Dr Julia Udall

Dr Julia Udall M.Arch (Hons.), PhD.

Senior Lecturer in Architecture


Summary

Julia Udall works at the intersection of artistic spatial practice, critical architectural pedagogy and design activism. Her work seeks to develop ways to re-make urban space by drawing attention to, and supporting forms of collectivity, interdependence and mutual support, between humans and non-humans, in the face of this precarious moment in the Anthropocene. Her recent publications explore urban commoning in relation to micropolitics, economies, cultures and learning; the spatialities of repair produced by networks of Little Mesters, and engaged architectural pedagogies. Julia is a director of architectural collective Studio Polpo, who contributed to the 2021 British Pavilion ‘The Garden of Privatised Delights’.

About

Julia completed her PhD, Tools to Create Agency: the Craft of Commoning with Supervisors Professor Doina Petrescu and Professor Renata Tyszczuk. This 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, she proposed 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. Julia initiated (together with a fantastic and diverse group of makers and others) 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, she 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. She developed a number of business skills during this period, including around how successful organisations operate.

 

Julia Udall was the Postdoctoral Research Associate on the AHRC Connected Communities large grant project, ‘Stories of Change’, which investigated energy and industry, past, present and future, working across a number of factory sites in the Don and Derwent Valleys. Using scenario making and storytelling this project sought to engage communities to support agency in relation to energy transitions.

 

Julia Udall is a fellow of the Future Architecture Platform (2021), for the collaborative project, Sonic Acts of Noticing, a prototype of a pedagogical tool to explore listening as critical spatial practice. This project explores how such practice might alter subjectivities and produce space in ways that emphasise care, and shared learning as crucial for collaborative survival.

Teaching

College of Social Sciences and Arts

My approach to teaching and research is collaborative and interdisciplinary. Much of my teaching is engaged, working with communities, industry and practice to understand pressing concerns and build the skills and knowledge required to address them. With the right framework established for teaching and assessment this can enable critical and original outcomes.

As a teacher I recognise the value that each student brings to the institution, and seek to draw out and support their curiosity and interests to establish environments for mutual and peer learning. Academic study offers the opportunity to explore new ideas and interrogate and expand meanings, values and understandings; this should be situated, and developed with an ethics of care as well as intellectual rigour.

In 2014, together with two colleagues, Dr Anna Holder and Dr Kim Trogal, I initiated, and obtained funding for the Learning and Teaching Project ‘The Elephant in the Room or the Lice on the Bald Head’, which visualises and challenges barriers to peer learning with home and international students. Working with Urban Design students and alumni, the process of identifying barriers that were tacit or implicit gave rise to discussing the tactics and strategies that students and tutors were employing to address them and the experiences of trying to do so.

Research

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
Twitter @energeticstory

Publications

Journal articles

Kazemi, M., & Udall, J. (2023). Behavioral barriers to the use of renewable and energy-efficient technologies in residential buildings in Iran. Energy Efficiency, 16 (7). http://doi.org/10.1007/s12053-023-10162-0

Udall, J., Shaw, B., Payne, T., Gilmore, J., & Bushaj, Z. (2021). An unfinished lexicon for autonomous publishing. Ephemera: theory and politics in organization, 21 (4).

Udall, J. (2019). Mending the commons with the ‘Little Mesters’. Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization, 19 (2).

Smith, J., Butler, R., Day, R., Fyfe, H., Goodbody, A., Llewellyn, D., ... Whyte, N. (2017). Gathering around stories: Interdisciplinary experiments in support of energy system transitions. Energy Research & Social Science, 31, 284-294. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.06.026

Udall, J., Forrest, D., & Stewart, K. (2014). Locating and building knowledges outside of the academy : approaches to engaged teaching at the University of Sheffield. Teaching in Higher Education, 20 (2), 158-170. http://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2014.966237

Udall, J.M., & Holder, A.M. (2014). The ‘Diverse Economies’ of Participation. Footprint, 13, 63-80. http://doi.org/10.7480/footprint.7.2.770

Vardy, S., & Udall, J. (n.d.). Spaces of Learning. .

