New Standards – Senses / Chris Laing, Poppy Levison, Aaron Williams



New Standards will identify and confront some of the barriers to architecture, its education and practice, and consider how these can be overcome to embrace wider forms of creativity. Each event in the series will address the idea of comfort to challenge the idea of ‘standards’ as a bare minimum or one-size-fits-all approach. Together, we will question how we might better provide comfort in all its nuanced forms.

This first event in the New Standards series will consider the senses in architectural education and practice. Architectural Designer Chris Laing will present the work of Signstrokes and the Deaf Architecture Front, artist Aaron Williamson will share his public space performances celebrating ‘Deaf Gain’, and architecture student Poppy Levison will share her experiences as a blind architecture student and discuss how architecture can benefit from decentering the visual. The conversation will take place around a communal table to facilitate an open and comfortable discussion between the presenters and attendees. Free food and drink will be available throughout the evening.

CHRIS LAING is an Architectural Designer, Activist, Consultant, Founder Of Signstrokes and will be establishing Deaf Architecture Front. He is keen to facilitate engagement and opportunities between the Deaf community and the spatial and architecture practice industry. He has worked at Haworth Tompkins since 2017 completing his Part 2 at the RCA , where he was nominated for the Spatial Justice Award for his Thesis Project in 2021. His research interests include DeafSpace and how to build bridges between Deafness and Architecture.

POPPY LEVISON is an architecture student at Central Saint Martins (UAL) and Part 1 Architectural Assistant at DSDHA. As a blind person, Poppy speaks about architecture’s tendency to fixate on the visual rather than the experiential, as well as the politics of inclusive design and her experiences of architecture education.

AARON WILLIAMSON’s work is informed by his experience of becoming deaf and by a politicised, yet humorous sensibility towards disability. At a University of California San Diego lecture in 1998, Williamson coined the term ‘Deaf Gain’ as a counter-emphasis to ‘hearing loss’. Over the last twenty-five years Aaron Williamson has created more than 300 exhibitions, performances, interventions, videos, installations and publications for galleries and museums.

This event will have British Sign Language interpretation. Ramps will be in place to enable access to the AA buildings. A quiet room will be available. In order to enable those still vulnerable to Covid-19 to safely attend the event, we encourage everyone attending to wear masks where possible. Please do not attend if you feel unwell and are experiencing any symptoms. The room will be well-ventilated and have areas of distanced seating.

The interpretation of this content was recorded live and may contain errors due to the live nature of the content, speakers and prep materials provided. Please keep this in mind when watching

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