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architecture student and supervisor

Finding a supervisor

We are committed to providing quality training and supervision for all research students.

Our staff engage with ongoing research projects in the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, South East Asia and the US. We focus on three distinct areas of research:

  • social studies of architecture, architectural history and theory
  • the politics of urban infrastructures
  • transfers and networks of architectural expertise.

Although we welcome applications for research degrees on any subject, our staff also have particular topics they are keen to supervise. Topics on which academic staff currently welcome PhD proposals include:

  • anthropology of architectural production
  • mobility of architectural discourse
  • pragmatist turn in architecture
  • the politics of construction
  • transdisciplinarity in architecture
  • zero-carbon architectures.

Research opportunities

Dr Isabelle Doucet

1970s experimental and radical practice

Relationship between politics and aesthetics in architectural postmodernism, counter-projects, radical architectural education. 

Agency and transdisciplinarity

Interaction between the discipline and profession of architecture and urban design, theory and/or practice as a locus of critique, practice-based research, everyday culture, space appropriation, architecture and agency.

The critical project in architecture

Transformations in architectural critical thinking since 1968, counter-projects and counterculture, the practice-turn in architecture, pragmatist and relational perspectives in architectural theory. 

The practice turn in architecture

Pragmatist and relational perspectives in architectural theory, architectural production at the intersections of the social and material, concepts/ideas and implementation/materialisation, and design and use. 

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Dr Deljana Iossifova

China and the world

The history and reality of the Chinese urban condition, both within the country and in comparison with/in relation to other countries.

Transdisciplinary urbanism

The study and development of new, integrated research and practice paradigms which acknowledge urban complexity at various spatial scales and incorporate economic, social, spatial and environmental considerations.

Urban Asia and South-East Asia (special focus on Japan, China and India)

Studies of (sociospatial) transitions in urban and urbanising Asia. Inquiries can be related to migration, gentrification, sanitation, socio-spatial identities, coexistence and many other aspects of sociospatial transformation.

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Dr Andrew Karvonen

  • Critical studies of cities and sustainability, resilience, and liveability
  • Historical and contemporary studies of urban infrastructure
  • Tensions between nature and the city
  • The politics of urban laboratories and experimentation
  • Urban development and citizenship.

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Dr Leandro Minuchin

Material methodologies

Alternative methods in architecture research, construction and action research. Material and visual ethnographies.

Modern material sensibilities

Materiality and urban imaginations in Latin American literature and cinema from 1920 to 1950. Tensions between language and construction: the work of Roberto Arlt and Martínez Estrada.

New materialisms

Post-foundational theories, articulation, assemblages and construction as theoretical nodes. Architecture, construction and the political. 

The politics of construction construction practices in Latin America

Building cooperatives, construction firms and materiality as a site for experimentation and organisation. Material networks, techno-popular knowledges of construction and land-struggle in Latin America. Construction and the repertoire for contentious politics. Urban social movements, anti-capitalist manifestos and local politics. 

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Dr Lukasz Stanek

Architecture and social research

Critical debates, empirical applications, and political conditions since 1960s until today. Learning from Henri Lefebvre, neo-Marxism, CERFI, institutional analysis, post-structuralism, regulation theory, Science and Technology Studies. Materialist epistemologies of architecture.

Architecture and urban planning in socialism and after

A comparative perspective on Central Europe; knowledge transfer from socialist countries to the Global South and its consequences for global conditions of urbanization today; non-capitalist economies of architecture; “real existing modernism”; urban landscapes of post-socialism.

Global modernism

Rethinking, modification, questioning, and transformation of modernism as the techno-cultural mode of global urbanization since the 1960s. Alternative globalisation (“mondialisation”) of architecture and planning: socialist, Third-World, Non-Aligned, OPEC. History of architecture as a part of global labour history and its methodological challenges: distributed authorship, global division of labour, network analysis, “planetary urbanization”.

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Dr Stephen Walker

I would be happy to supervise PhD students within my own research areas:

  • art and architecture
  • architecture and critical theory
  • the architectures of fairs and fairgrounds, seaside or temporary architecture
  • architecture and the body
  • architectural history and critical historiography.

I am interested in interdisciplinary approaches and supervisory arrangements. In my previously institution, I was involved in cross-departmental and cross-Faculty supervision with colleagues in English, Landscape, Sociology, and the Management School. Within my own group of students, there have been those registered for PhD by written research, PhD by design and PhD by practice.

I have examined PhDs in the UK, Australia and Spain. Before moving to Manchester, I was Director of the Graduate School, later Director of PhD Programmes, and between 2013-14 I was PhD Admissions & Progression Tutor at The University of Sheffield School of Architecture. There, I was also responsible for the coordination and delivery of the Advanced Research Training modules taken by all PhD students in the School of Architecture, and was part of the University Research Ethics and Integrity (REI) Working Group (2010–2012) which designed the research training provision for the Faculty REI core module for PhD students, designed and delivered with colleagues Dr Ruth Stirton (Law) and Dr. Simon Warren (Education). I was Faculty PGR tutor in 2013, and was more recently involved in the Faculty PhD working groups for both GTA and cohort recruitment.

