Studio South: Co-creating Architecture Education through Residencies in Calabria

The event discussed the Studio South programme, which involved student residencies in a small village in Calabria, Italy. This programme was part of the Crossing Cultures research initiative at London Metropolitan University, addressing social and political concerns related to migration and depopulation in small villages in Europe. Facilitated by the non-profit organisation Le Seppie, London-based students have been engaging with the village and its inhabitants since 2016. The programme goes beyond the academic calendar, producing small-scale constructions, art-led community activities, and large-scale regeneration strategies.

In 2020, ten students moved to the village during the Covid lockdown and initiated the first residency supported by Le Seppie, which expanded the previous engagement. By 2022, this evolved into funded residencies, allowing a small group of students to develop design projects for the village while being part of the local community and connected with their course online. The event w explored how this residency model disrupts formal pedagogy and studio culture, blurring institutional boundaries and enabling students to bridge the gaps between architectural education, research, and practice.


Sandra Denicke-Polcher is an architect and National Teaching Fellow (HEA). Her work identifies the complex relationships between architectural education and practice, exploring how learning can be enhanced through the involvement of stakeholders and communities. She published on “Architecture of Multiple Authorship” (Routledge 2018), on how Crossing Cultures created a culture of global citizenship for students (Charrette 6(2) 2020), and on Participatory Architecture as a method to reactivate underpopulated areas (Architecture_MPS 21, 1, 2022).

Jane McAllister is an academic and architect. She is the BA co-Course Leader for The School of Art Architecture and Design and practices on a number of live community projects at home and abroad, working with international Universities and NGO’s. Her design based PhD explores community wellbeing as identity, memory and myth through the bricolage of their practices. She co-runs a design atelier which explores ‘crossing cultures’, which looks specifically at issues around migration impacting on settlement and identity. She is also part of the Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources (ARCSR) research group at London Met.


Michael Upton is Head of Teaching and Learning Development at London Metropolitan University. Working within the recently established Centre for Teaching Enhancement, he leads cross-institutional projects to improve teaching and learning and to enhance student experience and success. He has worked in the creative and educational sectors for 30 years, including roles in film making, publishing, marketing, the interiors and furniture industry, and further and higher education. His work at London Met has combined extensive teaching on courses, including BA Film and Television Production and BA Education with a variety of roles including academic side recruitment, marketing and admissions and strategic portfolio development. He is a member of the East End Archive research committee and The Centre for Creative Arts, Cultures and Engagement (CREATURE), with whom he exhibited at the Making Matters 2.0 Exhibition in 2023.

A group of people are working on remodelling the house.

Image credits: Giuseppe Grant, Casa Construction, 2020 


Date/time Wednesday 17 January 2024, 5.30pm - 7pm
Book ticket Event ended
Location 15 Goulston St. London E1

AAD Sessions 2023-24