November 28 2022 [1 h + 36 min]
Director of the Architectural and Urban History and Theory PhD Programme
Professor, Bartlett School of Architecture
University College London UCL
Interviewers in order of participation:
Federica Goffi CRIPTIC Chair, PhD & MAS Program Co-Chair ASAU, CU
& Simone Fallica PhD Student ASAU, CU
Sharmeen Dafedar PhD Student ASAU, CU
Mahsa Esmailpour MAS Student ASAU, CU
Stephanie Murray MAS Student ASAU, CU
In –InterVIEW/LISTEN 10–Dr. Sophia Psarra discussed her role as Director of the Architectural and Urban History and Theory PhD Programme at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL) in the UK, where she is a Professor of Architecture and Spatial Design. Dr. Psarra offered an overview of the five doctoral programs at the Bartlett School of Architecture, explaining how they are differentiated from each other. Next, she discussed her role as PhD Program Director of the Architectural and Urban History and Theory PhD Programme, defining the uniqueness of the interdisciplinary program in which students can collaborate with other departments within UCL. The interview includes a discussion on the research media and methods students undertake to define emerging questions and arrive at their contributions to knowledge, defining the inherent agency and originality of their work. Finally, she discussed the role of the supervisor and the advisory committee.
Dr. Psarra spoke about the fruitful interaction between the Architectural and Urban History and Theory PhD and the PhD by Design Program, which share a critical engagement with history, theory, contemporary issues and the role of the architect in society. All the seminars are shared between the two programs, and there is an annual conference and exhibition on which the programs collaborate. Dr. Psarra also commented on emerging Doctoral Training Centres (DTC) in the UK that rely on funding from the UK Research Councils (RCUK) to develop specific disciplinary and interdisciplinary questions. Schools can apply to host a DTC program based on calls launched by the UK Research Council.
In the second part of the interview, Dr. Psarra offered insights into her research work addressing questions of authorship, narrative plurality, and architecture as an instrument of power, based on a number of her writings, including her book, Architecture and Narrative, published by Routledge in 2009, which deals with architecture as a semi-autonomous object. Finally, the interview concluded with reflections on her latest book, The Venice Variations, published by UCL Press 2018, also available in open access.