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AIA UK Mentorship 'Meet & Greet'

Fiona Mckay

As part of AIA National’s commitment to advance the standards of architectural education, training and practice, our chapter evaluated how we serve the UK community of students architectural designers and young architects alike. Following on the success of the AIA UK Student Design Charrette at Roca Gallery and its Noel Hill Travel Award to exemplary year­ out or final year students, the UK Chapter felt more could be done to assist young architects and designers as they enter the work field and face the challenges of the real world. Thus was born the AIA UK Mentorship Meet­up.

Several chapter members brought together their experiences of participation in other programmes, such as AIA Chicago’s Bridge Program and AIA San Francisco’s Mentorship Program. Based on the success of these programmes, Katharine Storr (new AIA UK Board Director and Architectural Assistant at Foster+Partners), organised the first “Meet and Greet” for the chapter. Armed with colour ­coded name tags and various experiences, 25 chapter members shared their career paths over drinks.

Conversations quickly started up and ranged from the differences of taking AREs when they were on paper versus the newest computerised versions; the experiences of moving to the UK from the US; the adjustment of life in the professional world abroad; and the differences between architectural education in the US versus the UK, among many other topics.

We were happy to see so many new faces and to welcome several recent arrivals to the UK. The enthusiastic turnout has meant that the mentoring programme will become a part of the chapter’s agenda for the future. The next event will likely take place in mid ­June. If you are interested in participating as either a mentor or a mentee, please get in touch with us at

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