Policy and pedagogy

This hub investigates the environment for architectural education from the career decisions of school children, through the educational experience and on into architecture and other destinations.

Staff members: Ruth Reed, Hannah Vowles, Jim Low

Current and recent projects

Pay and conditions of students of architecture (2009 -2011)

Research carried out by RIBA, and led by Ruth Reed, while RIBA President, resulted in the development of key RIBA policy documents.

Supporting the future of the profession by ensuring a succession of students entering the profession on the basis of ability, not ability to pay.


Alternative Pathways After Architecture (2011-2012)

Research led by Ruth Reed, Assistant Zoe Millman. Students: Kristian Lawrence, Matthew Walker, David Holland

A survey of students of architecture who took the undergraduate course at the Birmingham School of Architecture in the past 25 years, and who did not join the profession, also case studies of the famous and successful who graduated from other courses as role models for students. Elective students researched leading figures in other fields who originally studied architecture.


Journal Article “Investigating Architecture Studio Culture in the UK: A Progress Report” (Spring 2013)

Accepted for publication in the Journal for Education in the Built Environment [JEBE] (Hannah Vowles with Prof Jim Low and Holly Rose Doron)

The group investigated the current position of studio culture in architecture higher education in the UK and a report on research in progress. The effects on studio learning and teaching of pressures on space, budgets, student finance and employment opportunities are all considered, together with changes in the demographics and characteristics of the student population and in teaching and learning technologies, approaches and attitudes. The research focuses on attitudes of current students and academics and their understanding of studio culture.


Into Architecture and Beyond – a study of the barriers to professional entry due to social and economic disadvantage (Spring 2013)

Elective research led by Ruth Reed, students Simon Pope and Lauren Raybould

Survey of attitudes of Year 10 and 12 school children in three Birmingham schools and colleges.

Research questions informing this survey are

  • Do aspirations for social mobility inform their choice of career?
  • What other influences shape their career plans?

The results of the survey will be compared with the ambitions of the first year students of Birmingham School of Architecture.


Current research students

Mohammad Ali (PhD), The Influence of the Physical Environment on Learning Behaviour: a case study of secondary schools in Kuwait (Supervisors: Mohsen Aboutorabi and Richard Coles)

Ahmad Saleh A Almontasheri (PhD), Islamic Decorations as Symbolic and Mystical means for Enriching Contemporary Artworks (Supervisor: Mohsen Aboutorabi)

Yi Luo (PhD), Assembly Space: The Evolution of Social Gathering Spaces in the Eastern Region (Han Culture) of China (Supervisor: Mohsen Aboutorabi)