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Talks and lectures

Exploring ethics in practice

This seminar will explore the daily ethical dilemmas faced by architects, from employment decisions to selecting projects and specifying materials. You will have the opportunity to reflect on these ethical issues, discuss them with fellow professionals and decide how and why to take an ethical stance in today’s world.

Business of architecture: exploring ethics in practice

Architects face ethical dilemmas on a daily basis, from employment decisions to selecting projects and specifying materials. Whilst there is an increasing awareness of these challenging and sometimes complex issues, there are few opportunities to reflect and discuss them with fellow professionals and decide how best to take an ethical stance in today’s world.

The seminar will cover:

  • Your people: HR and employment best practice
  • Your projects: better projects: better outcomes
  • Your clients: how to influence the decision makers
  • Your supply chains: people and products
  • Social value: defining and improving your impact
  • Community work: how to work directly with community groups and consider varied perspectives
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals: a framework for ethical practice

The speakers will explore the topics above through practical scenario workshops, which will present examples from practice to encourage dialogue and debate. Some of the tools and materials available to support ethics, ethical decision-making and ethical practice will be explored and you will be guided through the significant evidence base around why it’s important for you and your practice to engage with these issues today. The speakers will challenge and discuss the evidence and data which currently mounts to a strong business case in favour of ethical and sustainable practice.

This session is for architects working in small, medium and large practices; those working both nationally and internationally. It will explore a broad evidence-base and scalable steps towards ethical practice.


Alasdair Ben Dixon, Collective Works
Alasdair is a founding partner of Collective Works and trustee of Architecture for Humanity UK. He has long held a commitment to finding a better way for architects to balance the needs of the wider community with the needs of their clients and stakeholders. During his career, he has advised on ethical issues within a large established practice, an architectural charity and in the day to day running of a small practice. He has been recognised for his work and is now contributing to the RIBA Commission on Ethics and Sustainable Development as well as speaking on topics such as responsibility and social value. Alasdair is also a fellow of the RSA.

Carys Rowlands, Royal Institute of British Architects
Carys Rowlands is a barrister and the Head of Professional Standards at the RIBA. Carys’ work for the RIBA involves professional standards, professional conduct issues, dispute resolution and ethics in architecture. Carys has written publications in collaboration with the UN Global Compact titled The UN Sustainable Development Goals in Practice and Ethics in Architectural Practice and has supported the RIBA Ethics and Sustainable Development Commission throughout 2018. Carys has also overseen the Institute’s external work on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and continues to lead the RIBA’s engagement with the work being undertaken across the industry, aiming to eliminate modern slavery in construction. Carys is passionate about raising standards of professionalism and driving forward ethical practice through debate and discussion.

Core Curriculum topics

  1. Architecture for social purpose
  2. Health, safety and well being
  3. Business, clients and services

Seminar fees

  • RIBA/CIAT members £46 + VAT
  • Non-RIBA members £92 + VAT
  • RIBA student members £15 + VAT

How to book

For more information on other seminars in Core CPD 2019, and Club Ticket booking, saving £160 per year, go to Core CPD 2019.

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