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Power and passion: 2019 National Architecture Conference to harness ‘collective agency’

The Australian Institute of Architects has announced the theme of its 2019 National Architecture Conference, which will take place in Melbourne from 20 to 22 June.

The conference, titled “Collective Agency,” will be curated by Melbourne architect Monique Woodward, founding director of Wowowa Architecture, and Stephen Choi, a UK-registered architect who is the executive director of the not-for-profit Living Future Institute of Australia.

In a statement accompanying the release of the theme, Woodward and Choi wrote that the conference would “encourage reflection on today’s challenges, the articulation of more meaningful protocols, and most importantly, the willingness to act. Discussing what was (our shared understanding), what is (our shared reality), and what could be (our shared advocacy), Collective Agency is a dual state of doing and being.

“Passionate about the way political power is achieved and used, and the opposing feats of advocacy that aim to influence this power, the conference will celebrate projects from small, medium, and large practices inside and outside of architecture, demonstrating the power of empathy, enabling contribution, and in doing so, re-examining professional aspirations.

“Every speaker will be tasked with giving away something precious and empowering. Every attendee will be tasked with making a pledge to act on this new power. The event will be a demonstration of collective agency.”

Woodward received the National Emerging Architect Prize at the 2018 National Architecture Awards, and was elected as an Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter Councillor in 2016. She has also served on the Victorian Heritage Committee and is the co-chair for the chapter’s Small Practice Forum and the Emerging Architects and Graduates Network (EmAGN).

Choi co-founded not-for-profit environmental building and research organization Architecture for Change in 2011. The current executive director of the not-for-profit Living Future Institute of Australia, he won the DARCH Horse Award from EmAGN in 2014.

More details about the conference will be released in early 2019.

The Institute is also on the hunt for a creative curator for the 2020 conference, with expressions of interest open until 22 February 2019. For more information, go here.

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