I was the Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA) Annual International PhD Symposium organizer in 2010, and organized the event again in April 2016.

In my previous institution, I worked with the following PhD students through to the completion of their degrees:

1st and Joint Supervisor

  • Dr. Nadia Mounajjed, Rethinking the Body, Memory and Architecture in the Age of Digital Techtonics (with Chengzhi Peng). Completed, 2007
  • Dr. Seyed Nader Pourmosavi, Urban Renewal Policies: A Critical Analysis of Urban Renewal Policies in Iran, 1286–1400 AH/1907–2020 AD. Completed 2011
  • Dr. Ruth Blacksell, Typography After Conceptual Art (Concordat Scholarship Studentship) Completed 2013
  • Dr Sara Mahdizadeh, Critical Analyses of the Existing Situation of Historical Gardens, Garden Conservation and Heritage Before and After the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Completed 2014
  • Dr Paula McCloskey, Maternal Experience, Subjectivity and Art Encounters (with Jenny Hockey, Emeritus Professor of Sociology) Completed 2014
  • Dr Lakshmi Priya Rajendran, Understanding User-Space Relationships: A Phenomenological Approach (with Rosie Parnell) Completed 2014
  • Dr Catherine Heatherington, Disordered Narratives: Public Perception and Understanding of Regenerated Derelict Industrial Landscapes (with Anna Jorgensen, Department of Landscape) Completed 2015
  • Dr Maryam Fazel, Locative Media: From Transcendental Technologies to Socio-Formative Spheres (with Mark Meagher) Completed 2015
  • Dr Ruxandra Berinde, Moving Images Of Home: Architectural Autobiographies in Cinema (with Renata Tyszczuk) Completed 2015
  • Dr Sukaina Almousa, The Experience of Temporary Architecture: Tracing the Narrative and the Body/Mind Journey in Installation Art (with Mark Meagher) Completed 2016
  • Dr Alona Martinez Perez, The Architecture of the Periphery. Completed 2016

2nd Supervisor

  • Dr. Kim Trogal, Affective Urban Practices: A Feminist Approach to the Ethics of Care in Contemporary Urban Practice (with Doina Petrescu) Completed 2012
  • Dr Rully Damayanti, Adding Meaning to Lynch’s Theory of Imageability (with Florian Kossak) Completed 2015
  • Dr Chwas A Sabr, Regulations and Urban Form: A typo-morphological analysis of Erbil City (with Florian Kossak) Completed 2016
  • Dr Sam Vardy, Self-Organised Architecture (with Doina Petrescu) Completed 2017
  • Dr Jianyu Chen, Yingzao fayuan: The Conflicts and Harmonies between Two Chinese Architectural Education Systems in 1923-1937 (final stage supervisor following the death of Prof. Peter Blundell Jones) Completed 2017
  • Dr Derong Kong, The Dong Oral Architecture: Carpenter, Architecture and Phenomena Among the Dong (final stage supervisor following the death of Prof. Peter Blundell Jones) Completed 2017
  • Dr Sadiq Abid, An Examination of Heritage Protection and Conservation Practices in the Pilgrim City of Najaf (with Jo Lintonbon, final stage 2nd supervisor following the death of Prof. Peter Blundell Jones) Completed 2017
  • Dr Kate Kilalea, OK, Mr. Field (with Adam Piette, School of English) Completed 2017

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Dr Albena Yaneva

Cognitive anthropology of architecture

Situating the relevance and limits of knowledge practices related to design. Ecology of design practice: pragmatist approaches to architecture. Rethinking the epistemological basis of architecture studies.

Digital architectural studies

The introduction of digital methods in the field of architecture and urban studies. Mapping networks. Digital design epistemology.

Object-oriented politics in architecture: from construction to composition

Cosmopolitics. Politics of materials and affected communities. The architectural presentation: techniques and situated politics, cognitive styles and forms of public action. Urban design: objects, things, hybrids, public affectedness, iconicity and ontological politics.

The epistemological offerings of science and technology studies (STS)

Relevance and limits for the analysis of cities, architectural design, and urbanism; critical discussion of the use of specific methods, concepts and insights from STS in the design disciplines; Actor-Network-Theory as a new method of empirical enquiry in the field of architecture. Architecture-in-the-making. Art-in-the-making. Comparative studies of sites of techno-science: the surgery room, the artist studio, the market, the aircraft, the architectural office.

The ontological turn in Architecture Studies

Theorising architecture ethnographically. ‘Slow’ and ‘quick’ modes of exploring urban phenomena. Socio-material re-description of design practice. Ethnography of design: infra-reflexivity, multi-sited nature, multi-temporality and sensory engagement, political commitment.

Urban controversies

Analysis and visualisation of debates surrounding contested urban knowledge, architectural projects and design visions. Mapping Controversies. Theorising networks, spheres and cosmograms.

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