About James Benedict Brown

Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the Leicester School of Architecture (@DMUarchitecture) De Montfort University (@DMUleicester) and researcher of architectural pedagogies. Views are my own. Also on Twitter as @jbenedictbrown

Charrette 6(1) Call for Contributions – Flipping the Script: Foregrounding the Architecture Student

Click here to download this call as a PDF

Charrette (ISSN 2054-6718) is the journal of the Association of Architectural Educators. Volume 6, issue 1 (Spring 2019) will have the theme Flipping the Script: Foregrounding the Architecture Student. We invite papers and essays that foreground the experiences and perspectives of architecture students.

  • Guest Editor – James Thompson, University of Washington, Seattle. 
  • Editor – James Benedict Brown, De Montfort University, Leicester.
  • Assistant Editor – Amanda Hufford.


Traditionally, educational theories have foregrounded teaching by focusing on aspects like pedagogy and curriculum from the position of the educator. Whereas learning has certainly been stated as a chief objective of education, the assumption has been that learning can be expected to occur if teachers are knowledgeable and passionate. Consider Donald Schön’s infamous portrayal of Petra as an (uncritical) architecture student who models the behavior of her tutor Quist. In the time since this publication, a paradigm shift within higher education has engendered theories of learning and practices that acknowledge the agency of students in the learning process. Education is frequently conceptualized as more than transactional but as a narrative of personal and social transformation. Despite the growth of scholarship in this area within professional fields like medicine and social work, educators in architecture have been relatively slow to adopt this perspective. In addition to our general lack of reflection on our teaching and learning practices, most of what still gets considered “research” on architectural education celebrates bloviating over empirics, product over process, and ostensibly educators over learners. Students typically appear much like clients do in accounts of architectural design projects—as recipients more than contributors, objects more than subjects. Yet change is evident. Parallel to new educational approaches in architecture programs around the world, scholars are beginning to take into account themes and methods appropriate for examining how students navigate architecture school and transition into the complex professional world. This issue seeks to exhibit and build on the momentum of this work while further fostering scholarship on architectural education that considers learners’ points of view.


This issue of Charrette seeks to foreground the student experience in architectural education—including themes of learning, student agency, and identity transformation. How can the perspectives of learners help inform and improve our teaching practices? What role do students themselves actually play—in operative, performative, or normative terms—in shaping architectural education? (How) has this changed over the past several decades? How do levels of student participation differ based on different cultural contexts within academia, and what effect does this have? What can we learn from case studies of student governance and models of self-education? How do architecture students sustain their identity and wellbeing while developing a sense of purpose and belonging? In what ways can the perspectives of traditionally underrepresented voices challenge dominant preconceptions of the (ideal) architecture student? What impact have attempts to expose architecture’s “hidden curriculum” had on design education? What are the most effective ways to elicit perspectives of architecture students given inherent power differentials and typical shortcomings of strategies like course evaluations? How can research be designed to position students as protagonists in the story of architectural education? Do the first-person accounts and concerns of students compel us to revise existing theories of architectural education?

Possible Topics for Articles

Based on the issue’s theme and the preceding questions, contributions are invited from teachers, mentors, and learners (past and present) that address one or more of the following:

  • Becoming and being an Architecture Student; Becoming and being an Architect: Professionalization as Identity Transformation
  • Student Agency, Participation, and Governance in Architectural Education
  • Access, Diversity, and Gatekeeping in Architectural Education
  • Approaches to Student-centred Teaching and Curricula in Architectural Education
  • Novel Approaches to Research and Teaching Related to Learning and Learners

Submission Formats

In their expression of interest, authors should clearly indicate which of the following formats they are submitting under:

  • Conventional Essays 5,000 – 8,000 words (including all references and endnotes). Essays will explore a topic or topics on architectural education and connect to contemporary scholarship. Authors must demonstrate their intellectual and theoretical context, as well as their methodological approach, and have a clear conclusion.
  • Personal Narratives 3,000 – 5,000 words (including all references and endnotes). Submissions to this section will substitute traditional “academic” data with descriptive and reflective content related to personal experiences of architectural education. Authors are welcome to submit their narrative work in written and/or graphic form. 

Publication Timeline

Queries regarding the theme of this special issue should be directed to the Guest Editor, Dr. James Thompson jamest27@uw.edu

500 word expressions of interest should be submitted in the body email, containing author name(s), affiliations and contact details to charrette@architecturaleducators.org according to the timeline below. Selected authors will then be invited to submit a full paper for double blind peer review and editorial review.

  • July 2017 – Call for contributions disseminated
  • 12:00GMT 27 October 2017 – Expressions of interest due
  • 8 December 2017 – Notification of selected contributions
  • 4 May 2018 – Submission of full articles due
  • 3 August 2018 – Notification of reviewers’ comments
  • 2 November 2018 – Submission of final revised articles due
  • Spring 2019 – Publication of Volume 6 – Issue 1

Click here to download this call as a PDF


Update on ‘Architecture Connects’ – the 4th international conference of the AAE

Architecture Connects – the 4th international conference of the AAE, at Oxford Brookes University 6-9 September 2017.

We are delighted to confirm Dr Tatjana Schneider and Prof. Carlos Hernández Correa will be our keynote speakers. Please click here for more information.

Conference Dinner

Our conference dinner will be held at Powell and Moya’s magnificent Wolfson College, Oxford, founded by Sir Isaiah Berlin.

