Wrap-Up: ACAHUCH and SAHANZ PhD Colloquium 2020

The third SAHANZ PhD Colloquium, convened by the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning (MSD), University of Melbourne, and the Australian Centre for Architectural History and Urban and Cultural Heritage (ACAHUCH), took place as scheduled on 6 July 2020, though the format needed to be rethought due to the covid-19 pandemic.

The online event combined asynchronous presentations of the PhD candidates and synchronous feedback, discussions and lunch panel. The committee, led by Hannah Lewi (and co-director of ACAHUCH) selected thirteen PhD candidates from nine different Australian universities and two Chinese universities. One of the candidates even connected from Abu Dhabi. The day was organised in three loosely thematic sessions and a lunch panel on “Getting Involved" in the Urban, Cultural and Heritage industries by practitioners, academics and professionals. Sixty-nine people registered for the colloquium and the different sessions had an average of over fifty attendees.

SAHANZ Colloquium Screenshot

Session One on “20th Century Architecture and Construction (Australia and International)” was chaired by Philip Goad who was joined by Mirjana Lozanovska and James Lesh as respondents to the five papers presented. The PhD candidates in the session were Catherine Townsend, Justin Mallia, Glenn Harper, Vittoria Strazzeri, and Maryam Fayyaz. In Session Two, chair Anoma Pieris, David Beynon and Macarena de la Vega de León responded to four papers on “Global Context” by Deepthie Perera, Vanicka Arora, Lian Zhou, and Ayman Alanssary. Finally, in Session Three on “Design Innovations and Methods” the panellists AnnMarie Brennan as chair, Paul Walker and Jordan Kaufman responded to the papers presented by Amir Taheri, Ali Javid, Xiaohan Chen, and Yaqin Zuo.

During the lunch panel, the chair Cristina Garduño Freeman shared her experience with ICOMOS, International Council of Monuments and Sites; Paul Hogben talked about his involvement with SAHANZ over the years and now as its president; David Beynon commented on the establishment of SAUH Asia, the Society of Architectural and Urban Historians Asia, its networks and events; and Hannah Lewi presented her experience within DOCOMOMO nationally and in Western Australia. As one of its editors, Mirjana Lozanovska encouraged all candidates presenting at or attending the Colloquium to submit their work to Fabrications. In summary, panellists agreed on the fact that getting involved with scholarly and professional societies had had a positive impact on their careers and resulted in long-lasting networks of colleagues.

SAHANZ PhD Colloquium Screenshot 2

Apart from the specific feedback provided to all participants, each session generated interesting discussions on research methodology and the importance of relating it to the research question; on different theoretical and historical frameworks; and on the appropriateness of different research designs in exploring particular topics. This format continues to be useful for the PhD students in architectural history and urban and cultural heritage from across the Asia-Pacific region. It had not taken place since 2017 when CAMEA and the University of Adelaide organised the 2nd SAHANZ PhD symposium in conjunction with the CAMEA 20th Anniversary Plenary and the Second International Symposium of the Society of Architectural and Urban Historians – Asia (SAUH-Asia).

ACAHUCH wishes to thank SAHANZ, the panellists, the students and the audience for their involvement, robust dialogue and discussion, and their patience as we navigate the new technological normal.

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Theo Blankley