Disabled architects: unlocking the potential for practice

Project details

Full project title: Disabled architects: unlocking the potential for practice

Duration: November 2008 - 2012
(Launch of research findings November 2011. Actions to be taken by RIBA and final publication of findings scheduled for 2012

Sponsor: Royal Institute of British Architects

Project leader for SPE: Sandra Manley

Other UWE researchers: Ann de Graft-Johnson and Katie Lucking

Project summary


This study aims to investigate ways of increasing diversity in the architectural profession by identifying methods that will unlock the potential of disabled people who want to practise as architects.

Key outputs

It has formed part of a series of research projects, promoted by Architects for Change (AFC), the RIBA's equality forum. The various projects have investigated the experiences of underrepresented groups in the profession including disabled people, women and people from black and minority ethnic groups.

The core research activity for this project used a combination of techniques of qualitative inquiry, which included on line questionnaires, in depth interviews with disabled people and storytelling to explore the experiences of disabled people studying or practising as architects.

Other strands investigated the opinions and attitudes of disability support staff at universities and the human resources staff at architectural practices to identify good and bad practice in providing support for disabled people in the profession. In parallel a study of the websites of schools of architecture and architectural practices explored the extent to which websites could either welcome or discourage disabled people in the profession.

Publications include:

  • Manley, S., de Graft-Johnson, A. and Lucking, K. (2011) Disabled architects: unlocking the potential for practice. London: RIBA (forthcoming)
  • Manley, S., de Graft-Johnson, A. (forthcoming summer 2012 ) Why we need more disabled architects. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability.

For further information, please contact Sandra Manley, at the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments.