Parlour is delighted to partner on the Wellbeing of Architects symposium. Book now for this invigorating event, which aims to drive positive change and help create a healthier, more sustainable future for the architecture community.

The Wellbeing of Architects [education + practice —] symposium is a call to action and a commitment to change. Championing a holistic and integrated approach to wellbeing, it will provide knowledge and tools to enable architects, educators and the profession to prioritise mental wellbeing in systems, culture and everyday activities. 

The symposium is the culmination of a groundbreaking, four-year research study — The Wellbeing of Architects: Culture, Identity and Practice (2020–2024). The study is an international trailblazer and findings reinforce long-held concerns about the wellbeing of those who practice and study architecture. 

Held over two days – ticketed separately – the symposium will present the research findings, offer recommendations for change, and facilitate key conversations. 

Day 1: Education, Weds 8 May
The first day focuses on architectural education, exploring methods to improve the wellbeing of students and educators. It will feature insights from teachers and student leaders, aiming to identify effective practices and cultures that foster mental wellbeing – in the studio and beyond.

Day 2: Practice, Thurs 9 May
The second day delves into practice, addressing issues such as workload, value and the promotion of a thriving culture. It will provide practical advice for practitioners of all sizes and sectors, considering the broader construction industry context and the role of peak bodies in driving change.

Speakers include researchers, industry leaders, and innovative educators and practitioners, offering attendees new insights, tools, and resources to lead efforts in enhancing mental wellbeing within the architectural community.

The event also launches the Guides to Wellbeing in Practice, a set of research-informed guides that support action towards transformative change. These are a vital companion to the Parlour Guides to Equitable Practice, and the Parlour team has been integral to the writing and editing of these.


When & where

9am–6pm, 8–9 May 2024
Collingwood Yards Music Market
Unit 2/35 Johnston St, Collingwood VIC 3066


Tickets

Tickets are available for each day separately, or as a bundle for both days. Formal CPD will be available.

Two-day bundle
General: $190
Concession: $80

Day 1 — Education
General: $75
Concession: $40

Day 2 — Practice
General: $130
Concession: $65

Concession pricing is available for students, those working part time, out of work, or anyone else that needs financial assistance.


Full program

Wellbeing of Architects Symposium

[skip to day 2 – practice]

Day 1 — Education

9am–4.30pm, Wednesday 8 May


[registration 9–9.30am]


Welcome
Naomi Stead

Keynote – Wellbeing in Architectural Education
Maryam Gusheh and Vicki Liebowitz

What have we learnt about wellbeing among architecture students as reported by students, academics and professionals?

New Approaches to Studio Teaching
Charity Edwards (chair), Amanda Achmadi, Kelly Greenop

How can studio teaching and assessment methods better support healthy connections, peer learning and an inclusive architectural culture and identity? This panel discussion showcases innovative teaching practices that enhance the protective features of design studio, while mitigating its challenges. The discussion explores the potential vitality of studio teaching despite ongoing cultural and institutional constraints that undermine it.


[morning tea 10.50–11.10am]


Keynote – Throwing Out the Playbook
Narelle Lemon

How can attention to wellbeing reinvigorate architectural education? How can we empower students as the agents of this transformation? 

Narelle Lemon is a VC Professoriate Research Fellow Edith Cowan University and an interdisciplinary expert in Pedagogy of Belonging. Her keynote lecture offers a provocative critique of the status quo in tertiary education and positions wellbeing as a transformative force for a new and human-centred approach to educating architects. 

Insights from SONA & Student Support
Nicole Mesquita-Mendez, a representative from student support

What is SONA telling us? What can we learn from health and wellbeing professionals within the tertiary sector?


[lunch 12.30–1.10pm]


New Approaches to Learning & Assessment
Chris Brisbin (chair), Alex Brown, Michael Mossman

Can we design new learning and assessment methods that integrate wellbeing and care within architectural curricula? This panel showcases holistic approaches to learning and assessment with potential to benefit student wellbeing. The discussion explores ways in which learning and teaching can position wellbeing and care as foundational principles in architectural education.

New Approaches to Professional Practice
Helen Norrie (chair), Peter Raisbeck, Helen Duong

How can professional practice curricula better equip students for effective, viable, inclusive and fulfilling career paths in architecture? This panel presents educational curricula that extend professional practice beyond architectural ‘competencies’. The discussion considers the role of universities in educating architects for the realities of professional practice while also advocating for alternative models of practice.


