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Association of Architectural Educators Conference 2023

Productive Disruptive AAE conference

12-15 July 2023, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK.

Productive-Disruptive: spaces of exploration in-between architectural pedagogy and practice

"Many of us tried to answer why the architecture course is so far away from the real world. However, a question about why the real world of architecture is so far away from the imagination and the creativity of the architecture course could be posed too.'' (MArch1 student reflection, 2018)

The Association of Architectural Educators (AAE) 2023 Conference will bring together architectural academics, students, practitioners and built environment stakeholders to collectively question the productive/disruptive capacity of ‘gaps’ between architectural education, architectural practice, and current social, economic and environmental challenges.

The relationship between architectural pedagogy and practice has been under review ever since their formalisation. As architectural educators at the Welsh School of Architecture, we have witnessed a shift amongst master's degree students returning from a year out in practice. More of their design and research projects are interrogating the adequacy of architectural education and practices’ responses to global crises in environment, race, economy, health, equality and justice. Their critiques and sense of urgency extend beyond questions of gaps between pedagogy and practice, framing broader requisites of ethical practice.

The question of whether graduating students are ready for practice is thus now increasingly interwoven with the question of whether practice is ready for them.

  • How might the gap between architectural education and architectural practice be probed to productively expose and disrupt ways of working which are no longer fit for purpose?
  • What are potential intermediary roles in proposing effective drivers for change?
  • How can architectural education, including curriculum design, evolve to better address the issues and challenges that cities and societies face?

This conference will invite contributions which explore the productive/disruptive capacity of gaps between architectural pedagogy, practice, and the global context they shape and respond to, exploring spaces between expectation and experience; autonomy and collaboration; learning and becoming; idealisation and consequence; professional, conceptual and physical boundaries; and which propose and test definitions of expertise, agency, power, value and success in-between architectural education and practice.

Productive-Disruptive: spaces of exploration in-between architectural pedagogy and practice will be held at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, between 12-15 July 2023 and will offer dedicated online session options. We encourage collaborations between educators, practitioners, students, and stakeholders in the built environment.

Keynote sessions

Wednesday 12 July 1700-1900

Summit with Muyiwa Oki, RIBA President Elect, Dan Benham, RSAW President-elect and Charlie Edmonds, Civic Square and Future Architects Front - Sponsored by Arcadis. Bute Building, 0.66 Exhibition Hall
Open to all - register here

Thursday 13 July 1730-1830

Andrew Freear, Rural Studio - open to registered aae2023 conference delegates
Bute Building, 0.66 Exhibition Hall.

Friday 14 July 1130-1230

Immy Kaur, Civic Square - open to registered aae2023 conference delegates
Bute Building, 0.66 Exhibition Hall.

Saturday 15 July 1000-1200

Creative interventions to building neighbourhoods - workshop with Common Wealth theatre, Grange Pavilion.
Open to all - register here

Key dates

29 September 2022 Call for papers and workshop proposals
16 November 2022 Deadline for abstract submissions for papers and workshop proposals
14 December 2022 Notification of acceptance / Registration opens
31 January 2023 Early bird registration deadline
1 March 2023 Deadline for draft papers for peer review feedback
3 May 2023 Deadline for full papers for conference proceedings
5 July 2023 Deadline for registration
12 July 2023 Conference evening launch event
13-14 July 2023 Conference paper and workshop sessions
15 July 2023 Conference field trips

Call for submissions

We invite contributions which celebrate the productive/disruptive capacity of gaps between architectural pedagogy and practice to broaden understandings, challenge assumptions, nurture ambitions, expand boundaries, invite collaborations, and test and put into practice new ideas.

Paper and workshop themes could include (but are not restricted to):

Pedagogy urgently productively disrupting practice and vice versa: are graduates ready for practice or is practice ready for graduates; gaps in inclusion in education and practice; skills, behaviours and codes of conduct; individual autonomy or collaborative practice; assessment and metrics of success; concepts of failure and risk; unintended outcomes; commodification of education; routes into and through architecture; pedagogy in practice; idealisations and consequences of live projects; pedagogy and practice in a climate crisis.

Ethical and political productions/disruptions:  moral and philosophical duties of care; voluntourism and saviour syndrome; architecture as activism in pedagogy and practice; feminist perspectives; postcolonial and decolonising perspectives; critiques of modes of production; concepts of value; social and cultural capital and the production of the built environment; complicity and responsibility; gaps between architects’ idealisations and stakeholders’ interests.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary modes of production and disruption: boundaries of expertise; collaboration, co-production, power and agency; multi and inter-disciplinary pedagogy and practice; translations from concept to action; communicating and acting across and between disciplines; digital and physical modes of production; multi-disciplinary methodologies.