Udall, J. (n.d.). EPHEMERA,‘Repair Matters’ Mending the commons with the ‘Little Mesters’. .

Conference papers

Udall, J. (2022). Co-dreaming Climates: Publics and Planetarity. In Radical Entanglements: Architectures, Societies, Enviornments, Politics'. Radical Architecural Practice for Sustainability Second INternational Conference, Eindhoven, 10 November 2022 - 11 February 2023. Radical Architecural Practice for Sustainability

Udall, J. (2022). Co-Dreaming Climates: Landscapes of Public Participation, Keynote. In Equali(city): Collective Co-Existence, Manchester School of Architecture Manchester Metropolitan University The University of Manchester, 7 June 2022.

Vardy, S., Udall, J., Vodicka, G., & McCloskey, P. (2019). Constituent relations across the city: Three perspectives from practice. In (Im)possible Complicities, Berlin, 23 May 2019 - 24 May 2019. Tesseræ / CoCreation– EU Marie Curie Rise project: https://vimeo.com/338880369

Tyszczuk, R., & Udall, J. (2015). Future works: stories of energy, industry and resilience. Proceedings–Cross-Disciplinary Conference Sheffield (September 2015) Architecture and Resilience on the Human Scale, 353-362.

Cristina Cerulli, , & Julia Udall, (2011). Collective Production and Action: the Re-imagining Portland Works Project. In ISBE 2011 Conference - 34th ISBE Conference Sustainable Futures: Enterprising Landscapes and Communities.

Udall, J., & Orlek, D.J. (2022). AA Global Forum: Venice Biennale to LondonA tour of The Garden of Privatised Delights and panel discussion by the curators and designers of the 2021 British Pavilion. In AA Global Forum, London, 11 October 2022.

Book chapters

Udall, J., Orlek, J., & De Little, A. (2023). Sonic Acts of Noticing. In Mao, Y., van Dijck, N., & Smith, R. (Eds.) Forest, City, Body, Flow. Landscapes of Care. DPR Barcelona: https://dpr-barcelona.com/forest-body-city-flow-landscapes-of-care/

Udall, J. (2023). Ethics in Built Environment Practice(Second Edition). In Challenging Practice: Essentials for the Social Production ofHabitat. Architecture Sans Frontières UK (2022)

Udall, J., & Wakeford Holder, A. (2023). Placemaking and the civic university: interface sites as spaces of tension and translation. In Dobson, J., & Ferrari, E. (Eds.) Reframing the Civic University. An agenda for impact. (pp. 143-162). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-17686-9_8

Udall, J., Orlek, J., & De Little, A. (2023). Field Trip: Sonic Acts of Noticing x Landscape Lab. In Field Trip. (pp. 12). Foundation Press: http://balticplus.uk/field-trip-a-collective-playbook-for-making-art-in-the-outdoors-c35878/

Udall, J., & Moore, T. (2022). The Economies of Portland Works. In Handbook of Urban Commons. DPR Barcelona

Udall, J., & Moore, T. (2022). The economies of urban commons. In Akbil, E., Axinte, A., Can, E., De Carli, B., Harrison, M., de Andes, A.M., ... Petrescu, D. (Eds.) Handbook of Urban Commons. DPR Barcelona: https://dpr-barcelona.com/urban-commons-handbook/

Udall, J. (2019). Demystifying social research methods. In Demystifying Architectural Research. (pp. 43-50). RIBA Publishing

Tyszczuk, R., & Udall, J. (2018). Future Works. In Architecture and Resilience Interdisciplinary Dialogues. Routledge

Tyszczuk, R., & Udall, J. (2018). Future Works. In Architecture and Resilience. (pp. 32-48). Routledge: http://doi.org/10.4324/9781315159478-3

Vardy, S., & Udall, J. (2017). How Do We know, who knows? A history of enacting spaces of learning. In Explorations in Urban Practice. Barcelona: Dpr-barcelona

Udall, J. (2011). Opposing Practices: Making Claims to the 'Works' in a post-industrial northern English city. In Trans-Local-Act: Cultural Practices Within and Accross. aaa-PEPRAV

Books

Dobson, J., & Ferrari, E. (Eds.). (2023). Reframing the civic university: an agenda for impact. Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-17686-9

Cerulli, C., & Udall, J. (2011). Re-imagining Portland Works. Antenna Press.

