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Sarah Ackland

About me

Sarah Ackland is a practising ARB registered architect at muf architecture/art, London and a PhD researcher at Newcastle University, UK.

Her PhD research explores women in space through embodied, feminist and auto-ethnographic practices, using her body as a device to explore spaces, the city and degrees of access and care.

In architectural practice, she is interested in the politics of marginalised bodies in public space, celebrating and preserving the existing, and uncovering local narrative. In 2019, Sarah received the RIBA Research fund and subsequently founded and produced the podcast series ‘29% Equal’ which shared stories between two women in architecture

Project Title

Taking Space: A feminist running practice

Project Description

Space is political, space can be limiting for some bodies, specifically all those who are not cis white men. Physical space can pose challenges if it is not populated with diverse bodies, passive surveillance and care. The discomfort of feeling out of place in space is reinforced by the lack of access these people have to economic wealth, and the continued repression from outdated societal expectations and judgements. Psychologically, these factors take their toll and marginalised bodies, marginalise themselves further as they feel they cannot and are not allowed to take up space.

This thesis is feminist rooted, it is not just about women, but ‘othered’ bodies and is ground in feminist theory. My method is running. This thesis takes space. I actively use the word taking, as I look to explore which spaces are still constricted, I explore these through a series of installations and performances, which actively take space and encourage others to. The spaces explored are mostly in East London.

Women’s liberation movements tore through the twentieth century, from Suffragettes to Sisters Uncut and Reclaim the Night the women’s uprising gathered force, women were taking to the streets. Meanwhile others were taking to the streets in an altogether different underground movement, defining the future for women through defiant acts of running, Feminist Running. Borrowing from Lefebvre’s idea that all space is political, women’s bodies are catalysts for the fear of progress. Women were challenging the gender normative positions, actively activating space with their bodies, through running. Women walking, the female flaneur and mothers with prams have been widely discussed, but perhaps the most ‘able’ of female bodies; the runner is yet to be discussed. Can women transform their experience of space through running?

All images shown are by Morgane Bigault/Simon Roberts


Katie Lloyd Thomas

Claire Harper

Juliet Odgers


Bsc Architecture, First Class, WSA, Cardiff University

MArch Architecture (WSA, Cardiff University)

PgDip ARB Part III (Greenwich University)

Conference Papers and Publications

  • AHRA Ecologies of Care Conference, University of Portsmouth, 2023. Papers: Recognising an Unequal City & Running to Repair
  • Architecture 101: Questioning the Fundamentals. Newcastle University, 2023. Creative Practice Exhibition, titled Behind the Desk.
  • Taking Space III, Whitechapel Gallery, London 2023. (Programmed event)
  • How We Live Now: Project Space, Newcastle Contemporary Art Gallery, 2022. Exhibition, titles Behind the Desk & Running to Repair
  • Taking Space I, Newcastle Contemporary Art Gallery, 2022. (Programmed event)
  • Ackland, S. and Tutsch, S. Camden Active Spaces, in Generosity in Architecture, ed. McVicar, M., Kite, S., & Drozynski, C. (London: Routledge: 2022)
  • Ackland, S. Meziant, K. Pain, R. Varna, G. Vaughan, C. Safer Parks Standard, Newcastle University, 2022 []
  • Gender and Diversity in Architecture, Imagining Diverse Futures, Aarhus University, 2021. Conference, Paper: What is your activist practice?
  • AHRA PhD Symposium, Sheffield Hallam University, 2021. Conference, Paper: Transformative Spaces for Women
  • Ackland, S. Revisiting the Collections: Forgotten Women, RIBA: London, 2021 []


Forshaw Scholarship, Newcastle University (2020)

Pioneer Award, Newcastle University (2021)

Engagement Funding, Newcastle University (July 2022, November 2023)

RIBA Research Fund (Granted in 2019 for 29% Equal)


Twitter: @sarah_ackland