Exposing the Barriers in Architecture Education from a FAME Perspective

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This symposium explores the barriers in architecture education faced by ethnic minority females and how they became successful professionals

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FAME collective celebrates the successes of the ethnic minority women in architecture and exposes the barriers they face through narratives of their lived experiences. This participatory research symposium focuses on the ‘pathways to success’ and the challenges they have overcome in architecture education. Through this lens, we will review the systemic inequality and expose the barriers for a FAME while studying architecture in the UK.

FAME’s research aims to shine a light on the challenges and inequalities in architecture education through lived-experiences of the barriers in architecture education. We hope to inspire professionals and educators of the architecture to bring positive change for future generation of FAME to help create an inclusive architecture profession and to address the under-representation of FAME in architecture.

This event is part of a series of events which will be documented and shared with those in power to change and address the inequality that exists in architecture. Our symposium will comprise a key-note speaker, panellists and participants addressing the subject.

The first half of the event will consist of the keynote speaker’s presentation and the panel speakers’ introductions, which will facilitate the discussions. For the second half of the event, we will host small Breakout rooms for audience participation and discussions, facilitating the audience to discuss their barriers in architecture education and directly address the panel members. Audience participation is encouraged to share diverse experiences and perspectives, which can be anonymous if preferred.


18:00 Introduction by the hosts

Manijeh Verghese – AA

Marsha Ramroop – ​RIBA

18:10 Introducing FAME collective by the chair

Tumpa Husna Yasmin Fellows – ​ Founder of FAME collective

18:20 Keynote speaker’s presentation

Dr Tania Sengupta – Bartlett School of Architecture

18:30 Panel Speakers’ introductions

Felicity Atekpe – ​ Ravensbourne University

Dr Constance Lau – ​ University of Westminster

18:40 FAME collective’s presentation

Revealing the findings of the recent students’ survey: Exposing the barriers in architecture education

18:55 Breakout rooms

Audience participation

19:30 Return to Main Room

Summaries of the Breakout room discussions / Q&A

19:55 Closing remarks

FAME collective is a research-based network founded to support women of diverse backgrounds and ethnicities in architecture and the built environment. FAME is responding to an urgent need for understanding how race and gender affects established practitioners, young scholars and students, from diverse backgrounds, knowledge and practices by researching the barriers in architecture. Our aim is to raise awareness of the barriers, inequality and lack of diversity in architecture and the built environment and to demand change that responds to our collective challenges.

FAME’s ongoing research has been conducted through a range of participatory methods and by engaging with the community of practitioners and students of architecture.


To view our current research findings and the recording of the past FAME’s research symposium visit the website:


Tumpa Husna Yasmin Fellows is an architect, design researcher, a lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture and an architectural design tutor at the London School of Architecture and the Central Saint Martins. She is the founder of FAME collective, co-founder of Our Building Design and the charity Mannan Foundation Trust. Tumpa utilises design practice to be an active agent of socio-spatial decolonisation for environmental, climate and spatial justice. Tumpa is a panel member of the Design Review Panel for the Southwark Council Planning Department. She was named a RIBA-J Rising Star (2017), she has been awarded the RIBA President's Award for Research 2019 (commendation), a RIBA BAME award winner (2019), SEED/PacificRim Award (2018) and Architecture Sans Frontiers Award (2017).

Marsha Ramroop has been working inclusively throughout her career as a journalist and leader with the personal work motto “giving the unheard voice a place to speak”. Prior to joining the RIBA as Director of Inclusion and Diversity in February 2021 she was influential with inclusion efforts at the BBC alongside her work in radio, as well as working in her own private Diversity and Inclusion practice, Unheard Voice Consultancy Ltd. She is a leader in Cultural Intelligence (CQ) in the UK, helping organisations deliver strategic inclusive change. She developed her own model overlaying CQ and a change paradigm to implement an approach which embeds inclusion across recruitment, staff engagement/retention/progression, business outcomes, and audience/user/client reach. Her approach tackles all agendas of under-representation, allowing for intersectionality to be effectively addressed across all areas of an organisation.

Manijeh Verghese is a co-curator of The Garden of Privatised Delights - the British Pavilion at the 17th International Venice Architecture Biennale - and co-founder of Unscene Architecture. She is the Head of Public Engagement at the Architectural Association, where she is also a Unit Master of Diploma 12, a seminar leader for the AA Professional Practice for Fifth Year course, and a member of the Senior Management Team. She was on the curatorial panel for the 2021 London Festival of Architecture, and is currently an External Examiner at Cambridge University.

Dr. Tania Sengupta is Associate Professor and Director of Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Her work focuses on postcolonial and transcultural histories of South Asia, and on marginalised narratives. Her research on paper- bureaucracy and clerks’ life-worlds in relation to British colonial office architecture in India received the 2019 RIBA President’s Award and Medal for Research. Dr. Sengupta is Co-Chief Editor of the journal Architecture Beyond Europe and co-curator of the recent curriculum ‘Race’ and Space: What is 'Race' Doing in a Nice Field Like the Built Environment? (SAH GB Colvin Prize shortlist 2021).

Felicity Atekpe is a practicing architect and the founder of White Table Architects, a practice in sustainable design, interiors, architecture and landscape through enjoyment of the everyday, schemes of micro / small scale housing, theatres and galleries. She is also a lecturer and has taught since 2000, having taught and examined extensively at The Bartlett, South Bank University, Greenwich University, Camberwell College of Art, Glasgow School of Art and Cambridge University. She is currently the course leader for Interior Design Environment Architecture (IDEAs) programme at Ravensbourne University London and an external examiner for the new innovative Bartlett MSci Architecture degree.

Constance Lau is an architect and has taught architecture for over two decades, from undergraduate to doctorate level in London and Singapore. Research practice is applied through teaching, international workshops, conferences, peer reviews, and publishing. Her design studio’s research interests in multiple interpretations and narratives are explored through the techniques of montage and different notions of allegory. The idea of a ‘questioning and incomplete’ approach is fundamental. Central to the process driven methodology is the role of dialogue with an emphasis on individual learning that encourages the student to assume authorship to shape the reading and outcome of the design brief.

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The AA Public Programme brings together thousands of members, visitors, critics and provocateurs for the purpose of sharing, discussing and debating contemporary architecture culture. 

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