I am honoured to be recognised in this year’s Reading University Students Union annual awards, winning the Teaching Excellence Award for Built Environment. As these awards are nominated by the students I teach, it makes the prize feel even more exceptional.
Teaching has always been important to me, as I have written about in a previous blog post. When I was younger it was my teachers who saw my potential and helped to encourage me, this was something that inspired me to teach myself, I had always hoped to be able to pass this positive experience on to the next generation.
There are so many other great teachers at Reading University, I am humbled to have been singled out for this honour. This award has come as a very pleasant surprise, after such a challenging year for us all it is positive news that is even more welcomed.
‘Darren is an inspiration ever since the first lecture he gave. He always gets us talking and always has more to add to the lessons. He’s informative and precise. On a personal note he has helped me believe in myself by talking about his dyslexia, helping me to overcome what I have struggled with for many years, I cannot thank him enough!’
The RIBA, working in collaboration with Paradigm Network, celebrated Black History Month with a special book club held throughout October. I was honoured to be asked to take part in this event, the importance of this movement is inclusion, everyone should be passionate about the accessibility for all to increase diversity and ultimately to drive our industry forward.
The month was about us all appreciating and celebrating the achievements from the BAME communities, and championing professionals from all backgrounds in all sectors of society.
For the Book Club we were all asked to nominate a book or song that has had a profound effect on us as a way of showcasing the inspirational work from Black and Asian talent. I selected the book ‘The Black Album’ by the hugely talented Hanif Kureishi.
This book transports me back to a specific time in my life, of being 23 in my final year of my architectural degree at Portsmouth School of Architecture. It represents a period of awakening for me, I remember it being a wonderfully diverse cultural era in the 1990’s in terms of literature, music, art, architecture, film and of course my education.
I find Hanif Kureishi has such a wonderful way of dealing with some complex social issues around race, religion, sexuality and modern culture, painting the world through wonderfully colourful words and descriptions. I think it’s fair to say, his work has played a huge part in my learning and what I do now in practice.
There was a free webinar on Thursday 29th October where all the design leaders participating in the book club discussed their selection and how it has affected their practice, an interesting insight into what motivates and inspires design leaders.
RIBA Event Details