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Honorary Degree of Doctor of Design for Jane Duncan OBE

Jane Duncan awarded Honorary Degree of Doctor of Design at UWE Bristol

05 August 2019

RIBA Immediate Past President Jane Duncan OBE has been awarded an Honorary Degree as Doctor of Design from UWE Bristol in recognition of pioneering work on sustainability, fire safety, and increased diversity in architecture.

Jane is director of Jane Duncan Architects Ltd, Little Chalfont, Bucks, a medium sized architectural and interior design practice established in 1992.

Trained at the Bartlett, University College London with a degree in Architecture, Town Planning and Building, diploma in Architecture and professional qualification, Jane practised from Hammersmith and Notting Hill Gate in London, before setting up Jane Duncan Architects in Amersham.

The practice specialises in high end residential schemes including bespoke sustainable houses, working on sites in the Green Belt, with historic and listed buildings, and tackles challenging commercial, education, leisure, and residential developments, school and community buildings, principally throughout the South of England.

Jane has been a campaigner for better business skills in architecture and fought an election for the RIBA Presidency in 2014 on a manifesto promising to increase diversity in the profession. Her initiatives included setting up the RIBA diversity Role Models, introducing mentoring and guidance, and Equality Diversity and Inclusion(EDI) policies for Chartered Practices, and the RIBA.

She has travelled the world as RIBA President talking to architects and students on the key issues to be tackled urgently, including sustainability, and the business case for increased diversity. In order to offer opportunities for all bright pupils to apply to study architecture, Jane spearheaded a change in the education of architects to enable diverse and affordable routes into the profession – now including Architecture Apprenticeships. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June 2018 for services to diversity in the profession.

Jane’s current drive is to influence the development of government regulation and improve the culture of quality and accountability in the profession, through the output of the RIBA’s Expert Panel of Fire Safety. She writes and speaks widely at professional panels and on the media and meets MPs and industry leaders about designing for people’s safety.

She lectures to students of architecture (and their tutors) to ensure that they demand the knowledge required for an awareness of designing for fire safety, as they enter the profession - from their initial sketches, to the technical design and construction of buildings in the future.

Jane chairs the RIBA Expert Panel on Fire Safety after Grenfell from 2017 to the present. She is President of the Architects Benevolent Society 2017 to 2020 and served as RIBA President from 2015 to 2017. Jane was the first RIBA Equality and Diversity Champion (2012 to 2015), and also Vice President for Practice and Profession RIBA, chair of RIBA Practice Committee 2007 to 2013, and a RIBA Board member from 2011 to 2017. She set up and steered the annual RIBA Small Practice business conference ‘Guerrilla Tactics’.

Jane is a member of the Amersham on the Hill Community Action Group and has chaired the revitalisation group since 2000. She is a steering group member of Equilibrium Network, aiming to reduce the attrition rates of women professionals and promote diversity in the industry, and is a founder of YADA, bringing together young architects and developers.

The Honorary Degree is awarded in recognition of Jane’s contribution to architectural education and the architectural profession.

Biography provided by UWE Bristol

Jane Duncan OBE, UWE Bristol

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