Reports

Wakeford Holder, A., & Udall, J. (2012). Knowing Common Grounds: Architectural Research Methods. https://issuu.com/anna.m.holder/docs/common_grounds

Internet Publications

Payne, T., & Spencer, J. (2022). ark-sheffield. https://www.ark-sheffield.org/

Smith, J., Renata, T., Brandon, S., Spencer, J., Rohse, M., & Lewis, K. (2017). Stories of Change: Exploring the Past, Present and Future of Energy. https://storiesofchange.ac.uk/

Smith, J., Renata, T., Brandon, S., Spencer, J., Rohse, M., & Lewis, K. (2017). Stories of Change: Exploring the Past, Present and Future of Energy. https://storiesofchange.ac.uk/

Smith, J., Renata, T., Brandon, S., Spencer, J., Rohse, M., & Lewis, K. (2017). Stories of Change: Exploring the Past, Present and Future of Energy. https://storiesofchange.ac.uk/

Exhibitions

Cerulli, C., Udall, J., Wakeford Holder, A., Orlek, J., & Parsons, M. (2020). The High Street of Exchanges (part of the British Pavillion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2020). [Interactive installation]. Venice.

Payne, T., Udall, J., & De Little, A. (2023). Comes the Flood: Ark Sheffield. [Multi-media installation]. Ruskin Collection, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield Museums.

Payne, T., Udall, J., & De Little, A. (2022). Ark Sheffield: Experimental Climate Lab. The Atrium, Sheffield Hallam University.

Spencer, J., Orlek, J., & Machin, T. (2022). The High Street of Exchanges, Studio Polpo: The Venice Architecture Biennale at Sheffield Hallam University. [Installation]. Post Hall, Head Post Office, Sheffield Hallam University. https://gallery.shu.ac.uk/event/high-street-of-exchanges/

Barber, P. (2020). 100-Mile City and Other Stories. Sheffield, UK.

Barber, P. (2020). 100-Mile City and Other Stories. Sheffield, UK.

Performances

Payne, T., Udall, J., & De Little, A. (2022). Ark Sheffield (at the Crucible Theatre for Together in the City). The Crucible Theatre Live performance.

Payne, T., Udall, J., & De Little, A. (2021). Amplifying Climate Dialogues. The Performance Lab, Sheffield Hallam University

Payne, T., Udall, J., & De Little, A. (2022). Ark Sheffield at Sheffield and District African Carribean Community Association (SADACCA). SADACCA, The Wicker, Sheffield

Scafe Smith, S., Scafe Smith, A., Tolloci, G., Ortiz, C., Villamizar, N., Payne, T., ... De Little, A. (2022). Sheffield Otherwise: a poetry night (Ark Sheffield: Experimental Climate Lab). The Atrium, Sheffield Hallam University

Media

Udall, J., Orlek, J., & De Little, A. (2021). Sonic acts of noticing: Future architecture rooms. Future Architecture Platform

British Council, (2021). High street of exchanges: call to action. [Video]. British Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTXBga-SIBs

British Council, (2021). High street of exchanges: call to action. [Video]. British Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTXBga-SIBs

Presentations

Udall, J. (2022). Co-Dreaming Climates: Pedagogical Tools to Support Sonic Practices for More than Human Societies, Plenary Session. Presented at: AHRA International Conference, Climate Collectivism, Pratt Institute New York

Udall, J. (2022). Co-Dreaming Climates: Public Space and Planetarity. Presented at: Architecture, the Urban, and the Politics of Public Space, The Univerisity of York

Udall, J. (2021). Sonic Acts of Noticing: If These Walls Could Talk. Presented at: If These Walls Could Talk, Belgrade Cultural Centre

