Dr Anna Wakeford Holder

Dr Anna Wakeford Holder

Lecturer Architecture & Design History & Theory

  • Academic
  • Research
Dr Anna Wakeford Holder

Anna joined UCA in 2016. She also works in architectural practice with social enterprise practice Studio Polpo, and with Goode Architecture.

Dr Anna Wakeford Holder


Prior to joining UCA,  Anna taught on the MArch and MA Urban Design courses at the University of Sheffield (2010-2014), and Masters design studio at Aarhus School of Architecture (2015-2016).

Anna trained in architecture at the University of Edinburgh and completed a dual MArch in architecture and town and regional planning, at the University of Sheffield. She has worked in architecture and urbanism design practice in the UK and the Netherlands, on projects ranging in scale from domestic conversions to new neighbourhoods.

Anna completed a PhD in Architecture at the University of Sheffield in 2014, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. From 2014-2015 she held a postdoctoral research fellowship at Aarhus School of Architecture, as part of the EU-funded creative practice research training network ADAPT-r.

Since 2010 Anna has been a Director at social enterprise architecture practice Studio Polpo, and in this role has been invited to speak on architecture and social enterprise in the UK and Finland.

Further information

Research statement

Anna’s research centres on developing understanding of the production of space as a socially transformative, interdisciplinary endeavour which brings together the creative and political work of architects with many other professions, as well as activist citizens.

In 2014-2015 Anna was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. She organized the international creative practice research conference ‘Making Research | Researching Making’ as part of the EU-funded innovative training network ‘ADAPT-r’, a four-year collaboration between seven creative practice research institutions.

Anna completed a PhD in Architecture at the University of Sheffield in 2014, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This explored how spatial projects are initiated, questioning the roles and practices of client and designer. Case studies informing the research centred on community organising and activist work in the social production of space, and the politics of public projects instigated between state and civil society actors. One output of the PhD was the article, ‘The ?Diverse Economies' of Participation’, co-authored with Julia Udall, and published in Footprint: Delft Architecture Theory Journal, Autumn 2013, Issue 13, pp. 63-79

Anna has also worked in design research consultancy as part of Prof. Prue Chiles’ Bureau – Design + Research, and contributed to the book ‘Building Schools: Key Issues for Contemporary Design’ (Birkhauser, 2015).

Research Interests

  • Social organization in the production and governance of space
  • Methodologies of creative practice research
  • Knowledge and spatial practice
  • Visual representation as a method for spatial practice and research

Professional Membership, Affiliation and Consultancy

  • Member of Architectural Humanities Research Association, and Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative
  • Editor of Field special issue on architectural education
  • Reviewer for Journal of Architectural Education
  • Invited architectural design critic at Aarhus School of Architecture (MArch), The University of Westminster (MArch and BA) and London Metropolitan University (BA).
  • Present | Plant Press’, Grant for arts project, with Studio Polpo and Anne-Laure Carruth. Funder: ‘Our Living Art’ Chobham Manor.
  • Studio Polpo selected as one of three UK architecture practices for the ‘New Architects: Finland_UK’ exchange programme. Funder: Architecture Foundation & Museum of Finnish Architecture.
  • 2009-2012. PhD Studentship. Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council.