Professor Renata Tyszczuk
Chair in Architectural Humanities
MA, Dip Arch, MPhil, PhD (Cantab)
T: +44 114 222 0313
My research and teaching explores questions concerning global environmental change and provisionality in architectural thinking and practice. I convene Culture and Climate Change, a framework for a series of research and public engagement projects on the cultural dimensions of climate change. This links to my research projects on energy and industry (AHRC Stories of Change); provisional cities and the Anthropocene (British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship) and scenarios of climate change (Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, UoS; Ashden Trust, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and OpenSpace Research Centre funded).
My latest book is Provisional Cities; Cautionary Tales for the Anthropocene (Routledge, 2018). I studied Architecture and also completed an MPhil in the History and Philosophy of Architecture and a PhD at the University of Cambridge. I was appointed to the Chair in Architectural Humanities at Sheffield in 2018.
I have been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship for my project: Collective Scenarios: rehearsing, predicting and speculating on climate futures (2019-2022).
I have taught students of architecture since 1992. Initially as an undergraduate Design Tutor at Cambridge (1992-2003) and Intermediate Unit Tutor at the Architectural Association (1992-1994), and since 2004 as a full-time academic at the School of Architecture in Sheffield. Since my appointment in Sheffield I have been fully engaged in teaching at all levels of the School, including undergraduate lectures in History and Theory, MArch design studios, Postgraduate Taught Masters (PGT) and PhD programmes of study.
I have made innovative contributions in integrating research into both the active studio culture and humanities study while at Sheffield. As a researcher in the history and theory of architectural ideas concerned with broader philosophical questions of global environmental change and a teacher of future practitioners of architecture, I am committed to finding ways of bringing fields of enquiry such as humanities and climate change into closer creative dialogue. I recognise the importance of providing both a strategic framework and an open learning environment to explore important contemporary themes and issues through research-led design.
I am currently external examiner on the MA Ecological Design Thinking, Schumacher College/ University of Plymouth, (appointed 2014).
My current teaching in the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield includes:
Undergraduate: I contribute to Humanities lecture courses (ARC 103, ARC 203, ARC 204 and ARC 303) and supervise Special Studies dissertations.
Postgraduate Taught Masters: I was Director of Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes (2009-2013; 2015); I contribute to teaching in Postgraduate Design studios
MArch RIBA Pt 2: I am involved in Design Studio teaching and the mentoring of Live Projects (ARC 552). I also contribute to History and Theory teaching including the Theory Forum series (ARC 553, ARC 6853), dissertation supervision (ARC 556) and an option module Future Climates and Architecture (ARC 6771).
PhD: I supervise PhD theses in the humanities, focusing on the history, theory, philosophy and practice of architecture and sustainability on both the standard route PhD and the PhD by design course. I contribute to Advanced Research Methods and Research by Design courses of the Doctoral Development programme in the Graduate School.
Head of External Relations (2015 – )
Director of Space, Cultures and Politics Research Group (2018 –)
Director of Design, Engagement and Practice Research Group (2015 – 2016; 2018)
Director of Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes (2009 – 2013; 2015)
My research interests lie in two key areas of architectural humanities: understanding the place of architecture in cultural transformations and transitional periods, and in my investigations of the cultural dimensions of climate change.
My initial research explored experimental representational practices and their relation to European literature and politics in the eighteenth century as well as to the emerging areas of urban and landscape design (PhD, Cambridge 1998). Through careful investigation of the social and political context, I have continued to investigate the communicative aspects of architecture across different media: text, sculpture, performance and film. A commitment to environmental issues and a more careful use of the world´s resources underpins my integrated research, practice and teaching. My first monograph in spem melioris aevi (2007) brought together literature, philosophy, landscape and urban studies introducing an original interdisciplinary approach to periods of cultural transition. My recent monograph Provisional Cities (2017) draws on an environmental history of precarious settlements to inform current discussions of societal transformations in the Anthropocene, the proposed geological epoch named after humans.
I convene Culture and Climate Change, a framework for a series of research and public engagement projects on the cultural dimensions of climate change. This links to my research projects on energy and industry (AHRC Stories of Change); provisional cities and the Anthropocene (British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship) and scenarios of climate change (Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, UoS; Ashden Trust, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and OpenSpace Research Centre funded).
