The Bartlett School of Architecture


Economies of Exhaustion: The Ethics of Academic, Architectural, Artistic Labour

05 February 2020, 2:00 pm–5:00 pm

Modern Times © Roy Export S.A.S.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







The Bartlett School of Architecture


Room 6.02
The Bartlett School of Architecture
22 Gordon Street
United Kingdom


Following the UCU strikes of December 2019, which raised pay and conditions as a pressing issue for academics, discussions of work and labour have risen up the union’s agenda. 

At the first event in a new series, Professors Jane Rendell and Peg Rawes host talks and conversations around the theme of ‘economies of exhaustion’, drawing on debates in critical university studies and feminism around care and precarity, as well as ecology, equity and ethics. Discussions will cross-cut with university initiatives around equality, diversity and inclusivity and responses to the climate emergency, exploring contemporary concerns regarding work and labour. 

The first conversation, chaired by Jane Rendell, through The Bartlett Ethics Commission, includes presentations from Claudia Dutson, Elisavet Hasa, Sophie Hope, Jenny Richards, David Roberts and Igea Troiani, and will focus on work and labour in art, architecture and academia.

Wandering Womb Mobile Staffroom by Manual Labours (Sophie Hope and Jenny Richards), Effy Harle and Finbar Prior, 2018.


14:00 – 14:15 | Introductions 

A short introduction from Professor Jane Rendell (The Bartlett Ethics Commission) and Kamna Patel (Vice Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at The Bartlett)

14:15 – 15:00 | Empathic Managerialism against Exhaustion 

A conversation between Igea Troiani and Claudia Dutson who are currently editing a special issue of the journal Architecture and Culture: ‘Space to Learn/Think/Work: The Contested Architectures of Higher Education.’

Igea Troiani is a Professor of Architecture and Dean of International Affairs at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou, China. She is currently writing the manuscript, Playing the Game of Life: In Architecture (due 2021), which examines how neoliberalism affects the work and labour of the architectural student, academic and practitioner. In this talk she discusses her shift from working on the shop-floor of architectural education to becoming a university manager. 

Claudia Dutson is a Tutor at the Royal College of Art and her architectural practice combines drawing, model-making, performance, and video. Her recent VR installation ‘The Model Worker’, exhibited at Watermans Arts, London, is part of the ongoing research into architecture, labour and the spatial tactics of Silicon Valley management cultures.

15:00 – 15:15 | Tea break

A short break before the next conversation. Refreshments will be provided.

15:15 – 16:00 | Social Reproduction at Work: Towards a Global Staffroom

A conversation between Jenny Richards and Sophie Hope from Manual Labours.

Manual Labours is a research project exploring physical and emotional relationships to work, initiated by Jenny Richards and Sophie Hope. Their research has involved workshops with commuters, complaints teams, cultural workers and call centre employees, and a recent collaboration with staff at an arts organisation where they explored working conditions through the metaphor of the building as a body.

Jenny Richards is a freelance curator and writer based in London and Stockholm, whose research focuses on the politics of collaborative practices. 

Sophie Hope is a practice-based researcher in the Film, Media and Cultural Studies department at Birkbeck, University of London.

16:00 – 17:00 | Roundtable Discussion 

A roundtable discussion with contributions from Elisavet Hasa, David Roberts and the United Voices of the World – Section of Architectural Workers (UVW-SAW).
Elisavet Hasa is a researcher and a PhD candidate at the School of Architecture at the Royal College of Art. Her research investigates the link between social movements and the state apparatus, and explores conditions of work and labour in architecture. Elisavet is also co-steward for the UK Chapter of The Architecture Lobby.

David Roberts is a Teaching Fellow in Design and History & Theory at The Bartlett School of Architecture, and Research Ethics Fellow for The Bartlett Ethics Commission led by Professor Jane Rendell. Alongside his teaching and research, he is part of the collaborative art practice Fugitive Images and architecture collectives Involve and BREAK//LINE.


All our event spaces are accessible. For any additional support or information, please email or call 020 3108 7337.

1. Modern Times © Roy Export S.A.S.
2. Wandering Womb Mobile Staffroom by Manual Labours (Sophie Hope and Jenny Richards), Effy Harle and Finbar Prior, 2018.