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Architectural Research: Emma Campbell

Architectural Research: Emma Campbell

Where are they now?

I graduated with a Masters in Architecture from Queen’s University in 2016. Supervised by Professors Gary Boyd and Greg Keeffe, my thesis year was spent sifting through NI’s unemployment statistics, surveying JobCentres and reading about the emergence of social security. My final thesis project, entitled COAL(not dole)ISLAND, considered how post-industrial towns might be regenerated if citizens received universal income instead of state benefits. Doing my Masters at Queen’s completely reshaped how I thought (and now think) about architecture’s influence on everyday life. Choosing to look at the development of supermarket checkouts for my Master’s dissertation reaffirmed this emerging preoccupation with the everyday spaces most architects tend to dismiss.

After graduation, I worked as a Part II Architectural Assistant in WDR & RT Taggart coordinating design packages for multiple M&S Foodhalls. While there, I learned a lot about the complex network of players involved in supermarket design. I learned that supermarkets aren’t just dumb sheds, but spaces strategically designed for maximum shopper impulse and product throughput. When the opportunity arrived to begin a PhD on the development and future of supermarket space, I couldn’t resist.
Since starting my PhD, I have presented at conferences, attended exhibitions and participated in workshops in Qatar, New York, Vancouver, Nottingham, London and Belfast. I have assisted on international and local events for the EU-funded CityZEN and the ESRC-funded M-Nex research projects. I have also been involved in teaching across Queens’ Architecture and Planning courses.

At the moment, I am working on my PhD thesis which considers emerging trends impacting supermarkets through a series of designed spatial propositions. In my downtime, I play for a local tag rugby team and make my own clothes.


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