My research considers how a more diverse group can gain agency to transform the spaces and places that they care about, from the scale of a tool, to a building, to the city, through to radical system change. In order to support such investigations the topics and methods I explore include: architectural and urban activism; scenario building; participatory and critical spatial practices; diverse economies; commoning; tools, industry, making and craftsmanship; design research; and architectural pedagogy.
My doctoral research was activist design-research into how, in the context of gentrification and loss of affordable space for small-scale industry and making in UK cities, communities can come together to safeguard their spaces in ways that are just, equitable and resilient. In exploring the case of Portland Works, I propose that through the co-design of a number of tools, social, political, democratic and pedagogical agencies can be achieved that can support common ownership, and the sharing and development of such resources. I was an initiator (together with a fantastic and diverse group of makers and others) of the campaign to save the birthplace of stainless steel from speculative redevelopment, which resulted in the purchase by over 500 shareholders, to retain it as a place of making. As an active member of group from 2009, I have helped to lead the process of setting up an Industrial and Provident Society, partaking in writing the business plan and form the governance structure, and in the subsequent development for community benefit. I developed a number of business skills during this period, including around how successful organisations operate.
In 2015 was invited to write the editorial on socially engaged architectural research and practice for the RIBA publication ‘Demystifying Architectural Research’. The book explores how architectural practices can benefit from developing a research specialism, both in improving the quality of projects, helping them to define a brand and by generating new channels of revenue with innovative services for clients.
AHRC Connected Communities Large Grant ‘Stories of Change’
Stories of Change Platform
Stories of Change, Future Works