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Ray Verrall

Ray Verrall

(Re)constructing the 1958 RIBA Oxford Conference on Architectural Education

My PhD research involves a creative approach to history that responds particularly to issues of archival lacunae. As a mode of both research and representation, perhapsing finds its usefulness and validity through mapping—and extending beyond—the edges of evidence. When significant gaps in the archival record are encountered, perhapsing enables the content of those gaps to be provisionally figured-out by constructions of informed speculation.

Historically, British architecture students followed various routes into the profession, each with widely differing standards and definitions of training. Aiming to raise and unify these standards, the 1958 RIBA Oxford Conference effectively severed training from its vocational hinterland, reinventing it exclusively as an academic endeavour. For something so consequential, surprisingly little scholarship has been undertaken to map the machinations around its organisation and the values encoded in its agenda. One reason for this lack of deeper scholarship is the loss of the original conference transcripts. However, by sleuthing through other archival clues, and by mapping wider biographical insights, provisional narratives may be perhapsed around the fertile site of the missing transcripts, bringing together dialogically the tensions at play, and revealing the entanglement of its actors.

raymond.verrall@newcastle.ac.uk 

Ray Verrall