Software / Code

Spencer, J., Orlek, J., & De Little, A. (2021). Sonic acts of noticing. Sheffield Hallam University. https://sonicactsofnoticing.org/

Other publications

Orlek, J., Udall, J., & Dobson, J. (2022). High Streets Network. Sheffield Hallam University: https://highstreets.network/

(2022). High street exchange(s) : essays, ideas and artworks on the future of the high street. Sheffield Hallam University

(2022). High street exchange(s) : essays, ideas and artworks on the future of the high street. Sheffield Hallam University

(2022). High street exchange(s) : essays, ideas and artworks on the future of the high street. Sheffield Hallam University

Scafe Smith, A., Scafe Smith, S., Ortiz, C., Villamizar, N., Tolloci, G., Payne, T., ... Udall, J. (2022). Sheffield Otherwise: Final Presentations & Celebrations (Ark Sheffield: Experimental Climate Lab). RESOLVE Collective

Payne, T., Udall, J., & De Little, A. (2022). Ark Sheffield: Experimental Climate Lab (audio workshop). Future Now Festival

Payne, T., Scafe Smith, S., Scafe Smith, A., Udall, J., & De Little, A. (2022). Ark Sheffield: Experimental Climate Lab (ark building workshop). Future Now Festival

Scafe Smith, S., & Scafe Smith, A. (2022). Sheffield Otherwise: Reflections on Local (Ark Sheffield: Experimental Climate Lab). RESOLVE Collective

Udall, J., Vardy, S., Vodicka, G., & Cerulli, C. (2021). Researching in the city zine. AHRA: https://issuu.com/shu_architecture/docs/ahra_researching_in_the_city_zine_1_

Udall, J., Vardy, S., Vodicka, G., & Cerulli, C. (2021). Researching in the city zine. AHRA: https://issuu.com/shu_architecture/docs/ahra_researching_in_the_city_zine_1_

Udall, J., Vardy, S., Vodicka, G., & Cerulli, C. (2021). Researching in the city zine. AHRA: https://issuu.com/shu_architecture/docs/ahra_researching_in_the_city_zine_1_

(2019). Housing Imaginations. Sheffield Institute of Arts Gallery: https://issuu.com/shu_architecture/docs/exhibition_newspaperforprint

(2019). Housing Imaginations. Sheffield Institute of Arts Gallery: https://issuu.com/shu_architecture/docs/exhibition_newspaperforprint

(2019). Housing Imaginations. Sheffield Institute of Arts Gallery: https://issuu.com/shu_architecture/docs/exhibition_newspaperforprint

Udall, J. (2015). Tools to create agency at Portland Works: The Craft of Commoning. University of Sheffield

Udall, J. (2007). Architecture by Other Means: Instances of Representation and Participation. University of Sheffield, School of Architecture

Other activities

I am a director of social enterprise architecture practice, Studio Polpo. We work at the intersection of a number of disciplines to create objects, structures, research and initiatives that can be taken-on and built-upon by others. All our projects are underpinned by our ethical values and a genuine desire to work towards social, environmental and economic sustainability. For this reason we are constituted as a social enterprise, and use any profit we generate to allow us to help organisations get projects off the ground, as well as starting initiatives that we believe will benefit the city. Current examples include feasibility studies for ROAR in Rotherham, and the Sheffield CLT.

We Design and Make. We work at scales from fixings and furniture, to new buildings and the refurbishment of old or existing structures. Our architectural expertise informs our approach to smaller arts-led projects, and our involvement in making, testing and building at smaller scale informs the detailed thinking on larger projects.

We Research. We test, play and experiment with materials, working with fabricators, suppliers and our colleagues at Chopshop CNC to inform our designs. We also investigate, analyse and collate information for dissemination to our clients and the wider public to facilitate positive change, for example in our work for Portland Works.

We write. This helps us to reflect on and learn from what we have done, as well as sharing and discussing this with others, and we have written and spoken in a number of places both academic and non-academic.

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