Interview Prue Chiles

In this short interview, Prue Chiles gives her testimonial about the feminist pedagogy at SSoA, the approach at the time she was teaching there, her memories, and the legacy it had in her career. Particularly, she tells us about the introduction of the Live Project Programme at SSoA and its influence on the feminist agenda at that time. She also talks about the main impacts of the feminist pedagogy in students’ future practice and how a feminist school would look like.

Prue Chiles continues to combine and hugely enjoys teaching, with architectural practice and research. In all her work she tries to use the skills and diversity of the design process to work with people and communities creatively and collaboratively, whether in community-led projects, research council funded research or in practice. Chiles comes from a political and social starting point with an attitude to sustainability in its widest social and environmental sense. In 1998 she started the student-led live projects programme which has grown exponentially in Sheffield. In 2002 she initiated the Bureau-design+research (Bdr) with her close long-term practice colleagues also, originally students, Howard Evans, Leo Care, Claire Kemp and Jen Langfield at the University of Sheffield, a unique research consultancy/project office, gaining an international reputation for participatory practices, particularly for our work on neighbourhood design, designing learning environments, and scenario building new futures for the North of England. The same team, with others, still practice together as CE+CArchitects, completing an increasingly large number of built projects over the last 20 years. She left Sheffield School of Architecture in 2014 to go to Newcastle University, where she has latterly been working in Zanzibar in Africa and Calabria in Italy with Masters students on sustainable development projects and continuing to work across disciplines.