Dr Emma Cheatle (she/her)
School of Architecture
Senior Lecturer Architecture
Department Director of One University
Director of Architectural Humanities
+44 114 222 0333
Full contact details
School of Architecture
Trained as an architect in the UK, I have a PhD in Architecture from the Bartlett, University College London, supervised by Prof Jane Rendell and Dr Penelope Haralambidou. My PhD received the 2014 RIBA President's Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis. My research was published as the monograph, Part-Architecture: The Maison de Verre, Duchamp, Domesticity and Desire in 1930s Paris (Routledge, 2017) (4* rated (REF2021)).
My research is interdisciplinary and feminist and aims to examine the political, cultural and social implications of architecture and urban space, particularly through questions of health (maternity and early childhood), feminism, decoloniality, common rights, gendered practices, disability and domesticity. Committed to promoting architectural humanities as a vital discourse in architecture, I use innovative forms of history/theory and new forms of creative-critical writing which activate the personal and political. I am particularly interested in how autotheory and ethnographic writing uncover embodied yet critical understandings of spatial histories and contemporary conditions.
My current research project is the monograph Lying in the Dark Room: Architectures of British Maternity (Routledge, 2023) which examines the role of architecture and space in historic and contemporary constructions of the maternal body and maternity practices. From 2018–2022 I was part of the AHRC major project Wastes and Strays where I was interested in walking as a common right. This is extended through a new research project in Cyprus which examines migratory stories of the un/common local ecology.
I am part of several feminist projects including: in collaboration with Hélène Frichot (University of Melbourne), a major retrospective on the feminist theorist Jennifer Bloomer for the Journal of Architecture (2023); I am the UK Editor for the Bloomsbury Global Encyclopaedia of Women in Architecture 1960–2015 (2023); and a member of the steering committee of the Sheffield School of Architecture Feminist Library (an archive of feminist activities, events and publications by students and staff over the last twenty years).
As Director of One University, I particularly promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI), health and wellbeing in the workplace and the school's involvement with Athena Swan. We are currently involved in a long term project to "decolonise" the curriculum across Architectural Design and Technology and History and Theory.
BA (Hons), MA, PhD
- Research interests
My research interests are interdisciplinary, between the histories and theories of architecture, health and the body. My work aims to activate forms of architecture writing that use both personal and theoretical responses to buildings and urban spaces to critically explore the role they play in our lives.
- The history of maternity and associated health spaces – from hospitals, to homes, to urban spaces, both historical and contemporary – and their impact upon sexual health, maternal, postnatal and early childhood health (see forthcoming (2023) Lying-in the Dark Room: Architectures of British Maternity; (2017) Part-Architecture: The Maison de Verre, Duchamp, Domesticity and Desire in 1930s Paris; (2019) ‘As/saying architecture: a ficto-spatial essay of lying-in’. TEXT: Writing | Architecture, 23(55); States of Infancy: hospital, home, outdoors – AHRC funding proposal.)
- Histories of urban common land and de/colonial migratory stories, particularly narratives of health, inequality, interspecies relations and gender.
- Intersectional feminist ethnography and autotheory as creative-critical writing on architecture (see forthcoming (2023) Lying-in the Dark Room: Architectures of British Maternity; forthcoming (2023) 'The gravid ground: stories of bed and street' in Special issue of the Journal of Architecture, Jennifer Bloomer: A Revisitation; (2020) ‘Writing walking: ficto-critical routes through eighteenth-century London’ In Frichot H & Stead N (Ed.), Writing Architecture: Ficto-Critical Approaches to a Writing Architecture Bloomsbury; (2019) 'Absent Comforts – Walls, Windows, Doors, Holes’ In Kennedy M (Ed.), The Enchanted Interior; (2017) ‘Between Landscape and Confinement: Situating the Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft’ In Frichot H, Gabrielsson C & Runting H (Ed.), Architecture and Feminisms Ecologies, Economies, Technologies).
PhD supervision areas:
- Creative-critical spatial theory, practice and writing;
- Feminist and decolonial theory, practice and pedagogy;
- Urban common land;
- Histories of health and maternity architecture; critical and creative spatial analyses of health in communities and buildings;
- Interdisciplinary topics between art, architecture, spatial design, science, health and literature.
- View this article in WRRO As/saying architecture: a ficto-spatial essay of lying-in. TEXT: Writing | Architecture, 23(55).
- Recording the absent in the Maison de Verre. IDEA Journal.
- Writing walking: ficto-critical routes through eighteenth-century London In Frichot H & Stead N (Ed.), Writing Architecture: Ficto-Critical Approaches to a Writing Architecture Bloomsbury
- Absent Comforts – Walls, Windows, Doors, Holes In Kennedy M (Ed.), The Enchanted Interior (pp. 59-79). Laing Gallery
- Fiction In Hvattum M & Hultzsch A (Ed.), The Printed and the Built Architecture, Print Culture and Public Debate in the Nineteenth Century Bloomsbury Publishing
- Between Landscape and Confinement: Situating the Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft In Frichot H, Gabrielsson C & Runting H (Ed.), Architecture and Feminisms Ecologies, Economies, Technologies Routledge
- Part-architecture: the manifest and the hidden in the Maison de Verre and the Large Glass (or towards an architectural unconscious) In Holms L & Hendrix JE (Ed.), Architecture and the Unconscious Routledge
- To Look at the Maison de Verre (from the Other Side of the Glass) with One Eye, Close To, for Almost an Hour, Again In de Sousa E & Wooller K (Ed.), Propositions Ideology in Transparency
- Research group
Chief Editor (with Luis Hernan and Iulia Statica) of field: journal, the school's indexed, free, open access, peer-reviewed journal for research on architecture, landscape and interior space.
‘Senses and Health/care Environments’ Network: Exploring interdisciplinary and international opportunities’, Funded by Wellcome Trust – with Victoria Bates, University of Bristol, Clare Hickman, Newcastle University, Marie Allitt, University of Oxford, Agnes Arnold-Forster, University of Roehampton, and Harriet Barratt, York St John University
AHRC Major Award (£850,000) Wastes and Strays: Wastes and Strays: The Past, Present and Future of Urban Common Land [Co-I]
- Teaching interests
My teaching promotes architectural humanities and critical thinking in the history and theory of architecture. As Director of Architectural Humanities I coordinate the content of humanities modules with an emphasis on "decolonising" the curriculum.
- Teaching activities
I run the postgraduate theory module Critical Spatial Writing. I supervise postgraduate dissertations in the MArch programme. I supervise undergraduate dissertations with particular interest in critical creative practices, walking as practice and theory. I lead a Y1 Architectural Humanities module. I supervise a number of PhD students (see Research Interests for topics).
- Professional activities and memberships
- Departmental Director of One University (2022–)
- Director of Architectural Humanities (2021–)
- Head of External Relations (2019–2022)
- Leader of PhD by Design (2018–2022)
- Programme Co-Leader MAUD (2020–2022)
- Programme Co-Leader MAAD (2018–20)
- AHRC Major Award Research Co-Investigator (2019–2022)
- Post-doctoral Research Fellow Newcastle University (2015–18)