LKE Ozolins Studentship

LKE Ozolins PhD Studentship

The RIBA LKE Ozolins Studentship is awarded to a student who wishes to pursue, continue, or complete a higher degree in research (PhD/MPhil or MRes). For more information, please contact Hayley Russell at  

2013 Studentship 


Practising Firstsite (10 ways to misuse a visual arts centre) with Diana Wesser as urban (col)laboratory, Firstsite, Colchester (UK).
Collaborative performance part of 'Playing With Space' filmscreenings and performances.
LOVE Architecture 2012. Photo by Lawrence Bradby
Copyright: Helen Stratford

Congratulations to Helen Stratford who was awarded the 2013 Studentship for her PhD research on 'Performative Architectures' at the University of Sheffield. She describes her research below:

'Architecture produces certain ways of behaving, yet requires movement and interaction with the body to be understood. In this inter-relationship, buildings and public space are perhaps better understood as “performative conditions” – “acting on us and activated by us.” (Petrescu-2007) This PhD research asks: what new spatial knowledge can performative research bring to the understanding and production of architecture and urban politics in public space? Going beyond an examination of works and practices, it proposes a research-based architectural practice that uses performance-based methodologies and practices to research and produce space, asking, how does such practice differ from conventional architectural practice and what kind of space does it produce?

I have an established research-based architectural practice involving site-specific, collaborative and performance-based practices. This practice-led PhD research will develop this practice, while establishing an original theoretical and practical framework for considering Performative Architectures in relation to spatial production. Research methods will include researching other artists and practices, establishing a theoretical framework and developing practice-based ‘tools,’ focusing on Performative Architectures as design practice. Drawing on models from practice-led research in art practice and concepts of performativity from performance studies and feminist theories, Performative Architectures will investigate implications for alternate models of practice-based knowledge production in architecture.

In visual and live-art, growing numbers of people and groups are working between concepts of art, architecture and performance. Simultaneously, within architectural practice and theory, the idea of the performative has become prevalent. However, whilst prevalent, the term is still readily conflated with performance, formal design, or material technologies, rather than architecture as a social-space. Few examples exist of foregrounding performativity, and architecture, through active terms that “foreground performance as a site of group co-ordination in space over time.” (Jackson 2011) The research will offer significant and original insights for architecture, art, geography and researchers/practitioners working within participatory and socially-engaged practices. Ultimately it will bring a rigorous conceptual framework to an otherwise poorly articulated area, while opening up significant dialogues between social sciences, performance studies, live/visual art and architecture.'


Doina Petrescu, presentation at Performative Architectures discussion event at the Showroom, London, October 2011. Also see: Acting Space in URBAN/ACT, aaa-peprav, Paris 2007 p. 319.

Shannon Jackson, Social Works: performing art, supporting publics, Routledge, London 2011.


Helen Stratford is a practising architect and artist. Located between art, architecture and performance, her practice-led interdisciplinary research has been supported by major architecture and art bodies including RIBA, Arts Council England (ACE) and Escalator Live/Visual/Digital Art (ACE East’s talent development programme). She holds a MA in Architecture and Critical Theory from Nottingham University, and Diploma and BA (Hons.) in Architecture from Cambridge and Sheffield Universities respectively. Her work and research is internationally recognised: presented in the context of the 9th International AHRA Conference London, PSI#17 Utrecht, Metropolis Biennale Copenhagen, ICA, Tate Modern London, Wysing Arts Centre Cambridge, Opera House Leipzig, Barnard College New York, École Des Beaux Arts Paris and Akademie Solitude Stuttgart. Publications include Mechanical Operations in Cambourne, (Marmalade), chapters: Unpleasant Matters in Material Matters: Architecture and Material Practice Katie Lloyd Thomas (ed.), Microstrategies of Resistance in Altering Practices: Feminist Politics and Poetics of Space, Doina Petrescu (ed.) (both Routledge), papers in ARQ and JAE. Currently, she is an architect at MOLE Architects, studio artist Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge and is completing her PhD part-time at Sheffield University under the supervision of Prof. Doina Petrescu.

Past recipients of the RIBA LKE Ozolins Studentship:

2011 - Ross Exo Adams (PhD at London Consortium)

2008 - Henrik Schoenfeldt (PhD at Cambridge University)

2007 - Annekatrin Hultzsch (PhD at the Bartlett School of Architecture) and Kim Trogal (PhD at Sheffield University)

2005 - Doreen Bernath (PhD at the Architectural Association)

2004 - Gwyn Lloyd-Jones (PhD at the University of Westminster)

2001 - Ines Geisler (PhD at the Architectural Association)

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