Curriculum Vitae: Rosa Ainley

‘What drives my work is a passion for exploring how buildings and space form and are formed by the social, personal and political narratives of those who use them: the stories of our lives.’

Download full cv here

I am writer in and of architecture with an AHRC-funded PhD from the School of Architecture, Royal College of Art (RCA). I am currently pursuing projects on waiting room, writing in regeneration and performance.

In all my work, whether research- or practice-based projects, I am particularly interested in the regenerative potential of writing and story-telling. I focus on finding ways to articulate the voices of a building’s users as a part of architecture and a contribution to it, a method I developed in my doctoral research and called ‘plurivocity’. I work with architecture practices, universities, arts organisations, theatre professionals, community groups, publishers and individuals – and I am always interested in new conversations.

I am a Visiting Lecturer at the RCA for the London Doctoral Design Centre, in the School of Visual Communication and on the Research Methods course, as well as at the universities of Westminster, Kent, Hertfordshire and Canterbury Christchurch.

I am research-active and I have a substantial publications record.

writer, lecturer, researcher, editor, project manager, editorial consultant, commissioner, workshop leader
writing, text-based art, sound installation, residencies, collaborations, information architecture, reauthoring, editorial consultancy and strategy, conference presentations
Working with:
academic, arts and community contexts,arts and architecture organisations and practitioners, galleries, private practices, charities and voluntary sector, specialist and mainstream publishers.

Recent Work
Visiting Lecturer, Architecture, University of Hertfordshire, 2017/18; Fine Art/Art Writing, University of Kent, 2017/18; Visual Communications, Writing and Research Methods Courses, RCA, 2016–18
Workshop leader, two-day Writing Retreat, London Doctoral Design Centre 2016/17
‘Look who’s talking and what’s the story?’, online longform writing, Museum of Domestic Architecture, Middlesex University 2016
Answers on a postcard please, Kent County Council/Whitstable Biennale 2016
Building 519, Whitstable Biennale 2014, text and audio installation/Spike Island Bristol 2015
The Chronicle, Chapter 1: ‘Waiting and Contemplation’, Guy’s Hospital, Writer in residence, Cancer Treatment Centre (RSH+P architects) commission with Future\City
Commissioning editor, The Chronicle, 2014–16
Associate Lecturer, Canterbury Christ Church University,  2011–13
Voices of Leysdown, community-based regeneration story-writing project
Visiting Lecturer, University of Westminster
Architectural Association, Digital Platforms content editor (part-time)

2012–15 PhD research, ‘Writing Alexandra Palace: Plurivocity as a method of cultural          recovery of buildings’, AHRC-funded, Royal College of Art, Architecture
1995–1997 MA Photographic Studies, University of Westminster
1988–1992 Diploma in Art and Design Studies, City of London Polytechnic
1978–1981 BA (hons), IIi English & American Literature, University of Kent
1975–1977 ‘A’ levels: English, French, German, Kingsway College, London
1970–1975 8 ‘O’ levels, Wymondham College, Norfolk

Selected Publications
‘Tributaries, Flow and an Extraordinary Alchemy’ in AA XX 100: Women in Architecture 1917–2017, AA Publications, 2017
‘What’s the story?’ in Un/Common Building, Collective Excavation of a Fictional Structure, Theatrum Mundi/University of Sheffield, 2017
2 Ennerdale Drive: unauthorised biography, Zer0 Books, 2011
Tell-tale/Tell-tale2, A+Q/Q+A story-writing day, Whitstable Biennale satellite 2010
Leysdown Rose-tinted, CABE-funded Vision for Leysdown regeneration initiative, lead artist, 2009
Don’t hold your breath (sound work) in Drawing Breath Recycled, Horsebridge Arts Centre, Whitstable 2008; Don’t hold your breath (v2.0, 2D), both touring 2009/10
‘missing you’ in Ideas above our Station, Route 18, 2006
dyke London, Ellipsis, London 1999, 2000

Edited collections:
This is what we do: a muf manual, editor, ellipsis, 2001
Death of a Mother: Daughters’ Tales, editor, Pandora, London 1995 (and in translation, dtw, Munich 1998)
New Frontiers in Space, Bodies and Gender, editor, Routledge, London 1998/ebook
Postcards from the Edge, editor, Scarlet, London 1993

See online work at: digital story archive including Circuit and Mark on the Grass, Swale Borough Council 2011
‘(Re)generating change: writing the public realm’ on urbanwords, 2010 A Trick of the Light, architexts/South East Arts, writer in residence, 2005 ‘design for waiting room’ in outsidedge, ed James Swinson, University of the Arts 2005

