I lead the humanities units in MSA, teaching in each year of the BA in Architecture as well as 5th Year of MArch. Humanities at MSA are designed to give students the opportunity to both gain a grounding in the discipline of architecture and to pursue their own interests; we aim to help you to learn research skills in order to develop these interests with rigour. Humanities encompasses architectural history and theory alongside other related fields such as philosophy, art, and the social sciences. We are committed to a cross-disciplinary approach in architecture, drawing out the interconnectedness of the built environment. We are committed to the process of decolonising our curriculum in humanities; for too long, architectural pedagogy has been focused on wealthy, white, male perspectives, and our aim is to de-centre this perspective, to reconsider the ‘canon’ in architecture as a more open construct. We can understand architecture differently by being more inclusive.
In BA1, I teach Architectural Histories and Thinking Through Drawing, both ways of reconsidering architectural history - firstly through thematic lectures cutting across architectural history in different ways; secondly through the discussion of architectural drawing itself and using drawing to explore history. In BA2, I teach Writing the City where we engage with architectural theory through discussions of urban contexts. The wider responsibilities of architecture and architects are placed under scrutiny as a way of navigating architectural theory. In BA3, I lead an elective in The Anthropology of Home where methods of Graphic Anthropology are used to deconstruct the most familiar spaces alongside theories and concepts from the social sciences.
In MArch, I teach in both Research Methods and Dissertations. For the RM1 workshop, I continue to present Filmic Architecture, where the relationship between cinema and the built environment is explored through a series of guided studio tasks towards a design and short film. In the dissertation, I will be leading a group of students through topics related to Inscriptive Practices, investigating architectural drawing and similar ways of knowing.
Academic and professional qualifications
PhD in Social Anthropology (University of Aberdeen); Towards a Theory of Notation as a Thinking Tool. (Supervisor Prof. Tim Ingold, 2006).
MPhil by Research in Architecture (University of Strathclyde); Filmic Architecture: an exploration of film language as a method for architectural criticism and design. (Supervisor Prof. Per Kartvedt, 2002).
Senior Lecturer in Architectural Studies, University of Manchester (2014-2019).
Head of Architecture Department, University of Manchester (2015-2018).
Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Manchester Metropolitan University (2010-2014).
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cultures of Legibility (AHRC), University of Edinburgh (PI: Prof Stephen Cairns & Prof William Mackaness, 2009).
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Multimodal Representation of Urban Space (AHRC/EPSRC Designing for the 21st Century), University of Strathclyde (PI: Prof Wolfgang Sonne, Prof Gordon Mair & Dr Ombretta Romice, 2007-2008).
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Inflecting Space: correlating the attributes of voice with the character of urban spaces (AHRC), University of Edinburgh (PI: Prof Richard Coyne & Prof Peter Nelson, 2005-2006).
Academic service (administration and management)
Head of Architecture Department, University of Manchester (2015-2018).
BA (Hons) in Architecture
Histories of Archtiecture (Coordinator)
Thinking Through Drawing (Course Leader)
Writing the City (Course Leader with Stephen Walker)
Anthropology of Home (Elective Leader)
MArch in Architecture
Research Methods 1 - Dissertation
I run a dissertation group on the topic of Inscriptive Practices.
This group will consider drawings and other inscriptive practices. The aim is to consider this essential part of architectural practice in an academic way. This includes studies of the drawings of others; working with your own drawing practices; or developing collaborative practices. What can it mean to draw?
Research Methods 2 - Workshops.
I lead the Filmic Architecture workshop in the MArch.
Filmic Architecture returns for it’s sixth iteration in 2020-21. This year, the workshop will encourage students to explore rather less conventional works of cinema for their assignments, examining the potential of works from outside of the mainstream of Euro-American film as analogues for thinking about architecture.
Students are asked to select a director/film-maker and to conduct a series of graphic experiments with the work. A series of tasks are set: reverse-engineer a storyboard from a selection of scenes; draw the plans of key locations; diagrams of montage and movement within the film, examinations of soundscape and narrative structure, questions of spectatorship and the pro-filmic event. Students are introduced to a wide range of film theories and practices, discussing the potential of narrative and characterisation in architecture as well as the overlaps between cinematic and architectural theories.
Students are asked to design a house for their director, and to make a short film of this house.