Research, Publication and Public Engagement projects:
1. Collective Scenarios: rehearsing, predicting and speculating on climate futures (2019-2022)
PI Professor Renata Tyszczuk. Major Research Fellowship Leverhulme Trust £177,322
This 3 year research and publication project will produce a cultural history of 'scenarios', revealing the under-acknowledged origins, practices and hence assumptions of scenario building for climate futures. The project will uncover the inter-relations of scenario-based methods in various disciplines, including the calculative technologies of the climate science-policy interface, the narrative processes in science fiction, and anticipation strategies in projects for future ecosystem and urban design. The study will lead to a monograph and an online open access resource of research materials on the past, present and future of scenarios of climate change.
2. Culture and Climate Change 2009 – ongoing
PI Professor Renata Tyszczuk (joint) with Professor Joe Smith (RGS with IBG, formerly the Open University)
I lead the Culture and Climate Change programme of work – a framework for a series of research projects, public events and publications. I co-founded Culture and Climate Change with Joe Smith and am also the joint editor of the book series (with Joe Smith, and Robert Butler, OU). The project website holds information about the publications, events and linked research projects.
The four public discussions on cultural dimensions of climate change that launched the project featured leading figures from the arts and journalism, as well as humanities and social science researchers, and were chaired by Quentin Cooper of BBC´s Material World. They took place at the Tipping Point Conference, Oxford University; Eden Project; Open University, Camden; and the National Theatre Studio in 2010 and are available as the ‘Mediating Change’ podcasts on iTunes U.
The first book published in the series was: Butler, Margolies, Smith and Tyszczuk (eds.) Culture and Climate Change: Recordings (Cambridge: Shed, 2011);
In 2013-2014 the group collaborated with TippingPoint and the Free Word Centre in London on a series of events for writers and journalists. The second book published was Smith, Tyszczuk and Butler, Culture and Climate Change: Narratives (Cambridge: Shed, 2014). It features six essays, eleven short stories and an edited transcript from an event held in December 2013 at the Free Word Centre. Over twenty contributors including authors Marina Warner and Caspar Henderson, poet Ruth Padel, journalist Isobel Hilton and neuroscientist Kris De Meyer address the question ‘What Sort Of Story is Climate Change’?
The next book in the series will be Culture and Climate Change: Scenarios (editors: R. Tyszczuk, J. Smith, and R. Butler) and will feature contributions from members of the academic research network on Scenarios of Climate Change (2.) and artists and arts organisations involved in the Climate Change in Residence project (3.).
3. Scenarios of Climate Change Research Network 2017- 2018
PI Dr Renata Tyszczuk; Co-I Professor Simon Marvin UoS;
The ‘Scenarios of Climate Change’ Research Network was a Culture and Climate Change project in collaboration with the School of Architecture and Urban Institute, University of Sheffield. The project convened a series of interdisciplinary seminars. The aims were to explore how scenarios are used in the discussion of climate change, but also to examine how and why a range of disciplines use scenarios differently.
4. Climate Change in Residence: Future Scenarios 2015-2017
PI Dr Renata Tyszczuk; Co-I Professor Joe Smith (RGS with IBG, formerly The Open University)
This Culture and Climate Change project established a new approach to arts-science residencies for the co-production of novel scenarios of future climate change. The project connected emerging cultural work on climate change directly to research into climate change scenarios by eg. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The project was launched at the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris in December 2015. The project was based at the University of Sheffield, working in partnership with the arts organisations Arts Admin and Free Word Centre, both in London, and the Open University Open Space Research Centre. The project was jointly funded by an R&D IIKE grant from the University of Sheffield and The Ashden Trust (£30K April 2015) and the Jerwood Charitable Trust (£30K July 2015).
Updates on the project are available on the Culture and Climate Change website
5. ‘Stories of Change: Exploring energy and community in the past, present and future’ 2014-2017
PI Professor Joe Smith (RGS with IBG, formerly The Open University); Co-I; PI (UoS) Dr Renata Tyszczuk
The AHRC funded Stories of Change research project set out to challenge the terms of public debates about energy issues. It sought to examine areas of conflict, make space for more diverse voices and support a more open public conversation about energy system transitions. The project explored energy transformations of the past, present and future through an innovative mix of social science and humanities research, digital storytelling, short films, and other creative work. It also generated a publicly accessible collection of ‘stories of change’. I led one of three strands in the project, ‘Future Works’ based at Sheffield, which explored connections between energy, industry and community in the Derwent Valley region at a range of factory sites.
The project was funded by an AHRC Connected Communities: Communities, Cultures, Environment and Sustainability grant (£1.47 M). During the development phase the project team was awarded an AHRC Connected Communities development grant (£15K February – May 2013). The project stemmed from an AHRC Research Development Workshop on Communities, Cultures, Environments and Sustainability (May 2012). The project has received further funding for public engagement activities and events at AHRC Connected Communities Festivals: ‘One Great Workshop’ Sheffield Design Week 2015 (£9.65K) and ‘Utopia Works’ Derby Silk Mill and ‘Utopia Fair’ Somerset House London, 2016 (£20K).
