Progress update: designing the future of The Bartlett School of Architecture
8 November 2022
The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment, has shared an update on designing the future of The Bartlett School of Architecture following an independent investigation released earlier this year.
A report with the findings from an independent investigation into behaviour and culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture (BSA) was published in June 2022. The report identified unacceptable behaviour at the BSA and detailed a number of recommendations to create a safer, supportive and more positive culture for students and staff. UCL apologises and accepts the recommendations from the investigation in full.
UCL’s full apology and statement can be viewed here, and the full investigation report is available online.
Since June, the BSA community has been working together to understand and act upon the recommendations of the report. In September they welcomed new BSA Director Amy Kulper who has taken on the leadership of this crucial work.
I am so proud to join The Bartlett School of Architecture as Director. I know that this is a moment of profound change and challenge for the BSA community, and I am here to support them. I would like to thank everyone in the community for the special efforts and hard work they have dedicated to beginning the process of designing a new future for the school. - Professor Amy Kulper, Director of The Bartlett School of Architecture
An action plan is being implemented to create change in four key areas at the BSA: care and wellbeing, design review (formerly known as crit) experience, unit selection, and communications.
This plan has been developed with input from over 100 BSA staff and students who participated in 27 Action Group meetings during summer 2022, with coordination by a Steering Group formed of BSA staff and elected student representatives.
BSA staff and students will work together to implement this three-phase action plan over the next two years. They will continue to build on and add to this plan in response to the issues highlighted in the report.
Phase 1 – changes prototyped at the start of the 2022-23 academic year, and will be continued throughout this year
- Care and wellbeing: Communicating care and wellbeing support, personal tutors, and BSA’s commitment to core teaching hours; appointing BSA student advisor for wellbeing; delivering active bystander training for all students and care and wellbeing training for all staff.
- Design review experience: Disseminating design review guidelines to all staff and students; enhancing design review code of conduct; enhancing use of design review spaces.
- Unit selection: Prototyping new unit selection process; improving unit brief templates.
- Communications: Enhancing on-site and digital communications with students.
Phase 2 – proposals will be progressed over the 2022-23 academic year
- Care and wellbeing: Communicating EDI vision, culture and progress for BSA; delivering a programme of support for staff EDI development.
- Design review experience: Communicating design review policy and ensuring design reviews take place within core hours.
- Unit selection: Reviewing new prototype unit selection process.
- Communications: Enhancing guidelines and strategy for staff and student communications platforms; reviewing student feedback mechanisms.
Phase 3 – proposals will be prototyped by end of 2022-23 academic year, and will be progressed in the 2023-24 academic year
- Care and wellbeing: Addressing staff workloads; aligning with UCL staff support policies; delivering biannual EDI workshops.
- Design review experience: Ensuring all students are aware of the purpose of design reviews and how to get the most out of them; improving the design review experience by looking to other schools/disciplines; ensuring well-resourced design reviews.
- Unit selection: Improving unit brief information gathering process.
- Communications: Developing a comprehensive induction programme for staff and students.
The Bartlett Faculty of The Built Environment is also continuing to engage closely with the wider architecture sector through a series of roundtable discussions on the future of architectural education and practice, and how to create spaces and opportunities for those who have been marginalised.
A summary of the discussion at the first and second roundtables can be viewed here:
- Roundtable discussion – How can we radically remake architecture? (22 June 2022)
- Roundtable discussion – Inclusion and diversity: An open future for architecture (12 October 2022)
The third roundtable in the series will take place in spring 2023.
Sources of support for UCL current and former staff and students
If you’ve experienced harassment, violence or abuse, it’s never your fault, and UCL is here to support you. We have a wide range of comprehensive support services available, should you need it, including support from our team of mental health and wellbeing advisers and external specialist organisations:
Current students can make a same day appointment to speak to UCL’s Support and Wellbeing Team. If you are no longer a current student and have been affected by the findings of the BSA investigation and would like support, please contact Student Support and Wellbeing by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Current and former students and staff can receive free, confidential support 365 days a year through Spectrum Life on 0808 196 5808 or by texting ‘Hi’ to 0741 836 0780 on WhatsApp.
Additional support is available:
Report + Support is UCL’s online tool for current and former students and staff to report bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct, and it includes the option to report anonymously or on the record.
If you are a parent or are concerned about a student, please contact Student Support and Wellbeing via the Student of Concern form.