Voices of Experience: The women making modern Scotland

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Voices of Experience: Women making modern Scotland

‘Voices of Experience’ is a collaborative project which choreographs site-based conversations between architects at different stages of their career. It originated in a conversation between a practising architect and an architect educator, frustrated with the perennial blind spot in formal professional discourse and cultural consciousness of the range and depth of work of women architects. The project formed part of the Glasgow Women’s Library’s 25th Anniversary Autumn Programme (2016) and is the start of an on-going audio archive.

Motivated by the lack of experiential (hi)stories of architectural practice and projects, and with ambition to steward new practice-based disciplinary stories, the project constructs a series of conversations between a highly experienced architect and an architect at the outset of their career who have a project site or thematic concern in common. The contextual focus is late twentieth century Scotland, at a time when building Scotland again offers a foregrounded clarity to the social and public purpose of architecture (Building Scotland, Alan Reiach and Robert Hurd, 1938; Rebuilding Scotland, The Postwar vision 1945-1975, Miles Glendinning, 1997). Contributors to the project have included architect Margaret Richards (formerly of RMJM), conservation architect Fiona Sinclair, architect/historian Dorothy Bell, teacher/architect Anne Duff. They were joined by Mairi Laverty, Nicola Mclachlan, Cathy Houston and Emma Fairhurst of Collective Architecture, Glasgow. Over a series of autumn site days, they discussed their work and shared their experience of working within Cumbernauld New Town, Glasgow Necropolis, Linlithgow and Edinburgh’s historic centre. Insights include how architects discover their preoccupations, strengths, range and niche through different working relationships and formats; resonating experiences of women entering into architectural education decades apart; and the making and remaking of homes and work at different stages of life and outlook.

The paper reflects on the methodology of the parallel site-based conversations, audio archiving and editing, and how this might offer a new mode of researching and communicating the practice-based knowledge of architecture, which may contribute an augmented historical lens on the women making modern Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
EventAA Women and Architecture in Context 1917-2017 - Architectural Association, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Nov 20174 Nov 2017


ConferenceAA Women and Architecture in Context 1917-2017
Abbreviated titleAA xx 100
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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