I was honoured to be interviewed by Helen Castle for the RIBA Journal, for a recent article looking at dyslexia within the architectural industry. It was a refreshing take on how this difference to learning can be a huge positive, especially a creative industry like architecture, rather than the hinderance it was historically perceived.
Having lived with dyslexia myself I found the traditional school system particularly difficult, which I believe was partly due to having it undiagnosed for so long. I was fortunate that I was able to find my passion for architecture (through a Youth Training Scheme & a very inspiring teacher in Roger Tyrell) and found that my dyslexia is not an obstacle, but in many ways it feels like a ‘superpower’.
Dyslexia has made me a more creative person; I am more innovative and adaptive with how I work which I have found to be a huge benefit to the company and my clients. I often believe I listen harder than most to my clients, it is obviously important to take onboard what all stakeholders are saying but I am extra conscious to ensure I am not missing any detail. To back this up I always write notes and often sketch out ideas, all to double check that I have understood the client properly and we are on the same path.
As a lecturer at Reading University, my dyslexia give me the tools to have honest conversations with my students. I believe my story, and less traditional education path, helps to break down barriers as it shows everyone that architecture is available to all, creative problem solving can come from every walk of life.
The full article can be found here, it also includes interviews with Hannah Durham, lecturer at Oxford Brookes University (who recently won a RIBA Journal Rising Star Award) and Karen Mosley, Managing Director of HLM Architects.