The global pandemic has overshadowed the last year and our Master’s program, students and staff had to adapt to the “new normal”. Now, as we have moved into the new year, we would like to remember the most significant events of 2020 and the amazing achievements of our students under difficult circumstances.
In January, our students embarked on their journey to Peru for our annual field trip. Together with our director Carmen Mendoza Arroyo and assistant director Raquel Colacios, they arrived in Pedregal, Piura, to work on Integrated nature-based solutions for post-disaster recovery through public space design. The workshop was conducted in collaboration with our local partner, the Universidad de Piura, and our alumni Rossana Poblet.
In 2020, we undertook not one but two socio-spatial workshops. In March, the students of our class 2019/2020 developed a new perspective for the transformation of the Montjuïc area into a more inclusive and diverse green infrastructure for the city of Barcelona during the two-week socio-spatial workshop Mapping Towards Connectivity, in a collaboration with Barcelona Regional.
And just before the year ended, our class of 2020/2021 presented their work for our workshop Post-Covid Public Space Transformations, an evaluation of specific vulnerabilities faced by women related to public space use and perception as well as the specific vulnerabilities in the (post) Covid-scenario. The students looked at how a number of diverse public spaces in Barcelona are being used during the COVID-19 pandemic from a gendered perspective and how female and gender non-conforming residents perceive those spaces and are affected by those changes.
Our lives were uprooted this year due to the global pandemic – a crisis that also affects deeply our work as educators, researchers, architects and urban designers. Our staff and collaborators wrote a series of articles with reflections, lessons and outlooks on the current health crisis, including the following contributions from our director Carmen Mendoza-Arroyo, Kathrin Golda-Pongratz, Apen Ruiz and Verónica Sánchez.
Covid-19 has impacted how we teach our Master’s program and how our students advance their careers. Last year, all of our students undertook remote virtual internships and worked on a variety of projects related to the COVID response in the humanitarian sector. We asked some of our students to report back to us and tell us about their internship placements, work experiences, and the challenges and opportunities of doing a virtual internship.
Our alumni interviews have been a popular part of our weekly blog for a long time, so last year, we decided to start a new series of conversations with our professors and collaborators.
Our professors are a group of renowned international researchers and practitioners and come from a range of disciplines and specialisations, including political ecology, environmental justice, gender and equity, urban resilience and climate change adaptation, thus providing students an interdisciplinary understanding of the humanitarian sector.
In 2020, we welcomed David Sanderson from the University of New South Wales as a Collaborating Professor at our university. With close to 30 years’ experience working in crises across the world, David Sanderson engages with aid agencies and others about how we can improve humanitarian response and build resilience. In this interview, we spoke with David about the increase in urban crises, the changes in the humanitarian sector and why architects need to be in the centre of urban humanitarian response.
Our students attended David’s course about “Good Practice in Urban Humanitarian Response” taught as part of our Humanitarian Shelter and Settlements Workshop.
Check out this video some of our students created for the final assignment of the five-day course he taught named “Five things architects wanting to work in humanitarian aid should know”.
Wishing all our students, staff, collaborators and friends a prosperous 2021!
Images Piura, Peru: Courtesy of Universidad de Piura
Image Balcony in Modena, Italy by Frizio Annovi (all rights reserved)