Teach Out: The Perils of Tradition

This is a slightly amended version of a piece performed on 5th March 2020 at ‘The Feminist School of Architecture Teach Out’ at Foodhall, Sheffield by MatriArch (Alice Grant and Rosa Turner Wood).

The Perils of Tradition Transcript

R: The first thing we thought about this event, is why is there not a question mark on the end of the title.

A: Does the lived experience of students and staff match with the academia that is happening within the school?

R: Is it a feminist school of architecture?

A: Probably not.

R: Yet.

A: So where do we start?

R: Let’s begin with the pub after reviews.

A: Did you see that tutor drinking with students?

R: Yeah, he said he’d put me in touch with that Clerkenwell practice. Yeah yknow? His friend from undergraduate, they used to be drinking buddies.

A: But what if you don’t drink?

R: What if you can’t drink?

A: What if you have to work the next day?

R: Don’t worry, just less opportunities really.

A: But Architecture school is about making connections!

R: But should these connections be made over alcohol?

A: Where the loudest voices get heard?

R: But we benefit from this!

A: Yeah that true.

R: Aren’t you working on his house over summer?

A: Yeah, but only because he asked.

R: So shall we tell them what matri arch is?

A: we are a student led feminist collective

R: who facilitate discussions on education and practice

A: with the aim to share more female and non-binary voices.

R: So why does matri arch exist?

A: Because a tutor at my undergraduate once asked me where is Kate, she has a tutorial? Is she on her period or something?

R: Because when working with a feminist agenda I don’t want people to look sheepish and pass me on to a female tutor

A: Because my tutor said my model was sooooo cute.

R: But it was cute!

A: Yeahn that’s true it was really cute

Because tutors are mentioning my learning difficulty in their feedback as though I will never be on a level playing field.

R: Because we want floor 14 feminism to meet floor 16 feminism

A: Because we want better representation.

R: Because we are bored of the perils of tradition.

A: So how do we deal with these perils of tradition?

R: Can we please just stop inviting the same old guest reviewers to the school just because they’re Sheffield Alumni?

A: Do they hold our school’s feminist values?

R: Let’s stop accepting money for the catalogue from practices that exploit their parts 1.

A: can we at least try to do better to guide our students towards practices that treat staff with respect.

R: Pay them living wage.

A: Make them go home at 5.30.

R: But isn’t it a rite of passage to suffer through architecture school? I mean, my old practice bought be dinner and an uber if I stayed till 11pm, that’s not too bad right?

A: Rosa, you’re scared of confrontation, and you never want to move back to London. Don’t romanticise the suffering, and apologising for shitty directors.

R: While we’re at it Let’s stop making architecture for architects.

A: Though It might look good on Instagram

R: No one cares about the shadow gap if there is not an accessible toilet.

A: Or the women’s line wraps round the block.

R: Or there isn’t baby changing facility in the men’s toilets.

A: If you’re practice doesn’t accommodate equal maternity and paternity leave,

R: Is it really feminist?

A: If you’re practice expects unpaid overtime, is it really feminist?

R: If your architecture school cultivates competition and anxiety, is it really feminist?

A: and isn’t this why these UCU strikes are important

R: We need better representation in the university

because we should value quality of education above anything else.

A: That’s why the strike is important.

R: Because some people don’t have the ability to strike right now

A: and that is why the strike is important

R: Sheffield School of architecture is striving to make change, and that is great.

A: But what if they don’t get it right?

R: That’s ok, as long as they learn from it.

A: As long as they stay open to criticism and try again. 

R: And we say this all with love

A: Because I have never felt more relentlessly supported by educators

R: Because at Sheffield mental health is prioritised over your knowledge of Revit.

A: Because the school has supported us.

– despite all of our criticisms.