So, you are coming to Transform. Great! We’ve put together a little reading list to get you in the mood for thinking about gender and agency in remaking the profession.
If you have suggestions of other pieces please let us know (email us at hello [at] parlour.org.au.
Of course there is stack of stuff to be found right here at Parlour. Get started with:
Architecture and Women. Karen Burns outlines the issues.
The Questions to Ask. Ann Lau on being strategic about constructing your career.
Diverse Paths. Shelley Penn on diverse models of practice.
Making the Future. Annabel Lahz on the the future of practice.
Looking further afield, you might enjoy the following:
Crashing the Boys’ Club. Excellent summary by Sarah Williams Goldhagen at Architectural Record.
“How can architecture’s pervasive patterns of gender discrimination be redressed? By starting a substantive conversation about the structure of the workplace and the inequities it systematically and predictably produces—and then refusing to let the subject drop until changes are made. By demanding that the American Institute of Architects better track and publicize data on women’s status in the profession. By celebrating firms that promote women and establish measurably effective family-friendly policies, and by shaming firms that don’t. By warning young women that success in school is no guarantee of a successful career. And most of all, by admitting there’s a problem, and demanding that equality become a reality, not just a good idea.”
The I in Crisis. Anna Tweeddale asks “whose crisis is it anyway” on ADR.
“So it occurs to me now that architecture itself may not really be in crisis; only that the subjectivity and egos of a particular group are feeling challenged. It is just that they are accustomed to the notion that what they are thinking and feeling IS the experience of architecture, because that’s how it has been so far.”
Lack of Diversity Limits Architecture. Sam Lubell’s editorial at The Architects Newspaper.
“The reasons for this ridiculous imbalance have been well documented: high skill, low (and in the case if interns, sometimes no) pay jobs keep out all but the affluent; crazy hours drive away those who need to balance work and life; high tuition and lack of scholarships and minority recruitment keep most schools homogeneous; the registration process is hopelessly outdated to weed out those without resources; and, of course, the fact that those out of the club often feel isolated only perpetuates the problem.
More than anything, the culture of architecture needs to change. Not just because it’s the right thing to do. But in order to be a truly relevant profession, architecture—a field often aloof from the community it serves—needs to better represent that community. It needs a greater diversity of views, perspectives, and ideas.”
Interview with Sarah Wigglesworth at Abitare.
“Instead of being regarded as a ‘problem’ to the profession, women can help by shifting values and attitudes of the status quo towards a new frame of reference … It could also lead to better employment practices, including improved fees and salaries, and more diverse career opportunities for all.”
Why Architects need Feminism by Despina Stratigakos on Design Observer.
“Whether “old” or “new,” feminism remains an inherently positive approach: it insists not only on the necessity but also on the possibility of change … By linking individuals to systems, feminism allows us to perceive structural limitations and to envision dissolving barriers. And feminism’s attention to practice — and not just to practitioners — fosters new ways of understanding and experimenting with process.”
Feminist Practices. Videos of three panel discussions chaired by Lori Brown at the Van Alen Institute, which “challenges conventional ideas of architecture, and of what constitutes a feminist practice”. The first explores the relationship between feminist methodologies and various approaches to design, the second considers design research, and the third education.
Double Whammy: Would there be more women in architecture if there were more women in development? by Amanda Kolson Hurley at Architect magazine.
Women in Practice, essay by Sarah Wigglesworth.
“As people who tend to have portfolio careers, juggle competing needs, diversify their experience and make do financially, women are well placed to invent these new forms of practice.”
We’ll add more to this list as pieces come to mind – and welcome suggestions.