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Helen Stratford

Dr Helen Stratford BA DipArch(Cantab) MA PhD ARB RIBA

Lecturer in Architecture


An artist and architect, my interdisciplinary feminist research practice blends methods from art, architecture, ethnography, performance and civic action to expand participation in architecture and urban design.
Since joining SHU I have led MArch Critical Studies and taught MArch design studio. I lecture and tutor on MArch Praxis, undergraduate Cultural Context and Professional Practice. Previously, I taught MA Urban Design, Architectural Design and MArch at Sheffield School of Architecture, including studio lead. I was External Examiner for MSc Architectural and Urban Design at ESALA and have led workshops at international institutions including Oslo National Academy of the Arts.


Trained and qualified in Architecture at the Universities of Sheffield and Cambridge, and Architecture and Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham, I have over 10 years teaching experience in Architecture and Urban Design at undergraduate and post graduate levels.
I gained a PhD from the University of Sheffield School of Architecture in 2021 entitled ‘Feminist Performative Architectures: making place in and with public space.’ The thesis developed performance-based methodologies that operate between theory and practice to generate new ideas of public space. Embedded in a long lineage of feminist situated and relational practice these creative methodologies explored and questioned the dynamic and unfolding relations between practice and the positionality of the researcher-practitioner.
My current research, starting from my lived experience of chronic pain, extends this feminist intersectional and multi-modal methodology by using the body’s experience of productivity and self-care to generate (auto)theories and understandings of “crip” constitutions of public space.
At SHU I am currently a researcher on several interdisciplinary projects exploring ecologies of care including infrastructures and more-than-human participation. This includes ‘This is Not a Park: Hybridising Urban Infrastructures’ and ‘Geospace’ a prototype digital tool, fostering negotiations of our relationship with landscape, in the context of biodiversity loss and climate crisis.
A practising artist, I have held residencies at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wysing Arts Centre, METAL, g39, Oriel Davies, Akademie Schloss Solitude and Center for Contemporary Arts: Celje Slovenia and my projects have been presented at Oslo Architecture Triennale, Kettles Yard: Cambridge; Floating University: Berlin; KTH: Stockholm; National Theatre, RIBA, Tate Modern, ICA: London; Škuc Gallery and P74: Ljubljana.
My background in Architecture includes working on award winning projects at leading practices in Cambridge and London, including Mole Architects, 5th Studio, Allies and Morrison and MacCormac Jamieson Prichard.


Department of the Natural and Built Environment

College of Social Sciences and Arts


MArch Architecture (Full-time, part-time and Degree Apprenticeship routes)
BSc Architecture
An interdisciplinary approach to teaching fostering a critically reflexive learning environment between research, teaching and socially engaged art, architecture and urban design practice; delivered to high standards reflected in student performance.

MArch Design Studio 4
MArch Critical Study
MArch Praxis 1
MArch Praxis 2
BSc Cultural Context 2
BSc Cultural Context 3
BSc Professional Practice


Research Assistant on ‘This is Not a Park: Hybridising Urban Infrastructures’ project funded by The British Academy Horizon-Europe-Pump-Priming-Collaboration-between-UK-and-EU-Partners. This research project will explore how cultural and spatial practitioners can become attendants of blue-green infrastructures in ways that support their ecological richness and enable their transformation to meet the intertwined challenges of climate crisis and social exclusion. The RA role has included high level research skills, conducting literature searches and preparing research summaries, including a review of European Green Deal and New Bauhaus objectives in relation to the project. Case Study development, alongside research governance obligations including preparation of ethics approval and data management documents
Researcher on 'Geospace' project, funded by Sheffield Hallam University. This project builds on the Geospace prototype idea (initially conceived in an internally funded project by SHU), developing a digital tool that allows people to learn about and negotiate their relationship with the landscapes they live, work and play in, in the context of biodiversity loss and climate crisis. The project will be developed through two engagement events held on site and surroundings of at Langsett Barn and reservoir, that use participatory creative practice methods to bring key stakeholders together. The RA role will include literature searches, research governance obligations and helping facilitate the engagement events.
I am a socially engaged artist and architect. Working with performative workshops, site-specific interventions, video, speculative writing, and discursive platforms, which often deploy humour and parody, my practice searches for modalities that expand architectural conventions to challenge spatial prejudices produced at the intersections of social, cultural, economic and political relations. Informed by my lived experience of chronic pain, I am currently exploring crip time (en)counters with public space. This involves working with The DisOrdinary Architecture Project as workshop lead and facilitator for projects including ‘Seats and the Table’ Co-designing Equity in the Public Realm project for London Festival of Architecture 2023.

Other activities

Founder member of taking place feminist collective exploring feminist spatial practice and member of Designing on Crip Time, a network of international artists/designers who identify as disabled, sick and chronically ill, exploring normative design as eugenics in practice. Former Director Trustee and current artist at Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination developing Child-led learning through projects based within primary and secondary schools across the UK.

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