Carolyn Butterworth

Carolyn Butterworth

Senior University Teacher

BA(Hons) (Sheffield), DipArch(Dist) (UCL), ARB

T: +44 (0)114 222 0308

I am Director of ‘Live Works’, SSoA’s pioneering public-facing Urban Room that combines live teaching, graduate employment, civic engagement and participatory research. I also run Live Projects where masters students work with community clients on real projects.

I am a passionate advocate of the value of live projects and of the arts in architectural education. I teach the value of engaging with local communities creatively on site, often in collaboration with artists. Connecting architecture and site-specific art practice, my studio works ‘in residence’, evolving ambitious real and speculative design projects that act as catalysts for change.

I studied architecture at SSoA and UCL, worked in practices in London and Sheffield and have taught at SSoA since 2001.

I am a Director of the Guild of St George, John Ruskin’s charity for arts, craft and the rural economy, and founding Chair of the Urban Rooms Network.

In 2017 I was awarded a Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and in 2016 I was awarded a University Senate Fellowship for Sustained Excellence in Learning & Teaching.

Teaching Activities

My teaching challenges students to explore the production of the built environment as a collective cultural endeavour. This activist approach of ‘liveness’ is exemplified in my studio ‘In Residence’, in Live Projects and in Live Works.

MArch Studio ‘In Residence’: we use site-specific methods from installation art, performance and relational art to develop design proposals that have an active relationship to site and users. We do this in collaboration with arts organisations and community groups, forming long-term relationships that make a real difference to the areas we work in.

Live Projects: I initiate and mentor projects that have an arts and regeneration emphasis e.g. Revealing the Castle, Blackburn Creative Capital, Spatial Resonances, Art House Wakefield, Sheffield Central Library, A Vision for Accrington and The Detroit House.

Live Works: this initiative gives students the opportunity to engage with the public from a city centre location through workshops, debates and exhibitions for their Live Projects and studio projects. We also employ students and graduates to work with community clients on real projects, often emerging from Live Projects. This is an excellent opportunity for us to support graduates as they embark upon their future practice careers.

I enjoy collaborating with teaching colleagues across the University and am an active member of the Engaged Learning Network.

I have also lectured and reviewed at a number of UK and International schools of architecture including Tecnologico de Monterrey Mexico, Hasselt University Belgium, IUAV Italy, Harbin Institute Technology China, The Bartlett UCL, Welsh School of Architecture Cardiff and Nottingham University.

Administrative Roles

Director of Live Works
MArch Module Coordinator for:
ARC552 & 562 Live Projects (Y5 & Y6)
ARC583 Design Manifesto (Y6)

Research Interests

My research is led by my teaching and is practice and pedagogy-based. I explore the creative possibilities of interdisciplinary art and architecture practice when situated on site and produced as a collective endeavour. I have an expertise in design research methodologies, specifically arts-based and participatory approaches.

In particular I explore the following through my research:

  • the reframing of the site survey as an active, transformative and collaborative tool
  • co-production between students, academics, external partners and local citizens

I am PI in ‘Urban Education Live’ an ESRC funded research project working with partners in Finland, Slovenia and Romania. This is a 3 year project, based at Live Works, which explores new models for collaboration between universities and urban communities.

Through Live Works I partner with students, graduates and academics to deliver participatory action research, for example:

  • 2018 AHRC ‘Experience Castlegate’
  • 2016 AHRC ‘Leap of Faith’
  • 2014 AHRC ‘The Cultural Value of Architecture’

PhD Students

Thomas Moore – ‘Live pedagogy, civic university, austerity urbanism’ (Co-supervisor)

Claire Tymon – ‘Creative Placeshaking’ (2nd supervisor)

Professional Standing and Distinctions


Director of the Guild of St George
Joint academic lead on ‘Experience Castlegate’ for the University of Sheffield Festival of the Mind.
Member of the Castlegate Partnership
Joint lead for UoS Civic University strategy in Castlegate


Chair of the UK Place Alliance Urban Rooms Network
Member of the Advisory Board for ReNew Sheffield meanwhile use programme
Member of Castlegate Vibrancy Steering Group
Companion of the Guild of St George (John Ruskin’s Charitable Trust)


