How would you define yourself?
Director of the Guild Architect Senior University Teacher at The University of Sheffield
Please describe yourself and your areas of interest.
I am an architect with many years experience in practice and in teaching. I am a passionate advocate for social engagement and the value of the arts in architectural education and practice. I lead The University of Sheffield School of Architecture’s Live Project programme where students work with community clients on real design projects that bring long-term benefits to local neighbourhoods and urban centres. I teach the value of engaging with local communities actively and creatively on site, often in collaboration with artists. Connecting architecture and site-specific art practice, my students works ‘in residence’, evolving socially and culturally-engaged design projects that act as catalysts for change. I am also Director of ‘Live Works’, Sheffield School of Architecture’s Urban Room in the city centre where students, researchers and local people can collaborate to explore the past, present and design the future of their city. I have collaborated closely with the Ruskin in Sheffield programme since 2014 and have found Ruskin’s ideas about education, craft and social justice to be incredibly relevant to contemporary challenges in architecture and the built environment.
Why did you become a Companion of the Guild?
Ruskin's ideas came alive for me when teaching architecture students in collaboration with the Ruskin in Sheffield programme. I have found that students connect readily with his insistence that we slow down, see carefully and connect wholeheartedly with the material world. In a digital, globalised world there is a yearning for community, personal connection and physical presence - and how we achieve this in our buildings, streets, town and city centres is one of our main challenges in architecture today. I find Ruskin gives us a wealth of ideas and provocations towards this endeavor.