Helen Stratford

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

Senior 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, MArch Praxis and taught MArch design studio. I lecture and tutor on 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. I am currently an advisory board member and an artist for The DisOrdinary Architecture project.


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. www.helenstratford.co.uk. 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.


Books (in print)

H. Stratford, Lawrence Bradby (2018) The Day of the Duck

Marmalade publishers of visual theory London

H. Stratford, Lawrence Bradby (2009) Mechanical Operations in Cambourne

Marmalade publishers of visual theory London

Chapters (in print)

H. Stratford, (2022) ‘The Day of the Duck’ in Frichot, H., Frykholm, H.,

Carbonell Rabassa, A. and Karami, S. (eds) Infrastructural Love: Caring for our

Architectural Support Systems (Basel: Birkhäuser).

This chapter builds on feminist, posthuman, ecological and multispecies perspectives, to

examine how contested occupations of public space by ‘wild’ animals point towards fundamental

ecological, ethical and political questions about how we relate to nature in urban environments.

H. Stratford (2021) ‘Collective Performing’ in Lovšin P. (ed) Movement for Public Speech

(Ljubljana: Museum and Galleries of City of Ljubljana).

This chapter examines in what way a public art project offers ways to generate a new ‘between’

of languages and bodies in which the agency of public space itself might also be brought into the discussion and questioned.


H. Stratford, D. Wesser (2021) ‘The Space(s) Between Us’ in Natalie, D. and Deck, J. (eds) Odyssee : Heimat (Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag)
H. Stratford (2016) ‘Market Meditations’ in Samuel, F. and Dye A. (eds) Demystifying Architectural Research (London: RIBA Publishing)

H. Stratford (2010) ‘In Between House and Home’ in V. Darian (ed) Verhaktene Beredsamkeit? Politik, Pathos und Philosophie der Geste (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang)

H. Stratford (2007) ‘Micro-Strategies of Resistance’ in Petrescu, D. (ed) Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space (London: Routledge)

H. Stratford (2006) ‘Unpleasant Matters’ in Lloyd Thomas, K. (ed) Material Matters: Materiality in Architectural Practice & Theory (London: Routledge)

H. Stratford (2002) ‘Collective Assemblages’ in Rugg, J. & Hinchcliffe, D. (eds) Recoveries and Reclamations (Bristol: Intellect Books)

Refereed Journals (in print)

Was (is) taking place a nomadic practice?’ (2017) T. Hoskyns and H. Stratford in Styles of Queer Feminist Practices and Objects in Architecture special issue of Architecture & Culture Vol 5:3, pp 407-421

‘Taking Place 8: Interstitial Breakfast’ (2017) T. Hoskyns, K. Lloyd Thomas, J. Boys, J. Dwyer and H. Stratford Field volume 7, issue 1 (November 2017), pp.117-127

‘Form-Trans-Inform: The Poetic Resistance in Architecture’(2008) H. Stratford,

D. Petrescu and C. Petcou in ARQ, Vol. 12/2, 2008, pp.149-158

‘Micro-Strategies of Resistance’ (2002) H. Stratford in Resources for Feminist Research / Documentation sur la Recherche Féministe, Fall/Winter

‘Enclaves of Expression: Resistance by Young Architects to the Physical and Psychological Control of Expression in Romania during the 1980s’ (2001) H. Stratford Journal of Architectural Education Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 218-228

Non-Refereed Abstracts, Reports and Other Publications (in print)


‘What is taking place?’ (2008) B. McLeer, K. Lloyd Thomas, H. Stratford and other voices in Feminism is on the Agenda, Public Works Fanzine

‘Performing with Buildings: A review of the work of Diana Wesser’ (2007) H. Stratford

Journal of Media Practice 8, Intellect Books

‘taking place 2’ (2002) Scroope 14 Cambridge Architecture Journal

Artists Pages

‘Incline/Recline/Decline’ (2022) I Nathan and Stratford, H. in The Walkbook: Recipes for walking & Wellbeing curated by Hind, C., Heddon, D., O’Neill, M., Qualmann, C., Rose, M., Wilson, H. and Wright, C. Part of the larger research project, ‘Walking Publics/Walking Arts: walking, wellbeing and community during COVID-19’ (www.walkcreate.org) with partners University of Glasgow, University College Cork, University of East London and University of Liverpool. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of its COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund AH/V01515X/1.  https://walkcreate.gla.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/THE-WALKBOOK.pdf

‘Play The City Now or Never!’ (2017) I. Nathan and H. Stratford in The Power of Play: Voices from the Play Community CounterPlay, (Arhus, Denmark).

