Parlour is delighted to be involved in the research-based advocacy project Wellbeing of Architects: culture, identity + practice. We present regular video updates on the project here.

Scroll down to see earlier updates.

3. Pilot interviews

Naomi Stead and Maryam Gusheh chat with Justine Clark about the findings of the pilot interviews conducted as part of the Wellbeing of Architects research project.

They identify and discuss six themes: the tensions between art and business, the ‘dark side’ of altruism, definitions of ‘good architecture’ and ‘proper architects’, the tension between individualism and teamwork, the impact of external pressures. and what happens when the things we love become ‘too much’.

2. Survey 1 – initial findings

The first survey had a huge response, doubling its target, with more than 2100 participants. Thanks to all in the Parlour community who took the time to fill out the survey. Watch Byron Kinnaird, Naomi Stead and Justine Clark discuss the preliminary findings.

There was a good geographic spread with participants filling in the survey from all around the country. There was also a good age spread, with respondents including very new and also very senior practitioners. Respondents were roughly 60% women and 40% men (also some trans and non-binary participants whom the team values very much).

It’s still early days for the survey analysis, but there are a couple of early observations to note. In answer to the (open-ended, free-text) question about what people do to support their own wellbeing, the team was pleased to see so many seeking professional help from psychologists and counsellors – encouraging a help-seeking culture and destigmatising mental health issues are important steps to make. Quite a number of people had changed jobs, in order to leave a workplace that was negatively affecting their wellbeing. Quite a number spoke about setting and maintaining careful boundaries about work hours and work expectations; and many also spoke about basic personal self-care – seeking support from family and friends, exercise, maintaining interests outside of architecture, meditation, etc.

Another interesting finding is that when asked if people could do one thing to improve wellbeing in the profession, many responses did not actually focus on self-care or self-management. They pointed to bigger-picture issues, such as raising fees and improving timeframes.

In the next few weeks, the Monash-led research team will release a student-focused survey and then later in the year, they will organise a series of focus groups with a mix of people from across the profession. That will be a valuable place to collect the experiences of a wide range of voices, from different age groups, different career points and different areas of work.

Parlour will continue to bring you monthly updates on this important research project, including further information on the survey findings.

1. Wellbeing of Architects Survey 1 launch

The project’s first survey was aimed at practitioners, and will be followed by a subsequent survey of students later in the year. The survey is now closed, but you can watch the video conversation between Naomi Stead and Justine Clark introducing the survey and its aims.

Led by Naomi Stead, the project team includes Maryam Gusheh, Julie Wolfram-Cox, Brian Cooper, Partner Investigator Dr Kirsten Orr, Registrar of the NSW Architects Registration Board, postdoctoral research fellow, Byron Kinnaird and PhD candidate Jonathan Hines. Research partners include the NSW Architects Registration Board, the Australian Institute of Architects, the Association of Consulting Architects (ACA), the Association of Australasian Schools of Architecture (AASA), BVN, DesignInc, Elenberg Fraser, The Fulcrum Agency, Hassell, and SJB. Justine Clark is chair of the project Advisory Board.