Joint academic lead on ‘Little City of Makers’ for the University of Sheffield Festival of the Mind.
Chaired ‘A Woman’s Place’ a ‘Conversation in Creativity’ for Creative Lancashire
Presented paper ‘A Certain Degree of Uncertainty’ at AAE Conference, UCL


Co-curator of Castlegate Festival with The Engaged University and Sheffield City Council
Authored ‘Imagine Castlegate’, featuring the work by SSoA, Department of Landscape and The Engaged University, funded by The Engaged University
Panel member for public Wealthy Cities debate for Ruskin in Sheffield, Millenium Galleries


Joint academic lead on ‘ReMake Castlegate’ for the University of Sheffield Festival of the Mind.
Presented ‘ReMake Castlegate’ for Sheffield Urban Design Week event
Authored ‘Blackburn ReMade’, featuring the work over a year in Blackburn by SSoA students, funded by Blackburn is Open
Panel member for launch of the UK’s first ‘Urban Room’ in Blackburn with Wayne Hemingway and Max Farrell (Farrell Review).


Joint academic lead on ‘The Arrivals Zone’ for the University of Sheffield Festival of the Mind.
Keynote lecture at Northumbria University for DESIS Network event ‘DESIS within the HE Landscape’
Presentation at Architecture san Frontieres ‘Open Dialogue’ series, London: Live Projects as means to promote agency in local communities


RIBA Northern Network Awards: Hangingwater House by Butterworth Architecture awarded the ‘Housing Award’ and a ‘Silver Award’
Delivered workshop for Compass Live Art Symposium, Leeds
Exhibited at ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ and ‘Inhabiting Space’ exhibitions for research project ‘Materialising Culture’


Consultancy for HMR pathfinder Elevate:

  • case study on partnering with Universities
  • conference ‘Dig a Little Deeper’
  • presentor at events and conferences
Grants, Awards and Consultancy

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2017

University Senate Fellowship for Sustained Excellence in Learning & Teaching 2016

Teaching Excellence in Social Sciences (TESS) award, 2014

Engaged University funding to produce ‘Imagine Castlegate’ book and play key role in delivery of Castlegate Festival, 2015

UnLtd, Engaged University and USE funding to develop Live Works, 2014

HEA Teaching Development Award to produce book ‘A Handbook for Live Projects’, 2011


C. Butterworth & C. Cunningham, Imagine Castlegate, published by The University of Sheffield 2015 ISBN 978-0-9929705-6-7

C. Butterworth & E.Graham, Blackburn ReMade, published by The University of Sheffield 2014. ISBN 978-0-9929705-1-2

C. Butterworth & L. Care, Introducing the SSoA Live Projects Handbook, published in ‘Charette’ the journal of the Association of Architecture Educators, 2014

C. Butterworth, J. Kang and J. Mu, Research-led Architectural Education: analysis of ‘live projects’ at the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield. Urban Flux, No. 5, 41-46. 2013

C. Butterworth, A Handbook for Live Projects, published by The School of Architecture 2013 ISBN 978-0-9576914-2-1

C. Butterworth and P.Chiles, ‘Field Diaries’, in Suzanne Ewing, Jeremie Michael McGowan, Chris Speed, Victoria Clare Bernie (ed.s), Architecture and Field/Work, London; New York: Routledge, 2010, pp. 129-138. ISBN: 978-0-415-59540-7

C. Butterworth, Four Towns, published by The School of Architecture to showcase four years of work by MArch Studio 5 in Pennine Lancashire HMR as part of a Knowledge Transfer project, 2010

C. Butterworth and S. Vardy, ‘Site-seeing: constructing the creative survey’ in Alternate Currents field: Volume 2, issue 1, October 2008, pp.125-137. ISSN: 1755-068

C. Butterworth, ‘Of All We Survey’, in D. Littlefield and S. Lewis (ed.s), Architectural Voices, Chichester, England; Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2007, pp. 148-151. ISBN: 978 0 470 01673 2

C. Butterworth (ed.) This Would Never Happen in Accrington, London, The Bank of Ideas, 2007. ISBN: 978 0 9541362 6 0

C. Butterworth, ‘Big Things/Small Things; revealing an architecture of the imagination’, in Encounters, The Shop Collections, Sheffield, The Site Gallery, 2006, pp. 86-87. ISBN: 1 899926 76 3

Live Works - the UK's first University-backed Urban Room Experience Castlegate – Festival of the Mind 2018 Revealing the Castle – Live Project 2016