architecture as discipline or practice?

This area of research may investigate such questions as the following. Where can a line be drawn between architecture as a profession and architecture as a discipline? What is the nature and extent of the relationship between the study and the practice of architecture? What knowledge, skills and values are aligned to the discipline and the practice, and which of these are best delivered within the abstract learning environment of the academy in comparison to the situated learning of practice? Within this context, also sit the influence of architectural research and how it speaks to the discipline and the profession (education and practice). Identifying and mapping existing case studies where the interface between practice based learning and university base learning is more interrelated and mutually responsive to the strengths and opportunities of each context.

Supervisors: Professor Ruth Morrow & Keith McAllister

A12.    The market for architecture

The area of research investigates the age-old relationship of practice to money. To what extent architecture currently sits outside traditional financial determinants of product client relationships? Considering and defining the multiple natures of the architectural ‘product’ – (process/service?), evidence of its consumption and the customer profile. Whether the market ever constructively informs the form and nature of the product? Case studies of architectural practice that manipulates or creates markets; perhaps also identifying practices that sit across disciplines and hence markets; or those which move from a position of professional services, dependent on external resources, to one that brokers potential funding sources, hybrid forms of architectural programmes and non-traditional clients.

Supervisor: Professor Ruth Morrow

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AHRA QUB Peripheries 2011

The deadlines for the call for papers (15 February) and short films (updated: 15 March) for the AHRA QUB Peripheries 2011 conference is approaching. Meanwhile, we’ve launched a dedicated Peripheries 2011 Twitter feed, which will remind you of deadlines and bring you news, updates, and accommodation and travel tips up until the conference in October.

Follow @Peripheries2011

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Field Clegg Bradley to design £250m UU city centre campus

A landmark development for Belfast City Centre, announced in today’s BD

Feilden Clegg Bradley wins biggest ever job
28 January 2011 | By David Rogers

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has landed the biggest scheme in its history after wrapping up a £250 million deal to design a university campus in Northern Ireland.

The job, for Ulster University, is three times bigger than the 33-year-old firm’s previous largest, the £80 million Accordia development which in 2008 became the first housing scheme to win the Stirling Prize.

The university is moving the majority of its out-of-town campus onto a site known as the Cathedral Quarter in the middle of Belfast, and wants it to open in time for the start of the academic year in 2018. The rundown space earmarked for the 80,000sq m development is currently occupied by a car park and office blocks.

Such is the scale of the project that the practice plans to open a permanent office in Belfast to cope with the work. Senior partner Keith Bradley said: “We told the university we would open an office in Belfast and we’re hoping to do that by early summer.”

Bradley said up to 20 staff at the office – its third after Bath and London – would work on the project, and he expects the firm, which currently employs around 140 staff, to begin recruiting later this year.

Ulster University vice-chancellor Richard Barnett said: “The plan will transform the Cathedral Quarter and surrounding areas into a dynamic educational, cultural and creative destination.”

Continues: http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/feilden-clegg-bradley-wins-biggest-ever-job/5012391.article

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PhD opportunities at Sonic Arts Research Centre, QUB

Interested in music and fancy doing a PhD at Queen’s? The Sonic Arts Research Centre are accepting applications for entry in the 2011/12 academic year until 1 March 2011 in the fields of Musicology, Composition & Creative Practice, Sonic Arts (info here). You will also get to work in one of coolest buildings in Belfast, SARC’s awesome Sonic Lab (specs) that’s pictured above.

If you’ve already started a PhD in that area elsewhere (and are maybe experiencing Sound Lab jealousy), don’t feel left out. The following call may also be of interest.

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

The Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) is calling for applications from doctoral students (at any stage of their research) with a music/sonic arts/performance background, in particular from those researchers with an interest in new technologies.

The course BIG EARS sonic art for public earsʼ runs from 14 – 16 April 2011 and will deliver training in communication skills, public engagement and will offer hands-on experiences for researchers in linking with an audience facilitated by Northern Ireland’s leading children’s arts organisation, Young at Art www.youngatart.co.uk.

On the final day (16 April 2011) PhD researchers will work closely with local children and will showcase the outcomes ! that were designed during the course. The showcase will be a public event to be staged at SARC, a cutting-edge space, geared towards new technological developments.

To apply for a place in the three day course please click here and fill out the application form or contact Franziska Schroederf.schroeder@qub.ac.uk for more information. Candidates are required to submit a 500 word statement and two references, the deadline for applications is 25 January 2011.

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Street Society 2011: call for proposals

In addition to the forthcoming Live Projects 2011 colloquium (of which you’re probably bored of reading by now), Belfast readers from within and outwith the architectural community may be interested to hear about the ongoing call for participation in the 2011 Street Society 2011 (pdf, text below). This will be the second year we’ve run this one week vertical live project between our first and fifth year students of architecture. We’re on the lookout for potential clients (community groups, organisations, charities etc) who would be interested in working with our students for one week in March.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS:
the 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 QUB, to work on a range of projects for clients.

It will run between Monday 7th and Friday 11th March 2011.

The Street Society is now looking for potential clients – external organisations, architects, built environment professionals, community organizations, charitable bodies 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.

Possible projects might include:

  • design proposals
  • consultations
  • exhibitions
  • installations
  • historical / theoretical research
  • research piloting
  • temporary constructions
  • material exploration
  • curated spatial events
  • post-occupancy evaluations

The Street society will be made up of 10-12 groups with a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate students in each. The postgraduate students will act as project managers and as contacts for each client.
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:

…no later than 12.00 midday, Wednesday 2 February 2011.

Project submissions will be reviewed and accepted on the basis of an overall coherence within the Street Society programme / aims and in terms of achievability of outcome within the five day time frame.

Applicants will be notified of their inclusion no later than Friday 11 February, and should be available to attend preparatory meetings and consultations on Friday 4 March.

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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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