ACA delighted to support Monash Mental Wellbeing Research project

25 May 2020

The ACA is proud to support the new research project Architectural Work Cultures: professional identity, education and wellbeing, led by Professor Naomi Stead of Monash University.

This project has secured an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant to examine the work and study cultures of architecture in Australia, in relation to professional identity and its impact on wellbeing, with a whole-of-career scope spanning education to retirement.

One of the outputs of the project is to generate the first comprehensive account of work-related wellbeing problems for both architectural practitioners and students, through strong engagement with the profession.

Expected outcomes include two toolkits to assist the profession to support cultural change across educational, workplace and institutional settings. The long-term vision of this project is to secure “significant benefits for the wellbeing of architects at all career stages and the viability of the sector at large”.

The ACA’s support of this important piece of work will be through in-kind contributions such as raising awareness, promotion via media channels, and representation on an advisory/steering committee to name a few.

With gruelling pressure on practitioners running and directing practices, a long hours work culture and unpaid labour as some of the contributing factors that impact architects’ wellbeing, the ACA is committed to also furthering our work to establish mechanisms for practices to be able to support their staff and themselves.

Other research project partners include the Australian Institute of Architects, the Association of Architecture Schools of Australasia, the NSW Architects Registration Board, BVN Architecture, SJB Architects, The Fulcrum Agency, the Trustee for the Elenberg Fraser Investment Trust, Hassell and DesignInc.

Professor Naomi Stead said of the new project, “This is significant because, as a profession, architects often don’t make good business-people.”

“It’s an unfortunate fact that many small and medium practices operate on the very edge of financial viability, and the discipline of architecture looks to the arts and humanities, as well as engineering and the STEM disciplines, much more than it does to business and economics.

“We would argue that architecture practices, which are run as sound and profitable businesses, will also be better workplaces and better able to produce beautiful, quality buildings which contribute to the common good.”