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The social art of architecture is both an intellectual pursuit and a practical endeavour, and so it matters that practice is embedded into the education of an architect. The skills of an architect may begin at university, but are honed in practice which feeds back into the evolution of architects. In the midst of the most damaging and philistine approach to funding all higher education, which threatens to reverse more than half a century of achievements, does the future of architecture and education of architects require a creative rethink?

Professor Katharine Heron

Professor Katharine Heron is Head of the Department of Architecture at the University of Westminster and was first appointed as Chair of the Department in 1997. Educated at the Architectural Association and a registered architect, she was course leader of Professional Studies from 1994-2001. During her tenure as Head of Department she has been an active member of SCHOSA and its chair for four years. She chaired the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement review of Architecture published in 2010, and has been a strong advocate for close working relationships between academia, and the professional and regulatory bodies RIBA and ARB, to provide more streamlined processes for validation with greater flexibility. She has been an external examiner to many UK universities, and is a member of the RIBA Education Committee. She was appointed to the Advisory Panel of the Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne. She was a principal of the award-winning and widely published Feary + Heron Architects, and remains closely engaged with practice, and practice as research.

Katharine is also Director of Ambika P3, and this dramatic former construction hall is re-used to host events relating to the creative industries from within the university and in partnership with others. It is active project space and a laboratory and showcase for new work. It is attracted 40,000 visitors in 2011 alone, confirming the University’s position in London’s cultural scene.

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