School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

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The School’s first Creative Practice PhD in architecture completes

The School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape’s first PhD by Creative Practice candidate to complete successfully defended his thesis at a viva voce exam on Friday 9th February 2017.

James Longfield’s project, Making Byker: The Situated, Amateur Practices of a Citizen Architect, was examined by Professor Katja Grillner from KTH Stockholm and Professor Prue Chiles. Taking his cue from Ralph Erskine’s famous participatory approach to the design of the Byker Estate in Newcastle in the 1960s and ‘70s – and himself a resident of Byker – Longfield explored ideas of situated practice and the citizenship of the architect, making special reference to the ‘hobby rooms’ on the Byker Estate and ideas about hobby practices. His project included a series of installations around Byker, summarised at a concluding exhibition mounted to coincide with the viva at St. Michael’s Church in Byker. Longfield’s supervisors were Katie Lloyd Thomas and Adam Sharr.

Eleven candidates are now enrolled on Newcastle’s successful PhD by Creative Practice programme in architecture. This programme encourages practice-led research whereby candidates employ design as a method to engage with significant problems in the field and to pursue distinctively architectural modes of understanding.

Several PhD by Creative Practice candidates in architecture in Newcastle, like Longfield, have also been involved in School’s in-house architectural consultancy, Design Office, or work with industry partners. All engage with Newcastle’s leading academic researchers through the School's thriving Architecture Research Collaborative. The second Creative Practice candidate to defend their viva will be Luis Hernan Hernandez, on Friday 17th February.

If you’re interested in joining Newcastle’s PhD by Creative Practice programme in architecture, please contact Marian Kyte on

Longfield PhD

published on: 13 February 2017