Important dates for your diary

  • 12 June 2017 – Deadline for Early Bird registration and confirmation by Paper and Workshop authors of their participation in the conference.
  • 3 July 2017 – Deadline for Case Study and Film submission. Also for Full Papers where author wishes to join the Peer Review Track in the Proceedings.
  • 7 August 2017 – Deadline for submission of Full Papers (non-Peer Reviewed Track), Workshop descriptions and Registration for participants who wish to be included in the conference proceedings. Notification of acceptance for Case Studies and Films.
  • 6 September 2017 – Publication of online Conference Proceedings. Conference launch.

To register, click here.

To find out more about the conference, click here.

We hope to welcome you to the conference in September.



Charrette Call for Contributions: From the Global South: Pedagogical Encounters in Architecture (Guest Editor Professor Ashraf Salama)


Special issue – Volume 5, Issue 1 – Spring 2018

 Guest Editor

Ashraf M Salama, PhD FRSA FHEA

Professor and Head of Architecture,

University of Strathclyde, Glasgow UK

Charrette, the journal of the Association of Architectural Educators (AAE), first published in 2013, is now well established as a pioneering journal for academics, practitioners, and theorists engaged in design teaching practices and theoretical debates.  For this issue (Volume 5, Issue 1), Charrette invites papers and essays that address positions, experiences, and experiments which are undertaken in the Global South by either local or international academics or both.


The main body of literature on architectural education and design pedagogy is primarily produced in the English-speaking world and is interrogated, debated, and reproduced mainly in the larger context of Western Europe and North America. The architectural academic community in other parts of the world; the Global South, is deeply influenced by such a discourse as well as by various pedagogical trends typically introduced in Western academia to reflect the needs of budding professionals and the profession of architecture at large. In essence, these represent tendencies that are instigated and practiced within the contextual particularities of Western academia including the ambitions and constraints of academic institutions, the professional milieu, and the way in which architecture is practiced and produced. Classically, such an influence manifests itself in the fact that in any discussion about pedagogy in architecture in Global South’ academia the discourse which characterizes the Global North dictates and thus overshadows opportunities for developing another parallel, or in fact different but equally important, discourse which can be generated and developed to address other unique particularities that characterize the Global South. The thrust here is not to create a competing discourse but to complement what is already there.

The Questions

This call for Volume 5 Issue 1 of Charrette maintains that architectural education discourse can be enriched and its scope can be expanded when both historical and contemporary imperatives are clearly contextualized. Issues of tradition, identity, modernity, vernacularism, post-colonialism, poverty, globalization are a few to name in this context. How they derive within architectural curricula and how they act as drivers for studio projects are two important points that potential contributors are invited to interrogate and debate. The presence of international professional and ethical standards which must apply equally to both Global North and Global South raises a third point on how international accreditation approaches and processes address the particularities of the Global South. Other points may include issues related to the way in which international partnership can inform studio practices in different parts of the world, and the potentials, validity, and effectiveness of international summer schools.

Possible Topics for Articles

Underlying the theme of “From the Global South: Pedagogical Encounters in Architecture” and the preceding questions contributions are invited to address one or more of these topics:

  • Tradition, Identity, and Modernity in Architectural Education
  • The Impact of Globalization on Design Studio Teaching Practices
  • Post-Colonial Discourse in Architectural Pedagogy
  • Poverty, Community Building, and Community Development
  • Virtual Design Studios and Global South/Global North Dialectics
  • International Accreditation: Approaches, Processes, and Experiences
  • Validity and Effectiveness of International Partnerships and Summer Schools

Submission Formats

  • Essays 5,000 – 8,000 words (including all references and endnotes). Essays must demonstrate their intellectual and theoretical context, method and data, and have a clear conclusion.
  • Projects 3,000 – 5,000 words (including all references and endnotes). Submissions to the Projects section will substitute traditional “academic” data with project work, so they are expected to include more images, diagrams, and illustrations.
  • Freespace 3,000 – 5,000 words. The Freespace allows for authors to develop accessible, provocative, and/or polemical work which may be written or illustrated.

 Submission Formats

Interested contributors are to contact Professor Ashraf M. Salama (ashraf.salama@strath.ac.uk) according to the following timeline:

  • 16 January 2017:                 Call for Contributions
  • 10 March 2017:                    Expression of interest (500 word outline)
  • 10 April 2017:                       Notification of selected contributions
  • 15 July 2017:                         Submission of full articles
  • 30 September 2017:           Notification of reviewers’ comments
  • 30 November 2017:            Submission of final revised articles
  • Spring (April 2018):           Publishing Date of Volume 5 – Issue 1

Download a PDF version of this call here.

Open committee meeting of the aae – 28/10/2015, Leicester School of Architecture

The Leicester School of Architecture at De Montfort University is delighted to welcome the committee of the Association of Architectural Educators (AAE) for an open edition of its periodic meeting.

Committed to the transparency of the Association, this meeting will be open to guests as the committee of the AAE discuss forthcoming issues of the AAE’s journal Charrette (ISSN 2054-6718), the 2016 AAE conference Research Based Education at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and other matters.

Please note – the precise room and building on the De Montfort University campus will be confirmed subject to numbers; attendees please refer to joining instructions sent within 48 hours of the meeting.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
De Montfort University – The Gateway Leicester LE1 9BH GB – View Map

To attend the open committee meeting, please book via Eventbrite here.