The theme for this year’s work is hapticity and embodiment: the extent to which cinema, with its audio-visual registers, can be said to excite the haptic senses, drawing on the work of Laura Marks, Katherine Shonefield, Steven Shaviro and Jennifer Barker.
Postgraduate supervision (completed/in progress)
Paul Cureton, 2010-2013: Drawing in Landscape Architecture: Fieldwork, Poetics, Methods, Translation and Representation. (First Supervisor).
Charalampos Politakis, 2010-2013: The Human Body as. Building: Architectural Colossi and their Metaphors. (Second Supervisor).
David Johnson, 2017- Architecture and the Thing Itself (First Supervisor at UoM, now Second Supervisor)
Osama Naim, 2017- Conceptual Thinking: Towards Efficient Interpretation in Interior Architecture (First Supervisor at UoM, now Second Supervisor)
Salma Soliman, 2018- The Push of Gravity: Designing for an Enhanced Human Body Movement (First Supervisor at UoM, now Second Supervisor)
External examiner roles
External examiner for the MA in Architecture at London Metropolitan University.
April 2005: Gestural Artefacts: Notations of a Daruma Doll. part of the group exhibition curated by Dr Wendy Gunn: ‘Fieldnotes and Sketchbooks: challenging the boundaries between descriptions and processes of describing.’ Aberdeen Art Gallery.
April 2005: Digital Weavings and Narratives of Learning. Contributor to the group exhibition curated by Dr Wendy Gunn, Lighthouse Centre for Architecture, Glasgow.
June 2005: Getting Lost in Tokyo. Solo exhibition and research seminar. Centrespace Gallery, Visual Research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts.
June 2005: Notational Walk. Workshop for ‘Gangrel Bodies,’ curated by Jim Colquohoun Peacock Gallery, Aberdeen.
September - October 2005: Primary Source. Presentation of ‘Getting Lost in Tokyo’ as part of an exhibition of artists’ books, Warwick University Library exhibition room.
September 2006. Vocal Ikebana Sound installation featuring the work of the Inflecting Space AHRC project. Matthew Gallery, University of Edinburgh.
January 2008. Sensory Urbanism. Curatorship of exhibition related to conference. Architecture Gallery, University of Strathclyde.
September 2009. Cultures of Illegibility in Gotong Royong City: International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. Contributor and Sub-curator of Reciprocity Theme. NAi, Rotterdam.
June 2014. Graphic Anthropology of Namdaemun Market, Seoul with Morag Fyfe (photographer). Part of ‘Speculative Ground’ exhibition, ASA2014 Conference, University of Edinburgh.
October 2014. Extracts from a Graphic Anthropology of Namdaemun Market, Seoul. 8 original drawings exhibited as part of ‘Describing Architecture’ exhibition, City Assembly House & Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin. http://www.describingarchitecture.com
June 2015. A Taxonomy of Lines. Live drawing and exhibition of 24 original drawings exhibited as part of ‘Translating Entropy’ exhibition with anthropologist Jennifer Clarke. Gallery Turnaround, Sendai. http://turn-around.jp/sb/log/eid452.html
September 2015. Graphic Anthropology of Namdaemun Market, Seoul & Graphic Anthropology of Sanja Matsuri, Asakusa, Tokyo. 42 original drawings exhibited as part of group exhibition curated by Elizabeth Hodson for ‘Beyond Perception 15’ at SRAC Aberdeen.
May 2017a. A Graphic Anthropology of Sanja Matsuri, as part of 'The Unfinishing of Things’ curated by Marc Higgin, University of Aberdeen.
May 2017b. Bird Stair (after Walter Murch) Sound Installation alongside Liz Hallam's (University of Oxford) ‘Locked Rooms Experiment: a fast installation' at the Anatomy Rooms, Marischal College Aberdeen.
May 2017c. What is Architecture: 50 Years of 131 Rottenrow. One of 50 alumni of Strathclyde University’s school of architecture to celebrate 50 years of the department & building. Exhibition of student work alongside current projects. SWG3 Studio Warehouse, Glasgow.
September 2020. Illustrating Anthropology. Royal Institute for Anthropology. https://illustratinganthropology.com/ curated by Jennifer Cearns & Laura Haapio-Kirk.