Conference contributions will include:

  • 3000-6000 papers (inclusion in conference proceedings and a 20-minute presentation at the conference)
  • Workshop proposals (may be proposed as up to 1 to 1.5 hour workshops)
  • A1 poster Case Study proposals (may include models if transported by author)
  • Films (specify length – maximum 10 minutes)

Abstracts will be double-blind peer reviewed by the AAE 2023 organising committee. All papers accepted for the conference will be included in full online conference proceedings and will also be invited to submit proposals for papers in a special issue of Charrette, the journal of the aae.

Abstract submissions are now closed, please contact us to enquire about conference attendance.

AAE committee members

  • Professor Jane Anderson (School of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University)
  • Dan Jary (School of Architecture, University of Sheffield)
  • Professor Hannah Vowles (Birmingham City School of Architecture and Design)
  • Julian Williams (School of Architecture and Cities, University of Westminster)

Charrette editors

  • Dr Annie Bellamy (Architecture and the Built Environment, UWE Bristol)
  • Dr Davide Landi (Architecture and the Built Environment, UWE Bristol)

Book your place

Register for a place.

Register now

Contact the organisers

Productive-Disruptive: spaces of exploration in-between architectural pedagogy and practice is organised by:

  • Caroline Almond
  • Dr Steve Coombs
  • Professor and WSA Head of School Juliet Davis
  • Dr Ed Green
  • Dr Julie Gwilliam
  • Dr Shan Shan Hou
  • Professor Mhairi McVicar (Chair)
  • Sarah O'Dwyer
  • Professor Andrew Roberts
  • Professor Magda Sibley
  • Yasser Mehahed
  • Melina Guirnaldos Diaz

at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University UK, and is an Association of Architectural Educators (AAE) conference.

To get in touch with the conference organisers, please contact


Aae 2023 Productive-Disruptive Keynotes include:

  • Immy Kaur - Civic Square
  • Charlie Edmonds - Civic Square And Future Architects Front
  • Andrew Freear - Rural Studio
  • Muyiwa Oki - Mace Group And Riba President-Elect
  • Immy Kaur - Civic Square
  • Charlie Edmonds - Civic Square And Future Architects Front
  • Andrew Freear - Rural Studio
  • Muyiwa Oki - Mace Group And Riba President-Elect

Immy Kaur, Civic Square

Throughout her decade-long career, Immy has focused on convening and building community, the role of citizens in radical systemic change, and how we together create more democratic, distributed open-source social and civic infrastructure. Through this work, she has discovered much about economic justice and broader injustices, the pivotal role of land and social/civic infrastructure in neighbourhoods, and the value extracted from communities through our broken investment models. It’s an ongoing journey of discovery, emergence and learning together.

Immy is a Co-Founder and Director of CIVIC SQUARE. CIVIC SQUARE is a public square, neighbourhood lab, and creative + participatory platform focused on regenerative civic and social infrastructure within neighbourhoods. Immy is part of a creative and dynamic leadership team who works alongside the local neighbourhood, to offer a bold approach to visioning, building and investing in civic infrastructure for neighbourhoods of the future.

Charlie Edmonds, Civic Square and Future Architects Front

Charlie is the Dark Matter Designer at CIVIC SQUARE and a freelance writer on architecture and the built environment as it relates to labour and climate. His writing has appeared in the Architectural Review, Building Design Magazine, and The Architects' Journal. Charlie holds a Master's in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Cambridge where he co-founded the Future Architects Front with Priti Mohandas. FAF is a grassroots organisation driving political action through architecture towards a future of social and ecological justice. Charlie's work at CIVIC SQUARE revolves around the challenge of retrofit: how to decarbonise our neighbourhoods at scale, and how this can be organised through hyperlocal social movements and governance.

Andrew Freear, from Yorkshire, England, is Director of Rural Studio at Auburn University.

For over two decades Freear has lived in rural Newbern, Alabama, a town with a population of 187, where he runs a program that questions the conventional education and role of architects. His students have designed and built more than 220 community buildings, homes, and parks in their under-resourced community. He is a teacher, designer, builder, advocate, and liaison between local authorities, community partners, and students.

Freear’s work has been published extensively, and he regularly lectures around the world. He has designed and built exhibits at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, the Whitney Biennial, and the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, as well as the Milan Triennale and the Venice Biennale.

His honors include the Ralph Erskine Award, the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, and the Architecture Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Freear was a 2018 Loeb Fellow at Harvard University and in 2020 received the President’s Medal from the Architectural League of New York, the League’s highest honor. In 2021, he was inducted as a National Academician into the National Academy of Design and this Fall 2022, Rural Studio received the National Design Award in Architecture / Interior Design from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.