Oxford Brookes architecture success in Santander Staff Development Award
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Oxford Brookes architecture success in Santander Staff Development Award

Harriet Harriss, Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Director of the Architecture Live Lab at Oxford Brookes University, has won this year’s Santander Staff Development Award.

The annual case prize was jointly awarded to Harriet Harriss and Lynnette Widder, from New York-based Columbia University, for their work to establish community architecture workshops in Oxford and New York and their research into live projects.

Harriet and Lynnette’s workshop proposal invites local community members, who have participated in architecture live projects, to come to an event to explore what and how we should measure impact within community engaged scholarship programs. The two workshops are scheduled to run in February 2014 in Oxford and in April 2014 in New York City.

The award is funded by the global Santander Universities Network, which Oxford Brookes joined in 2007 and is now amongst 1000 Universities worldwide within the partnership. The Network funds awards for staff and students at partner institutions with the aim for promoting international mobility and research, and to enable specialised staff training and develop professional practice. In the last five years, over 230 staff and students have been awarded Santander funding. For staff, it provides a unique opportunity to undertake personal development outside of the UK and gain an international perspective; attending workshops, conferences and exploring best practices in international universities.

In addition to developing community architecture workshops, Harriet and Lynnette also hope the Santander Staff Development award will help them build on research they are undertaking for a co-authored book to be published in 2014, enabling the pair to continue to develop and expand their expertise in this area. Their book, titled ‘Architecture Live Projects Pedagogy into Practice’, argues the unique advantages of architecture live projects to create channels for a new, reciprocal influence from pedagogy to practice – and practice to pedagogy.

The dust cover description reads:

“This book provides a persuasive, evidence-based advocacy for moving a particular kind of architectural learning – known as Live Projects – away from the realm of provocation and marginality into a position of belonging – towards a holistic integration into current and future architectural curricula. Live Projects occupy the borderlands between the simulacra which architectural education favours and the trial by fire of professional practice. Because of this position, Live Projects as a vehicle for providing teaching and service simultaneously has the potential to recalibrate the contesting claims that both academia and profession make to architecture.”

Commenting on her winning entry, Harriet said: “Lynnette and I are extremely excited to have been given such a fantastic opportunity to co-create innovative pedagogy by Santander.”

“Perhaps surprisingly, to involve non-academic community members in shaping design curriculum is actually quite a radical idea, which seems remarkable when you consider that they are the very people who live with the outcomes of work undertaken by students engaged in civic projects.”


To find out more about Architecture at Oxford Brookes University and the courses it offers click here.