6. Provisional Cities 2013 – ongoing
PI Dr Renata Tyszczuk
I have developed and expanded my research on architecture, provisionality and environmental change. This has included accounts of architecture’s relation to global environmental change (Smith et al. 2014, Tyszczuk et al., 2012; Butler et al., 2011). The research is rooted in investigations of the interactions between natural physical events, philosophical and cultural transitions and dramatic revisions of architectural theory and practice as set out in my book on experimental architectures and cities in the eighteenth century (Tyszczuk, 2007). My recent book Provisional Cities, brings these considerations into dialogue with discussions around the Anthropocene (the ‘age of humans’).
The project has received British Academy funding (Provisional City: Revising the role of architecture in responding to environmental change- book and public communications project British Academy Mid Career Fellowship award £117K; 2013-2014); In the same year I was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge.
Book: R. Tyszczuk, Provisional Cities: Cautionary Tales for the Anthropocene (Routledge, 2018)
The book was launched at the Culture and Climate Change Exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society 12-28 June 2018. The exhibition featured a series of models, or ‘miniature biospheres’ made during the writing of the book.
7. Interdependence Day 2006 – 2012
PPI Professor Joe Smith, (RGS with IBG, formerly OU) Co-I Dr Renata Tyszczuk; Co-I Professor Nigel Clark (formerly OU, currently University of Lancaster).
A research and communications project which sought to provoke new thinking about how we should act in, and think about, an interconnected world. The Interdependence Day project has been rooted in a partnership between OU Open Space/Geography, University of Sheffield School of Architecture and nef, the new economics foundation. Public events, broadcasts and publications have drawn together a range of relevant OpenSpace researchers and worked with policy, artist and media partners, as well as the Geographical Association, to provoke fresh thinking and wide public impact.
The project aimed to refresh jaded debates about sustainable development, globalization and environmental change through an integrated body of activities comprising: academic work, such as the ESRC/NERC funded interdisciplinary seminars and related publications; direct public engagement, e.g. through the Interdependence Day public events and workshops, and a reach to wider publics through broadcast and webcasting. The project culminated in a sellout event at London's Southbank Centre, a web ATLAS of Interdependence and a printed ATLAS. These concluding publications and events brought together many of the contributors to the project, drawn from the natural and social sciences, arts, media and policy. The project’s seminar series was funded by the ESRC and NERC. The events, web publication and project book ATLAS were funded by the Frederick Soddy Trust and the Open Space Research Centre.
Postgraduate Research Supervision Interests
The future city, experimental practices, scenarios, culture and climate change.
|Research Students and Assistants||
Completed PhD research:
Mohamed Gamal: An investigation of the practice of home in the hawari of Old Cairo 1800-2009 2006; completed 2010
Gehan Selim: A Study of Bulaq Abul Ela, Cairo Planning Schemes 1960-2005 2008; completed 2011
Julia Udall: Tools to Create Agency in Contested Urban Spaces, 2011; completed 2015
Fay al-Khalifa: Sustainable development in Bahrain, 2012; completed 2015
Current PhD research:
Nor Izura Tukiman: Architecture and Climate Change in Malyasia,
Nurul A Mohamed: Architectural Pedagogy in Malaysia
Maha al-Ugaily: Synaesthetic Scapes
Cressida Kocienski: Speaking across spaces; contemporary perspectives on the narration of contested sites
John Dewong Jeong: Between Art and Architecture
Shuyou Zhang: Indeterminate Legends of Urban Space
Danni Kerr: Time-based Architecture
Claire Tymon: Placemaking and the role of the Creative industries
Sofia Gonzalez Gamez: Participation and Continuity in Community Projects
Bana Darwich” Reflective Pedagogy in Architecture
|Grants, Awards and Consultancy||
2018 Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (£177, 322)
2018 Culture and Climate Change: Exhibition, supported by OpenSpace Research Centre – RGS with IBG; Pavilion, Exhibition Road, The Royal Geographical Society, 12-28 June 2018
2016 Scenarios of Climate Change – academic research network project GO Fund, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures (£7.8K)
2016 AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2016 (£20K)
2015 AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2015 (£9.65 K) 'One Great Workshop' project Sheffield Design Week June 2015.
