A keynote panel discussion responding to the theme of ‘Transformative Learning, Activism and Reflexivity in Education’ set by the University of Dundee, UK:
Active and reflexive learners and practitioners are essential to shaping and re-shaping our future places and practices. As we face the challenges of rapid urbanization, social and economic inequalities and the climate emergency, our students need to be equipped to navigate a super-complex and uncertain world. Understanding the complexity of place and societal issues, and our roles as designers, advisors or practitioners in various fields is essential. In shaping and re-shaping places, services and community practices of various sorts, students have the opportunity to look holistically at the inter-connection of society, structures, and space, but also to understand how they might contribute and be part of the problem they are addressing and its solution.
Therefore, if it is said that “the people coming out of the world’s best colleges and universities are leading us down the current unhealthy, inequitable, and unsustainable path” how might education change direction?
Kirsty Macari (Moderator) is Lecturer in Architecture and Urban Planning, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee. Kirsty worked in practice in both public and private sector for 14 years before entering full time academia. Roles within practice were across the areas of urban planning, urban design and economic development in a variety of practice, management and director roles. Between 2017 and 2019, whilst still in practice she worked as a part time tutor delivering both undergraduate and taught postgraduate modules. On joining the University of Dundee full time as a Lecturer in 2019 she has become involved in the a number of collaborative opportunities both internally and externally. This has included supporting international recruitment in the ASEAN region and balance this with practice experience including as a Board Member of Architecture and Design Scotland, General Assembly Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and Academician with the Academy of Urbanism.
Graeme Hutton (Panelist) is Professor of Architecture and Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching at the University of Dundee. He is an architect who has been engaged in practice and education for over twenty years. Working with Dundee’s LJR+H Chartered Architects, his designs have been widely exhibited including at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Royal Scottish Academy and Royal Academy. ‘Drummond House – The Shed’ has won numerous architectural awards, including a 2009 RIBA Award, DiA & Scottish Design Award. It has been published internationally in the professional and popular press including The New York Times. The RIAS & Scottish Design Award winning ‘Zinc-House’ was selected as one of the RIBA/Grand Designs ‘Britain’s Best Houses 2016’ and has was filmed by Channel 4. He was recently made an academician of The Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture. As a teacher of a Masters Unit he continues to use the City of Dundee as a context to explore the potential of architecture as an agent of social and cultural transformation.
Belinda Mitchell (Panelist) is Senior lecturer in Interior Design at eth University if Portsmouth. She joined Portsmouth in 2005. She studied interior design at Kingston Polytechnic and Visual Art at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton. She previously worked in retail practices and for Hampshire County Architects before moving into teaching at London Metropolitan University. She is a founder member of Mitchell Bould, 2000-2008, a collective arts practice that investigated drawing and collaborative processes through inter-disciplinary and interactive projects. Her research interests focus on the representation of the interior, and on bodily interactions with space, both strands being strongly collaborative in nature.
Dr Penny Lewis (panelist) is the Programme Lead for the University of Dundee and University of Wuhan Joint Degree in Architecture Programme and her role sees her teach both in the UK and China. She studied architecture and practiced in Manchester before becoming an architectural journalist. Between 2001 and 2007 Penny was Editor of Prospect, the Scottish Architecture Magazine and has contributed to architectural magazines including AJ, AT and Blueprint. She completed her PhD on Ecology and the Architectural Imagination. She is an editor of the recently published book by Routledge; Architecture and Collective Life.