conference 2014

‘Living and Learning’ was the second International conference of the aae. It took place from 3rd September to 5th September at the University of Sheffield School of Architecture, UK.

Visit the conference website for further information including films of the keynote lectures:

The full conference proceedings are available here:


Hosted by the University of Sheffield School of Architecture, ‘Living and Learning’ explored the notion of ‘liveness’, not just as experienced through live projects, but expanded to consider different forms of community participation and civic engagement, material and constructed interventions. The conference offered a platform for critical reflection on the most recent wave of ‘live’ innovations in design studio teaching and beyond. Centred on architecture education, contributions were invited from any disciplinary context which might offer insight and spark critical debate.

Questions explored included:

What are the various understandings of the term ‘live’ in relation to pedagogy?

What is the theoretical basis for ‘going live’ in our teaching?  Where are the parallels with other disciplines and how might these challenge or enrich our practices?

What are the different motivations for ‘liveness’ and how does it operate at different stages of architectural education?

What does ‘live’ mean in online, digital environments?

How do the responsibilities of ‘liveness’ co-exist with risk-taking, play and experimentation?

Challenging the traditional conference model, re-inventing it as a social and spatial event, ‘Living and Learning’ developed a more varied feast of exchanges and offerings, with reading groups, performances, workshops and other activities taking place alongside more conventional conference activities. Events were held both within the University, its Architecture School and elsewhere in the city, aiming to engage a wider audience of students and members of the public in the debate around architectural education.

 The various kinds of contributions included:

1) Peer-Reviewed Papers: Reading Group Individual papers submitted for peer-review were explored at the conference through round-table reading groups. Participants were given the opportunity to read papers beforehand and then discuss two or three papers following five minute introductions by the authors.

2) Peer-Reviewed Papers: Thematic Symposium Symposia were constructed around themes and included a series of presentations (2-4) which summarised the associated peer-reviewed papers, stimulating discussion and/or related activity as part of the session.

3) Magic Moments An opportunity to share moments in teaching that have worked really well, through a show-and-tell. Where appropriate, this was extended into a workshop that allowed the participants to also try out an activity/technique; whether as learner or as teacher.

4) Art Piece: Performance/Installation/Critical Art Piece An arts-based comment or exploration of some aspect of ‘live’ learning and teaching. Any medium could be proposed.

5) Going Live A ‘long thin’ workshop, which aimed towards the development of a learning and teaching resource or output of some kind. Going Live called for the sketch of an idea for a new resource or output which might then be further developed and populate with colleagues during the conference. e.g. a web platform ready to take examples offered by the conference delegates during coffee breaks and lunchtimes; a polemical written piece of work with multiple authors etc. Participants were invited to offer a workshop to kick-start the initiative, or simply announce it during a plenary session, then have a presence in shared spaces and invite participation.

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