‘Market Meditations’ (2016) H. Stratford in A Dialogue between Art & Protest, PLANK Technique of Art & Protest Zine

‘Play The City Now or Never!’ (2015) I. Nathan and H. Stratford in

Ways to Wander book Hind C. & Qualmann C. (eds) Triarchy Press

‘U-Spy Deterrent Survey’ (2013) H. Stratford in Paper Stages book Forest Fringe

‘Believers walk right in and take your seat’ (2013) H. Stratford in Artists Cookbook book New Work Network

‘Walking Through Walls’ (2013) H. Stratford and D. Wesser in publication of the festival ‘play!LEIPZIG Dance Archive Leipzig

‘Fissures in the Harbour of Knowledge’ (2013) H. Stratford and D. Wesser

(Ed. Ruhr University Bochum)

‘Mechanical Operations: Repetitive Actions as a Creative Force in New English

Settlements’ (2010) H. Stratford and L. Bradby in Surface, YH485 Press

‘Displacings’ and ‘Technologies of Place’ (2007) H. Stratford in Was Machen Sie Dort am

Schloss? Jahrbuch 8, merz&solitude, Stuttgart

Exhibitions and Catalogues

Solo Exhibitions

2019     The Day of the Duck RIBA Bookshop London

2018     Organisational Diagrams for Everyday Life Transitions17 Saabat Gallery, Middlesbrough

2016     Organisational Diagrams for Everyday Life Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Wales

2015     Demolition Mood Board Exchange Place Studios, Yorkshire Artspace, Sheffield

The First International Survey On Bird Deterrence: Sheffield, The World Outside SIA, Sheffield

2014     Market Meditations Celje Center for Contemporary Arts (SI)

Things To Do With Shopping Centres solo installation, Smiths Row Gallery, Bury St Edmunds.

2012     A Day with A Duck solo curated gallery presentation, Babylon Gallery Ely

2005     Displacings exhibition, Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (DE)

2004     Extended Thresholds one-day taxi residency followed by 6-week solo installation

Group Exhibitions

2020     Organisational Diagrams for Everyday Life Bloc Projects Members Show Bloc Projects, Sheffield

2019     The Day of the Duck The Cambridge Show, Kettle’s Yard Gallery, Cambridge

Organisational Diagrams for Everyday Life

Oslo Architecture Triennale – Enough! The Architecture of Degrowth

2017     Play Cambridge Now or Never! installation/interactive app

with Idit Nathan and Cambridge Junction

Sock Night Nasty Women Cambridge Artspace, Cambridge

2016     Mechanical Operations in Cambourne and Portmanteau Ely

Imaginary Worlds Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown

Migration paths: Accompanying Items Europa Shop Show Transition Gallery, London

2016     Standardised Versions (Rubble) Bloc Billboard Commission with Craig Fisher

Sheffield Bloc Projects

Proposition #1 and Slab UNIT(e) group show g39 Gallery Cardiff

Mechanical Operations in Cambourne The Reading Room artists book show &

Migration paths: Accompanying ItemsPortmanteau Ely & Riverside Routines

One Place After Another Cambridge Artspace

Birdland Voids I’M Ten group show and auction, IMT Gallery, London

Standardised Versions (Rubble) with Craig Fisher

Variety Show I and XIII Primary Studios Nottingham and Aid & Abet, Cambridge

2014     Play the City Now or Never! The Walking Encyclopaedia group show with Idit Nathan AirSpace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent

2013    Portmanteau Ely and Play the City Now or Never! with Idit Nathan

Eastern Approaches open group show, UH galleries at Museum of St Albans

How to Sing in Public (sound installation) The Air of Songs

Celje Centre for Contemporary Arts Slovenia

Doing Donuts

How to Choose and Lay Sods

Mechanical Operations in Turf Management

Social Space Efficiency

A State of Unplay, Atelier 35, Bucharest, Romania

2012     Please Wait to Be Served (How to Perform a Café) visual arts commission Hunt&Darton Cafe

Intervals Film Screening at Hotbed, The Cambridge New Writing Theatre Festival

2011     Please Wait Here: Instructions for performing a queue for a pleasure pier train

Artside: Southend Pier installation

Manchester Blind Spots with Diana Wesser film screening at Exhibition


Murray Edwards College, Cambridge

2010     Manchester Blind Spots CUBEOpen

2010 Manchester Blind Spots with Diana Wesser Manchester CUBE Gallery

Wysing Arts Contemporary: Partnering group show with Diana Wesser

2009     Communities Under Construction group show, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge

2006     DiverCity group exhibition, Royal Institute of British Architects, Cambridge /London

2005     Musterwohnung group exhibition, Akademie Solitude, Stuttgart,

2004     Phantasmen group exhibition, Akademie Solitude

2000     Kettle’s Yard Open, Kettles Yard, Cambridge

1999     Royal Academy Summer Show

1996     Royal Academy Summer Show – special award for drawing

Other Media

Artists Pages and Reviews (online)

