Professor Naomi Stead, Leanne Haidar, and Nicole Mesquita-Mendes. Helen Lochhead moderating.
The session at Symposium in 2022 reports on two recent, major research projects addressing mental wellbeing amongst architecture students and practitioners. A collaboration between SONA and researchers at Monash University, the session will report on key findings, discuss implications, and propose ways forward to address current problems, and avoid the ‘lost opportunity’ of diverse and talented people leaving the profession.
Every talented person who leaves architecture represents a lost opportunity: a loss of their unique set of ideas, skills, and perspectives, the work they could have done, the buildings they could have designed, the ideas they could have brought to the table. It also, potentially, represents a loss of diversity in the profession – if people from particular demographics are more likely to find architecture untenable, they will leave, and their viewpoints and perspectives will be lost. If we agree that the built environment should be designed by a group of people as diverse as those who use it, then this too is a significant lost opportunity. Two recent bodies of research have definitively shown there are wellbeing issues amongst architecture students, and practitioners of architecture, in Australia. These are more than the ’normal’ stress and pressure of a demanding job or course of study: the evidence shows that there are systemic issues in architectural cultures, work practices and the structure of the industry, which are adversely affecting the architectural workforce, including its pipeline of students. There is danger of a major lost opportunity in the future: the research shows that while many students and practitioners are engaged with, inspired by, and passionate about architecture, they are also significantly stretched, with some pessimism about the future of the profession, and they are not always inclined to recommend it to others as a career.
This presentation in two parts, a collaboration between SONA and researchers at Monash University, would report on the key findings of recent, major research projects addressing mental wellbeing amongst architecture students and practitioners, discuss the implications of the findings, and propose ways forward to address current problems, and avoid the ‘lost opportunity’ of diverse and talented people leaving the profession.