“no words no action” might just look like a blog. But it is also several other things.

It is a ‘live’ research diary.

The blog will record (as my own notebooks would do) the process of research that will lead to a Masters in Architecture dissertation. What I’m reading, what I’m thinking, what people are recommending to me, and where I feel the project is going.

It is about the process, as much as about the product.

In November 2007, like every other student on my course, I will submit a finished dissertation to the University of Sheffield School of Architecture. The blog will record the process towards that dissertation which would otherwise be left behind when the finished text is submitted.

It is a connection point between me and my supervisor.

I have chosen to take advantage of the Erasmus student exchange programme for the spring semester of 2007. So instead of studying at my ‘home’ university in Sheffield, England, I’m spending the semester in Strasbourg in France. Erasmus allows me to follow a parallel course to mine here in France, and transfer my credits back to Britain when I finish. It also gives me not-insignificant financial support to do this.

However, my dissertation will be submitted in Sheffield. The blog will be one way to stay in touch with my dissertation supervisor without relying on phone calls or occasional visits back to Britain while I’m away.

It is a connection point between me and anyone who might be interested.

The snappy one-line website address of the blog is a useful ‘business card’ which I can give to anyone who might be interested in my project. It has been promoted on a handful of online forums, and has received extremely positive feedback from a number of visitors who have been able to suggest new artists, architects or buildings to consider looking at.

It is an experiment in academic blogging.

I have had the privilege of studying at a reasonably techno-savvy university, where new technologies are being experimented with and implemented to investigate whether students can support their studies through the use of online learning environments, such as WebCT. The idea is that scheduled face to face meetings and tutorials with tutors and other students can be backed up with online services for the exchange of references, materials and for the participating in discussions.

In 2006 I participated in the University of Sheffield School of Architecture’s Live Projects. These six week projects kick start the fifth and sixth year Masters in Architecture course by mixing up students into small groups that take on a live design project, generally one with a real client and a real outcome.

I opted to participate in what was launched as the Live Project Live Project, and what became the Inconspicuous Yellow Office (IYO). As part of a wider E.U.-supported project, the IYO set out to investigate live projects as a form of alternative architectural practice. As a group we launched our own blog (follow the link above) to act as a portal for our activities and as an interface between us and the stakeholders in the projects we were investigating.

To cut a long story short, the project failed to deliver on many of the levels that it set out to, and tragically this very failure didn’t get the admission it deserved when we presented the work (regrettably falling into the format of a finished product that we felt obliged to present and defend to our assessors). The use of the blog as a means of promoting our actions and soliciting responces from stakeholders was initially ill-conceived, and not that effective. I remain interested to see why, and to understand whether a blog can do anything more than just be a one way presentation of one person or one group’s work.

In this context “no words no action” is different being the online presence of a single student’s largely linear train of study. But in that respect, it might make it a more suitable subject for the blogging medium.

It is largely about content, and less about appearance.

In the blogosphere, content is king. I sincerely hope that the content of this blog will appeal to a certain audience, and bring people back to follow my research progress.

James Brown
Strasbourg, 5 April 2007


  1. 1 About the blog « “no words no action”

    […] find out more about why I started this blog and why blogging for an academic project interests me on this page. No Comments Leave a Commenttrackback addressThere was an error with your comment, please try […]




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  • ABOUT THE PROJECT

    "no words no action" was an experiment in academic blogging. The blog recorded the progress of reading, research and investigations that lead to a Masters in Architecture dissertation at the University of Sheffield in autumn 2007. You can find out more about the author's interest in blogging here.

    To find out more about the thesis, download the original dissertation proposal (pdf format) from February 2007 or the semi-formal first chapter (pdf format) from April 2007.

    Further research projects are in the works, and their dependence on human interaction and networking suggests more blogging will be inevitable when the time comes.


  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    At the time that this blog was created, James Benedict Brown was a fifth year Masters of Architecture student at the University of Sheffield. James' personal blog is here.

    James graduated in 2008 and now lives and works in Glasgow.


  • ABOUT THE TUTOR

    This project was supervised by Renata Tyszczuk at the University of Sheffield


  • ABOUT YOU

    If you want to correct me on something, offer an opinion on a particular artist or building, or if you'd like to recommend someone or something to find out about, please feel free to leave a comment. Just click on 'Comments' under the headline of the relevant post...


  • BOOKSHELF

    Click here to browse James' bookshelf, and to purchase books being used in this project.


  • CONFERENCE DIARY

    I've managed to miss almost half a dozen compelling conferences around the world so far this year, simply because I have no (more) money to travel and no time to escape my studies in Strasbourg and Sheffield. However, if I had a magic plane ticket and plenty of time, here's my selection of essential conferences to attend. Hopefully I'll be there for more of them next year... click here for the diary (updated every time I miss another one).


  • NOTE

    All images are used for illustrative purposes only, and the copyright remains with the artist and/or creator. Please contact me if I have misappropriated an image or incorrectly credited it. Thanks... JBB


  • SOME RIGHTS RESERVED

    Creative Commons License
    The content of this blog is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.


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