Invited Speakers

Desmond Fitz-Gibbon

Desmond Fitz-Gibbon is an associate professor of European history at Mount Holyoke College (MA USA), whose research centers on the cultural history of real estate and economic life in nineteenth-century Britain. His first book, Marketable Values: Inventing the Property Market in Modern Britain (Chicago, 2018), explores the various ways in which a market for real estate was assembled and mobilized as a new idea and field of practice from the mid-eighteenth to nineteenth century. It was not the buying and selling of land that was new in this period, but, rather, the meaning that was ascribed to such exchange and the institutional arrangements that configured property as a commodity. His work draws on and contributes to histories of capitalism and the historical dimensions of economic performativity and economization. He is currently completing a chapter on the nineteenth-century marketplace for a multi-volume cultural history of business (Routledge) and continues to work on the meaning and practice of economic markets in modern society.

Conor Lucey

Conor Lucey is Assistant Professor in Architectural History in the School of Art History and Cultural Policy at University College Dublin, and a former President of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. He is an architectural and design historian with interests in a number of related fields, including urban domestic architecture of the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world; the contested relationship between architectural design and building production; neoclassicism and print culture; and the decorative interior in Europe, 1660-1830. Essays on these topics have appeared in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, The Burlington Magazine and Architectural History, among other titles. His recent book, Building Reputations: Architecture and the Artisan, 1750–1830 (Manchester University Press, 2018), was grant-aided by the Society of Architectural Historians (USA) and the National University of Ireland; in 2019, it was awarded the prestigious Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain for its ‘outstanding contribution to the study or knowledge of architectural history’. Current research projects include an investigation into the roles of women in the early modern construction industry, and a thematic essay on design as a profession and a trade in Enlightenment Europe for the pioneering Cultural Histories series published by Bloomsbury Academic.

Sara Stevens

Sara is an architectural and urban historian. Her interests include the history and theory of architecture and urban design, urban history, economic theory, and the history of infrastructure. Her research focuses on the relationship between architecture and capital, looking at American real estate developers of the twentieth century and exploring the cultural economy of architectural practice, risk, and expertise. Before coming to UBC, Sara has taught in the schools of architecture at Rice, Columbia, Princeton, and Yale. In 2012/13 and 2013/14, she was Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities Research Center at Rice University. Previously, she taught in Columbia’s graduate urban design program for three years. Sara’s writing has been published in journals such as Thresholds, Pidgin, Constructs, and the Journal of Architectural Education. Her book, “Developing expertise: Architecture and real estate in metropolitan America” (Yale University Press, 2016), studies real estate development in twentieth-century American cities. Questions about the contemporary built world also spark Sara’s research. One such project, “Systems of retail: The bigger box,” studied contemporary big-box architectural formats of the suburban landscape and the underlying networks of business and finance that produced them. The Graham Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Fellowship of Woodrow Wilson Scholars have supported Sara’s research.

Amy Thomas

Amy Thomas is an Assistant Professor of architectural history in the Department of Architecture at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). Her teaching and research centres on the relationship between political economy and the built environment with a particular interest on the architecture of work and organisations, and the interactions between users, architects, investors and developers. Her forthcoming book with MIT Press focuses on the post-war development of the City of London (London’s financial district). In 2020 Amy was awarded a Veni grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) for a three-year project entitled Her Office: a historical analysis of the role of gender in the design of corporate buildings and interiors, 1950-present, which traces the connections between workplace inequality and design. In addition to her research and teaching, Amy is an advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion in architectural education. She served on the management team of the cross-faculty Delft Design for Values Institute 2018-2020, and is currently co-editing a book on the theme of values and pedagogy. Amy has a PhD in the History of Architecture from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London (UCL). She held the position of Harper-Schmidt Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago 2015-2017.

Alexia Yates

Alexia Yates is a Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Manchester. She is a historian of economic life, focusing on urban political economy, business history, and the history of popular finance in modern Europe. She has recently been awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in History, and her most recent book is Real Estate and Global Urban History, part of the Elements in Global Urban History series with Cambridge University Press. Her first book, Selling Paris: Property and Commercial Culture in the Fin-de-siècle Capital, appeared with Harvard University Press in 2015 and won the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize for the best book in non-Canadian history from the Canadian Historical Association in 2016. She holds a PhD from the University of Chicago and previously held postdoctoral fellowships the Center for History and Economics at Harvard University and at the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities at Cambridge.