[afternoon tea 2.50–3.10pm]


What can the Peak Bodies, Universities & Student Organisations do?
John Doyle (chair), Kate Hislop, Philip Oldfield, Kathy Waghorn, Blake Hillebrand

Looking at the bigger picture, what is currently being done, and what more could be done, to support wellbeing within architectural education? The wellbeing of architecture students is subject to pressures both within and outside of educational institutions. This panel will discuss how care and student wellbeing can be foregrounded in educational frameworks, and through leadership from peak bodies, universities and student organisations. 

Launch of AASA Award for Wellbeing in Architectural Education
Naomi Stead, Lee Stickells, John Doyle

Remarks
Naomi Stead, Lee Stickells


Day 2 — Practice

9am–5.30pm, Thursday 9 May


[registration 9–9.30am]


Welcome
Angelina Maallini Pillai

Opening Keynote – New Knowledge about Wellbeing in Architectural Practice
Naomi Stead and Byron Kinnaird

What have we learned about the wellbeing of architectural practitioners? Drawing on the findings of the Wellbeing of Architects project, this session elucidates the research findings to highlight key issues facing architects and those in allied fields today.

LaunchGuides to Wellbeing in Architecture Practice 

Work Culture + Wellbeing
Justine Clark (chair), Tanya Awadallah, Darryl Suttie, Thihoa Gill

What measures can architecture practices take to support a creative, sustainable, healthy work culture? This panel explores positive strategies that address unhelpful patterns and norms within architecture work cultures. From supporting trust and openness in teams, to developing leadership that supports wellbeing, to supporting individuals in their own life balance, the panel will address what is happening now, and what more can be done.


[morning tea 11–11.30am]


Keynote – Value & Wellbeing in Architecture
Flora Samuel

What is the social value of architecture? In what ways is this often overlooked or invisible, and how are these questions of worth linked with wellbeing and conditions in the architecture profession more broadly? Flora Samuel is the author of Why Architects Matter (2019), and was lead on the Architects Council of Europe Value of Architecture Report, as well as the RIBA Social Value Toolkit. As an expert in social value, Flora will examine the downstream effects of under-valuation in architecture, including on wellbeing, and set forth a better path.

Keynote – Beyond the Blueprint: Becoming in architecture amidst constraints and consumption
Jonathan Robberts

Jonathan Robberts’ PHD research, part of the Wellbeing of Architects research project, includes extended fieldwork embedded within a large Australian architecture practice. In seeking to understand this one practice, the research has sought wider insights into the profession as a whole – its aspirations, configuration, and activities, and how concepts of ‘becoming’ might affect both professional identity and organisational models.


[lunch 12.45–1.45pm]


Keynote – Systemic Risks in Australian Architecture
Dariel de Sousa

Dariel De Sousa is a multi-disciplinary professional who focuses on regulation, risk, compliance, governance and performance. Her keynote will address a joint research project undertaken in 2022 for the Architects Registration Board of Victoria and the NSW Architects Registration Board. The project focussed on the systemic level, to understand key risks facing architects across the entire sector, particularly those that could affect architects’ ability to comply with their professional standards obligations. Dariel will outline findings and implications for the profession.

Contracts & Procurement + Wellbeing
Tim Horton (chair), Gabrielle Trainor AO, Emma Williamson

How can we mitigate the ‘downstream effects’ of construction industry contracting and procurement processes on wellbeing in architecture? Some of the most acute stresses in architectural practice emerge through the procurement process, including in the framing and administration of contracts and project delivery. Given that architects themselves often have limited agency in determining procurement methods, this panel will frame wellbeing within the construction industry more broadly – noting opportunities and paths towards improvement for all.

Policy & Legislation + Wellbeing
Natalie Galea (chair), Kirsten Orr, Brian Clohessy, John Held

What are the possibilities for greater wellbeing presented by ‘top down’ instruments like legislation and policy? Recent changes in legislation around psychosocial safety have the potential to shake up work practices in both architecture and the wider construction industry. Meanwhile many organisations are looking to mobilise policy at the sector-wide, industry-wide, or specific practice scales – with groups like the Construction Industry Culture Taskforce looking to foment systemic change for the better. This panel will examine what’s currently happening, and what could happen in future, to use policy and legislation as forces for good.


[afternoon tea 3.50–4.20pm]


The Profession + Wellbeing
Angelina Maallini Pillai (chair), Cameron Bruhn, Tiffany Liew, Sonia Sarangi, Glenn Scott

What is the role for peak bodies, regulatory bodies, membership organisations, and peer collectives in improving wellbeing in architecture? This panel will examine the possibilities that emerge when these groups come together with common purpose, towards greater wellbeing for all – from the level of the individual, to practice, to systemic and structural change across the whole architecture profession. What new alliances and initiatives are needed to effect lasting change?

Closing Remarks – Day 2
Naomi Stead, Julie Wolfram Cox, Kieran Wong


Wellbeing of Architects Symposium