‘A Babble of Allusions’ and ‘Future Past Tense’ in Houman Barekat and Alison Hugill (eds) Politics by Other Means: Selected Criticism from Review 31, 2014
‘Interstitial Practices and 2 Ennerdale Drive: unauthorised biography’ in Writing Urban Space, Gavin Goodwin, Liam Bell, eds, Zer0 Books, 2012
‘Watching the Detectors: photography and surveillance’ in Technospaces – inside the new media, ed S R Munt, Continuum, London 2001
‘What’s the story?’ in zed7 Public and Private, eds T Triggs & S Cook, Virginia Commonwealth University, 2001
‘A Tale of Two Soundtracks’ in Girls Girls Girls: Women in Music, ed S Cooper, Cassell,
London 1995
‘She thinks I still care’ in The Good, The Bad and The Gorgeous, eds B Budge & D Hamer, Pandora, London 1994

Selected freelance work, 1995–present
Publishing sessions on PR, Interpreting Media and Masculinities modules, Visiting Lecturer, Christchurch Canterbury University, 2011/13
Writing the building, Working with words, Visiting Lecture, BA creative writing module, University of Westminster, March 2011
Creative writing workshop tutor with Kent Refugee Action Network
Duty of Care, London Metropolitan University, School of Architecture, contributing editor
Conference presentations
‘From experiment to application in Writing Alexandra Palace: Plurivocity as a method of cultural recovery of buildings’ Writing Buildings, Kent School of Architecture, July 2016
A Chorus of writing: developing the plurivocal method, University of Brighton, June 2015
Uses and users, architecture and writing, LSE Cities Erasure and Displacement: urban memoryscape, June 2015
Ghost Buildings, Public Places: Re/writing the User Narrative, Writingplace: literary methods in architectural research and design’ at TU Delft, November 2013
Defining Questions: Writing on Ghost Buildings in London and Istanbul, Literature and Urban Space, Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul, November 2013

The View from the Threshold: Writing the House, Spatial Perspectives: Literature and Architecture, 1850 – Present, Oxford University, June 2012
Poetics of the Ordinary: Writing 2 Ennerdale Drive: unauthorised biography, Unofficial Histories, Bishopsgate Institute, May 2012
Writing Urban Space
, Department of English Literature, Surrey University, April 2010
Outside Thinking, Vision for Leysdown Symposium, October 2009
Playing Patience: design for waiting room at Waiting Time, Department of Comparative Literature, New York University, April 20010
Keynote speaker, Interstitial Practices: Crossing the threshold in 2 Ennerdale Drive and other constructions at Writing Space and Gender, University of Warwick, March 2009
2 Ennerdale Drive: paper, stone, scissors at Architexture, Departments of English and Architecture, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, April 2008

Editorial management
muf/Southern and South East Arts, research/writer, Arts Council South East redesign
Turner Contemporary, Margate, Looking Up! CD-rom, research/content writer
muf/RFH, The Unofficial Record: Royal Festival Hall 50th birthday celebration exhibition, writer, content writer
Editorial Management
Proxigean Tide, exhibition catalogue, Adam Chodzko, Tate St Ives, 2008
The17, Bill Drummond, Brilliant Books 2008; (also website texts, How to be an artist 2003, posters, articles etc)
Then, exhibition catalogue, Adam Chodzko, Breaking Ground Dublin 2008
This is what we do: a muf manual, Ellipsis, London 2001
Leavitt Bernstein/Shoreditch New Deal, consulting editor

Jan 1994–Oct 1995 Planning Aid for London, Publications Manager
Jan 1988–Dec 1993 Women’s Design Service, Information and Publications
Feb 1987–Jan 1988 Freeform Arts Trust, Information Officer (1-year CSV post)
May 1985–Feb 1986 Women in Print, Production Co-ordinator
Sept 1983–May 1985 Network Photographers, Picture Researcher/librarian
Sept 1982–June 1983 A & C Black Publishing Ltd, Temporary Picture Researcher


2 Responses to CV

  1. Alice says:

    Hi Rosa, how can I get in touch with you? I wanted to meet you to discuss a potential commission. Many thanks.

  2. Henriette Mueller-Stahl says:

    Dear Rosa Ainley,
    I am a collegue of Andreas Müller at Birkhäuser Publishers and I would like to suggest you a potential editorial work. May I ask you about your email address to tell you more about the project?
    Many thanks in advance
    Henriette Mueller-Stahl

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