The University of Sydney will host a unique photographic exhibition in July featuring women architects at work.

Organised by Parlour Inc, a fast-growing, not-for-profit organisation that promotes gender equity in the architecture industry, the exhibition will be held at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning’s Tin Sheds Gallery.

The photographic exhibition by Parlour captures women architects and the architectural workplaces of three major Sydney practices over a single day. A second series of images playfully reveals the demographic makeup of the architectural community and challenges stereotypes of an architect’s identity.

While over 40 per cent of students graduating in architecture are female, yet women represent only 21 per cent of registered architects. University of Sydney Associate Professor Lee Stickells observes that they see many talented female graduates coming out of their Faculty with several alumni enjoying continued success; however, career pathways for women architects could be substantially improved.

Parlour developed from the ARC-funded research project ‘Equity and Diversity in the Australian Architecture Profession: Women, Work and Leadership (2011–2014)’, led by University of Queensland’s Dr Naomi Stead, to investigate the low number of women progressing through the industry.

Stead explains that the research revealed the need to provide a space for women to speak, network and celebrate their work in architecture. She believes that it is important for all those working in the profession to exchange experiences and share constructive ideas for best work practices. This will support women coming through the industry, as well as make it a better work experience for men in architecture.

Parlour co-founder and editor, Justine Clark says that they have created strong online networks across Australia and internationally and are now delighted to be holding their first Sydney event.

According to Clark, there is a thriving online community of activists who are working towards greater equity for women in the Australian architecture profession. The exhibition is an important contribution to this objective, and provides a different view of the research that will help develop networks in Sydney.

The photographic exhibition Portraits of Practice: At Work in Architecture features around 300 images of women in the Sydney offices of Bates Smart, BVN Architecture and PTW Architects. Clark explains that the exhibition creates an interesting picture of women at work in architecture, working to increase their visibility, celebrate their achievements, and shift industry thinking to greater support of career pathways for women in practice.

The exhibition includes a second series of photographs that captured almost 100 delegates at the 2010 national conference of the Australian Institute of Architects. The series shows that practitioners are more diverse than the popular perception of a male-dominated industry, challenging stereotypes and clich├ęs about who can be an architect.

Portraits of Practice: At Work in Architecture opens at Tin Sheds Gallery at the University of Sydney on 10 July and runs until 11 September. A series of talks and forums will be held during the exhibition’s Sydney show. Visit http://archiparlour.org/ for further event information.

Portraits of Practice: At Work in Architecture is curated and designed by Dr Naomi Stead (University of Queensland), Maryam Gusheh (University of NSW), Justine Clark, Fiona Young (BVN), Gill Matthewson (University of Queensland) and Catherine Griffiths.

Event Details:

What: Portraits of Practice: At Work in Architecture 

When: 10 July - 11 September 2015; Tues-Fri 11am-5pm

Where: Tin Sheds Gallery, Wilkinson Building, The University of Sydney, Darlington

Entry: Free