Part W Collective
Part W is an action group of women who work within architecture, design, infrastructure and construction. The collective campaigns for the recognition of women and women’s work – calling for gender diverse mainstreaming in the built environment.
March is Women’s History Month, an annual declared month that seeks to highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.
The architectural industry has a way to go when it comes to recognising the role women and gender diverse people play in the sector. Our Part W volunteer team work to make positive change in this area – highlighting the contribution women make to the built environment and calling for gender mainstreaming in the design and architectural sectors.
We campaign for the recognition of women and women’s work, and spotlight data that shows the extent to which the work of those who identify as female is so often overlooked. Our first campaign, launched in 2019, challenged the fact that the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture had at that time only ever been granted to one woman in her own right over then 172 years.
On International Women’s Day 8th March 2023 we will be revealing our latest project. This time last year we called for crowdsourced suggestions of projects where women have played a key role, to create a Women’s Work map. Our first in what we hope to be a wider series of maps showcases realised projects in London. The map is intended to be an inspiring resource for a future generation of intersectional and diverse city makers. Join us from 6pm at Downstairs at The Department Store, Brixton.
As noted by Part W founding members Zoë Berman and Yẹmi Àlàdérun in January’s LAD there is a tendency for architectural events to happen in the evening, which isn’t widely supportive of families, young children and those with caring responsibilities. This month we look to the Bricks and Bubbles morning at the RIBA, emboldening babies through play and exploration for ages 0-3. The Tate are running a series of 90 minute artist-led school workshops, every Tuesday enabling young people to spend time with art and artists.
Tate Britain recently announced their first rehang of works in 10 years will put female artists at the centre of its displays and women take centre stage in a number of current exhibitions – Cecilia Vicuña at Tate Modern as well as Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz and Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings at Tate Britain.
In their own celebration of International Women’s Day, the Design Museum have organised designer and author Stefanie Posavec to run a data visualisation workshop exploring everyday bias, gender data gaps and how to reveal untold stories of women through compelling graphics. Already sold out to those lucky enough to have got a place, the findings from this session will be invaluable.
The ongoing series Experiments in Imagining Otherwise curated and chaired by Nana Biamah-Ofosu, Bushra Mohamed, Merve Anil and Georges Massoud at the AA will see Dr. Huda Tayob sharing research on migrant, minor and subaltern architectures and postcolonial and decolonial theory on the 9th March.
It is widely recorded that climate breakdown will have the worst effect on those in the global south, those who suffer financial hardship, on women and future generations of children. New forms of spatial practice are needed to face the disrupted and volatile future. Coordinated by the research group MOULD, Architecture is Climate in the Central St Martins Lethaby Gallery displays the work of invited groups involved in spatial practice, climate activism, education and grassroots politics. Open to the public daily and for evening talks. Elsewhere, Homegrown: Building a Post-Carbon Future, at the Building Centre argues for a new approach in building to address the climate crisis.
Read, watch, listen:
Part W recommends listening to 29% Equal curated by Sarah Ackland. Sarah is a PhD candidate at Newcastle University, studying gendered bodies in public space. She is a practicing architect at muf architecture/art, founding member of Part W and our Wikiprojects Lead.
Alice Brownfield, Director at Peter Barber Architects, Trustee for Action on Empty Homes and Co-Director Part W recommends reading The Story of Art Without Men by Katy Hessel.
Thinking about projecting alternative, more inclusive futures, Fiona MacDonald, Co-Founder of MATT+FIONA and Part W Founding Member + Education Lead recommends listening to “What if imagination was treasured as a central part of childhood?”. Episode 72, 19 February 2023, From ‘What If to What Next’.
Nadine Adamski, former architect, now active in the charity sector and Part W fund-raising guide, recommends listening to Dr. Carlene Firmin, MBE on Contextual Safeguarding. Nadine says “For me, there is a connection here between the work of Part W and making sure that all sorts of people are part of the design process to ensure context reflects those that use them. Dr Carlene Firmin discusses contextual safeguarding, as she tries to rewrite child protection services across the UK. I think it will be fabulous if the built environment sector was engaging in this.” Episode 1, 19 September 2019, Just Cause with Derek A Bardowell.
Zoë Berman, Founding Director of Studio Berman, Founder + Co-Director of Part W recommends listening back to Zadie Smith: Such Painful Knowledge at the 2020 Louisiana Literature festival, saying “I’m always listening on repeat through Smith’s back catalogue of interviews – I’m endlessly in awe of her ability to connect ideas. In this discussion she weaves together thoughts on identity, personal history, connections with place and concerns about “natural capacity … and human value” and the “radical empathy” of girls.”