2015 Jerwood Charitable Trust (£30K) for Climate Change in Residence: Future Scenarios project
2015 Ashden Trust (£15 K) and match funding by Collaborative Research and Development, Innovation Impact and Knowledge Exchange funding University of Sheffield (HEIF CR&D IIKE) (£15 K) for Climate Change in Residence: Future Scenarios
2015 University of Sheffield Strategic Development Fund/ On Campus placements (100 student hours- £765)
2014 AHRC Connected Communities Environment and Sustainability grant: ‘Stories of Change: exploring energy and community in the past present and future’ Co-Investigator; total grant: £ 1.47M
2013 The British Academy: British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship – ‘Provisional City: Revising the role of architecture in responding to environmental change’ Principal Investigator; total grant: £ 117,502
2013 AHRC Connected Communities Environment and Sustainability Development grant: Journeys through Environmental Change Co-Investigator; total grant: £13K
2013 The Ashden Trust Culture and Climate Change book series publication and event funding
2011 The Frederick Soddy Trust: book publication funding: ATLAS: Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World
2009: CILASS (Centre for Inquiry Based Learning, University of Sheffield); Project: `Theory Forum´ as part of Research Group AGENCY (£4K)
2009 CILASS (Centre for Inquiry-based learning in the Arts and Social Sciences) IBL Grant, University of Sheffield (£3960) for Theory Forum; Critical Pedagogy as part of AGENCY Research Centre ( with colleagues Peter Blundell Jones, Prue Chiles, Florian Kossak, Doina Petrescu, Tatjana Schneider, Stephen Walker)
2006–2008 ESRC/NERC/OU Interdependence Day (ID) project funding for Sheffield based ID project activities (£10K)
2006 Stroud Award, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain (SAHGB) publication grant
|Professional Standing and Distinctions||
Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellow 2019-2022
British Academy Mid-Career Fellow 2013-2014
Visiting Scholar, Architecture, University of Cambridge 2013-2014
A list of key publications can be found below. For a full list of recent publications please click here.
- Energetic. Stories of Change: exploring energy and community in the past, present and future.
- View this article in WRRO Provisional Cities: Cautionary Tales for the Anthropocene. London: Routledge.
- Culture and Climate Change: Narratives.
- Atlas: Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World. Black Dog Publishing.
- Agency: Working with Uncertain Architectures. Taylor & Francis.
- The Story of an Architect King Stanislas Leszczynski in Lorraine 1737-1766. Peter Lang.
- Geostories: another architecture for the environment Design Earth. The Journal of Architecture, 24(5), 726-729. View this article in WRRO
- An Energy Account for Spaceship Earth. Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, 6(2-3), 92-92. View this article in WRRO
- Culture and climate change scenarios: the role and potential of the arts and humanities in responding to the ‘1.5 degrees target’. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 31, 56-64. View this article in WRRO
- Gathering around stories: Interdisciplinary experiments in support of energy system transitions. Energy Research and Social Science, 31, 284-294. View this article in WRRO
- Anthropocene Unconformities: On the Aporias of Geological Space and Time. Space and Culture, 19(4), 435-447. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Anthropocenophobia: The Stone Falls on the City. Harvard Design Magazine, 42.
- View this article in WRRO Architecture of the Anthropocene: The Crisis of Agency. Scroope The Cambridge Architecture Journal(23), 44-51.
- Scenarios of interactive citizenship, Architecture and the Smart City (pp. 139-154). Routledge
- Culture and climate change: experiments and improvisations – an afterword In Feola G, Geoghegan H & Arnall A (Ed.), Climate and Culture Multidisciplinary Perspectives on a Warming World Cambridge University Press
- Future Works: Stories of resilience and resourcefulness In Trogal K, Bauman I, Lawrence R & Petrescu D (Ed.), Architecture and Resilience: Interdisciplinary dialogues Routledge
- The automated gardens of Lunéville: from the self-moving landscape to the circuit walk, Architecture and Movement the Dynamic Experience of Buildings and Landscapes (pp. 196-203). Routledge
- Cautionary Tales: The Sky is Falling! the World is Ending! In Smith J, Tyszczuk R & Butler R (Ed.), Culture and Climate Change: Narratives (pp. 45-57).
- Mappa Mundi In Tyszczuk R, Smith J, Clark N & Butcher M (Ed.), ATLAS Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World (pp. 10-14). Artifice Incorporated
- Future Worlds: To-ing and Fro-ing In Tyszczuk R, Smith J, Clark N & Butcher M (Ed.), ATLAS Geography, Architecture and Change in an Interdependent World (pp. 132-139). Artifice Incorporated
- L'utopie architecturale du roi bienfaisant In Hatzenberger A (Ed.), Utopies des Lumières ENS