I am Professor of European Industrial Relations in the Westminster Business School (WBS) and responsible for a distinct programme of research in the Centre for the Study of the Production of the Built Environment (ProBE), a joint research centre spanning WBS and the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE). I have a rather chequered biography, being originally educated as an art/architectural historian at the Courtauld Institute, University of London and then, inspired by Reyner Banham, going on to the Bartlett Faculty of Architecture and Planning, University College London (UCL) to complete a Master’s degree in Architectural Studies (1972) followed by a PhD (University of London 1984) in the area of social and economic history - published as Building Capitalism by Routledge (1992, reprinted 2012). I was for many years employed as a researcher in the Building Economics Research Unit (BERU) at UCL and then joined WBS, University of Westminster, in 1992, first as a researcher in the Education, Training and the Labour Market Research Group and then as a Reader. In WBS I supervise Masters dissertations and PhD students and till recently lead the International HRM module of the Masters in HRM.
My overriding interests concern labour, vocational education and training (VET), labour history, and industrial relations and over the years I have undertaking research – largely of a comparative nature - on skills, VET, qualifications, wage relations, social protection, oral labour history, diversity, gender, migration and labour organisation in a range of European countries, east and west, sponsored by, amongst others: ESRC and EPSRC; European Commission (EC); the French Ministère de l’equipement; Greater London Authority; the Joseph Rowntree Trust; Leverhulme Foundation; Norwegian Work Research Institute; Nuffield Foundation; the States of Jersey; and different government Ministries. Much of this research has concerned the construction sector, about which I have particular expertise, and been undertaken in collaboration with social partners. Currently, I am preoccupied in ProBE with research on: a) building labour history, particularly focussed on the 1970s; b) VET and low energy construction; c) labour and climate transition; d) implementation of the European Qualifications Framework in the European construction sector; and e) blacklisting in the construction sector.
In addition to research I organise various seminars, events and conferences, including the regular monthly seminars of the London branch of the British Universities' Industrial Relations Association (BUIRA) and occasional seminars of the BUIRA Industrial Relations History Study Group, of which I am co-organiser. I am on the Board of the European Centre for Construction Labour Research (CLR – www.clr-news.org), a 500+ network with a regular Newsletter (CLR News), and involved in CLR GB, including with its regular newsletter. I am also: on the editorial boards of the Work, Employment and Society and Construction History journals; part of the International Expert Reference Group of the Work in a Warming World (W3) (www.workinawarmingworld.yorku.ca/, now ACW) project based at York University, Toronto, Canada ; member of the ESRC Review Panel; research proposal referee (e.g. ESRC, EPSRC); journal referee (e.g. Construction Management and Economics); conference abstract referee; and expert to the European Social Dialogue Committee (the European Construction Industry Federation - FIEC and the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers - EFBWW) for construction working group on Vocational Training.
Whilst at the Bartlett Faculty of Architecture and Planning, UCL, I contributed to the MSc in Building Economics and Management (aspects of labour in construction, labour economics and building history) and helped to devise, set up and teach the MSc in the Production of the Built Environment, as well as running the annual Bartlett International Summer School. Now, in WBS at the University of Westminster, I have till recently been responsible for the International HRM module and involved in the International Employment Relations module of the HRM Masters course , as well as supervising postgraduate and doctoral students. I am also invited to present lectures and seminars on a variety of courses at universities in Britain and abroad and act as PhD internal examiner and external examiner. As well as these teaching responsibilities, I am a member of the WBS Faculty Research Committee. I also appraise a number of departmental staff, guide and advise staff on research and publications, and am responsible for the implementation of international agreements on research and teaching collaboration and exchange – including with York University, Toronto.
My current and recent research projects include:
Inclusive Vocational Education and Training for Low Energy Construction, European Commission project led by European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) and European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), with 10 country partners (Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Spain), external expert (Prof. Linda Clarke, Dr. Colin Gleeson, Dr Melahat Sahin-Dikmen), January 2017-December 2018..
Housing and Labour: a pilot oral history of post-war council house building in England and Scotland, with Christine Wall, awarded as part of University Strategic Research Fund, Phase 3, began December 2017 to be completed July 2017
'Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Respond to Climate Change: Canada in International Perspective', Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Grant for $2,547,130.00 (plus a further $2.2 million in matching funding and contributions from partnering organizations), seven-year international research project, led by Professor Carla Lipsig-Mummé, professor of work and labour studies in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, Toronto, awarded August 2014, with Professor Linda Clarke (WBS) and Dr Colin Gleeson (fABE) as co-applicants and including 38 individual members and 19 partners in four countries.
Architecture and Building Labour: using oral and visual evidence to enrich policy and practice in the built environment, with Christine Wall, awarded as part of University Strategic Research Fund, Phase 2, began January 2016, completed July 2016
Wage Analysis in Globalisation faced by Europe (WAGE), partner in proposal for a network, submitted by Prof Michel-Pierre Chelini, Artois University, November 2015 to March 2017
'Raising the bar’ for the representation of women in the construction workforce, Thames Tideway Tunnel (TTT) project, from September 2014 to February 2015, with University of Loughborough as subcontractor.
Blacklisting Claims, in response to: ‘Instructions to Experts’ (Professor Linda Clarke and Dr Ian Fitzgerald), issued by Thompsons Solicitors LLP for and on behalf of the Claimants Solicitors Steering Group, from November 2014.
Transparency for Upholstering and Cabinet Making Qualifications and Quality in the European Furniture Industry, European Commission Leonardo project, October 2012-September 2014, internal evaluator role.
European Commission Leonardo project with Dr Michaela Brockmann on apprenticeships in the retail sector in four European Countries, began October 2011 for 2 years.
Constructing post-war Britain: building workers' stories 1950-70, a Leverhulme project, jointly with Christine Wall, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, began August 2010, part of Britain at Work 1945-1995, an umbrella group promoting projects related to the oral histories of workers, for which a cooperation agreement has been signed by a range of institutions.
Study on the protection of workers' rights in subcontracting processes in the European Union, with Ian Fitzgerald, Northumbria University, European Commission project coordinated by Consortium Ghent University - University of Amsterdam, 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011.
Main scientific partner responsible for the scientific coordination of a 2-year, 8 country project for the European Commission entitled Bricklaying Qualifications, work and VET in Europe, completed December 2010.
Olympic Builders Film Project: community film project, coordinated by Marker Ltd in association with the European Institute for Construction Labour Research, Margaret Dickinson (film-maker), launched July 2012.
A European skills framework: cross-national equivalence of vocational qualifications- Nuffield Foundation, March 2006 to January 2009, jointly with Prof. Christopher Winch of Kings College London.
Disability and labour market participation in ICT, health and construction in Norway, Britain and the Netherlands- Norwegian Work Research Institute funded by Norwegian Research Council, June 2005 to January 2009.
Migrant Labour in Construction, a project coordinated by COMPAS, University of Oxford, for Home Office Migration Advisory Committee, with Prof. Andrew Dainty (Loughborough University) and Paul Chan (University of Northumbria).
Diversity in Construction, jointly with London Metropolitan University for Greater London Authority, June 2006 - December 2007, GLA report published and launched February 2007.
People in Construction, ESRC seminar series.