Professor Henrik Schoenefeldt
KSAP is a relatively new school, but over the last ten years it established itself as a school with a strong research culture. This has been shown in the new national research ranking of architecture schools within the UK, which were published in May 2022. In the Research Excellent Framework KASP came 6th place, reflecting the quality of its research as well as the practical impact of this research outside academia. Alongside larger research projects led by academic staff, it is our research students who are contributing towards the development of a research culture.
KSAP has current has over 45 doctoral students and they are undertaking research across a variety of academic disciplines. This diversity of research subjects reflect the cross-disciplinary character of architectural research, and it also reflect different ways in which architectural research, alongside its contribution to academic scholarly, can make contributions to the world of architectural practice.
As a result of the pandemic the last two years had been challenging for PhD students. For long periods supervisors could only see their students virtually.
This academic year, however, has seen normality to gradually return as restrictions are being lifted, and several initiatives were taken to re-establish as sense of community amongst researchers. At the start of the academic year we held a half-day symposium, which provided a forum for new and existing PhD students to share and discuss their research, which was also joined by academics staff.
During the autumn and Spring Term, we also held weekly PhD seminars. Despite the lifting of restrictions, these were conducted in a hybrid mode to increase inclusivity. It enabling those PGR students that were abroad for fieldwork, archival research or industry placements, to take part remotely. These seminars provided a forum for weekly gatherings, during students were able to share and discuss their individual research but also engage in open debates about some of the wider challenges of research in the built environment. These were also joined by personal supervisors as well as other academics from the school.
This year we took the initiative to establish an end-of-year conference for post-graduate students, which I hope will become an annual event, similar to the end of year show. The conference is entitled ‘Communicating the value of research,’ and has been funded through a grant from the Division of Arts and Humanities. The aim of the event is to explore the value of postgraduate research and how can be communicated in the contexts of academia, society or industry.
Although I had proposed the idea for an end-of-year conference, the event is organised by the PhD students themselves. Three students, Richi Mohanty, Marika Tomasi, Nicholas von Behr and Benedetta Castagna, have formed the core leadership team.
It through such events that PGR students are demonstrating that building and sustaining a research culture is a collaborative endeavour, bringing together research staff and students.