An architectural historian at University College Dublin has been awarded €2 million by the European Research Council (ERC) to explore how women and members of ethnic minorities have shaped modern architecture and design.
Professor Kathleen James-Chakraborty, from the UCD School of Art History and Cultural Policy and UCD Humanities Institute, is one of four researchers in Ireland to receive the prestigious funding, part of the ERC's 2020 Advanced Grants competition.
Her project ‘Expanding Agency: Women, Race and the Global Dissemination of Modern Architecture' aims to support a more diverse profession, and help build a more nuanced understanding of how architecture, interior decoration, and furnishing design are transformed by new ideas that emanate from a multiplicity of sources.
It will examine the role that women and members of ethnic minorities, primarily African-Americans, have played in transmitting modern architecture and design internationally between 1920 and 1970.
“Decade after decade, women and members of ethnic minorities studying architecture report that they never learned about the work of people like them when they were in architecture school,” Professor James-Chakraborty said.
“There is thankfully a tidal wave of scholars studying women architects right now but the challenge is to get new scholarship into the classroom and also to demonstrate the other ways in which women and ethnic minorities have contributed to creating the climate for the modern architecture that remains at the core of the curricula of most architecture schools.
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Kathleen James-Chakraborty joined SAH in 1982. She gave the SAH 2017 International Annual Conference Plenary Talk in Glasgow. She has served as the JSAH Exhibitions Review Editor, as a session chair at the the 2018 Annual Conference in Saint Paul. She also served on the SAH Board, and on the Nominating Committee as well as chaired the Kostof Book Award Committee. She recently acted as moderator for an SAH CONNECTS program, "Architectural Conversations: Grafton Architects" on September 22, 2020.