After Brexit schools of architecture need to look further afield, says Alan Dunlop
Brexit has polarised architects’ opinions. Most appear to consider it a major disaster. International credit rating agencies reacted by downgrading the ratings of 10 UK universities, including Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool. There are reports of EU research funding being cut and worries about staff, recruitment and student applications. Vice-chancellors are concerned about increased borrowing costs and a reduction in overseas students.
Academics and students from the EU are concerned about their employment and studies. Some universities have released statements confirming their commitment to Europe and ‘European values’, stressing their regard for employees and students alike. Those currently studying here, including Erasmus students, will not be affected by the vote to leave. Universities in Scotland – where tuition is free for students from the EU but not for those from England and Wales – confirmed they would cover tuition costs for those about to begin their studies.
A month after the vote, a more considered perspective suggests there may be new and different opportunities. Many leading schools of architecture, including Liverpool, already have strong relationships and joint campuses with universities in China and the US, and student exchanges with Commonwealth and European countries that will not be affected by Brexit. These are uncertain times for many but surely not all doom and gloom.
Alan Dunlop, architect and honorary chair in contemporary architectural practice, University of Liverpool