2015    Flora & Fauna Field Notes (bookwork) documenting Flora & Fauna Tours commission,Yorkshire Artspace


2015     Market Meditations reflection in The Instant Journal materials produced for and during PhD by Design satellite session at Leeds College of Art


2017     Alterlives The Remote Lab residency & online artworky, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, Northamptonshire

2014     How to Sing in Public JUST LIKE THIS annual online project, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, Northamptonshire

2014     ‘Horizon’ review of a choreographed walk by artist Caroline Wendling in a-n The Artists Information Company online journal  https://www.a-n.co.uk/reviews/horizon/

2013     ‘Digital Record of the inspection for review of Jasmina Cibic’s For Our Economy and Culture’ with P. Kosserek in a-n The Artists Information Company online journal


‘b-side Resonant Terrains symposium’ in a-n The Artists Information Company online journal  https://www.a-n.co.uk/reviews/b-side-resonant-terrains-symposium/

Reviews and Citations

Articles and websites reviewing or featuring my practice research

2019     ‘Helen Stratford and Lawrence Bradby: The Day of the Duck’ Blake Morris in Living Maps Review online journal  https://livingmaps.review/journal/index.php/LMR/article/view/184

2018     ‘Cut Your Nose Like Your Hair’ Play The City Now or Never! Mobile App, Helen Stratford and Idit Nathan Review by Jes Fernie in Art in the Public Sphere Vol 7 Number 1

‘Organisational Diagrams for Everyday Life’ review by Claire Harper in a-n The Artists Information Company online journal  https://www.a-n.co.uk/reviews/organisational-diagrams-for-everyday-life/

2018     ‘Artists’ Books 2018: 10 of the best, from irreverent fun to brutal heartbreak’ review of The Day of

the Duck by Sarah Bodman in in a-n The Artists Information Company online journal


‘Review: The Day of the Duck, by Helen Stratford and Lawrence Bradby’ Ewa Giera in The Norwich Radical online journal  https://thenorwichradical.com/2018/10/31/review-the-day-of-the-duck-by-helen-stratford-and-lawrence-bradby/

2017     ‘Market Town: Perimeter Perambulations’ LU Arts RADAR Loughborough University  https://radarmarkettown.wordpress.com/2015/10/17/market-town-perimeter-perambulations/

2014     ‘Feminists Taking the Empty Place: the construction of political identity’ in The Empty Place: Democracy and Public Space T. Hoskyns (New York: Routledge)

‘Table Tennis at the Market’ review of Market Meditations in Delo newspaper Slovenia  https://www.dnevnik.si/1042685191/kultura/arhitektura/namizni-tenis-na-trznici

The City as it could be’ review of Market Meditations  https://www.celje.info/kultura/celjska-mestna-trznica-kot-bi-tudi-lahko-bila/

2014     ‘Helen Stratford: Things to Do with Shopping Centres’ review by Caroline Wendling in a-n The Artists Information Company online journal  https://www.a-n.co.uk/p/4424580/

2012     ‘Inscription as a collective practice: taking place and ‘the other side of waiting’’ J. Dwyer in The Design Collective: an approach to practice H. Edquist and Vaughan, L. (eds) (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing)

‘Helen Stratford: A Day with a Duck’ review by Hilary Gresty in a-n The Artists Information Company online journal  https://www.a-n.co.uk/p/2632538/

2011     ‘Designing Learning as a Transitional Space,’ in Towards Creative Learning Spaces: Re-thinking the Architecture of Post-compulsory Education J. Boys (London: Routledge)

2010     ‘Mechanical Operations’ book review by Wendy Searle in a-n The Artists Information Company

online journal  https://www.a-n.co.uk/p/626899/

2009     ‘open space - the other side of waiting’ K. Lloyd Thomas and taking place in feminist review 93

2007     ‘Taking Place and Altering it’ chapter by Teresa Hoskyns, Doina Petrescu & other mixed voices

in Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space, D. Petrescu (ed) (London: Routledge)

Other activities

Founder member of taking place feminist collective exploring feminist spatial practice www.takingplace.org.uk 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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