Some interview questions and answers for the Adelaide University Lumen magazine;
Why take up the position as Architecture Teacher Trainer with VSO?
I had reached a point in my career in architectural education where I had become very specialised, and I was looking for an opportunity to share my skills in development. VSO aims through partnerships in developing countries to share skills to fight poverty and global disadvantage. The new architecture school posting seems to be addressing these aims.
As mentioned I have now commenced my work proper, after completing five weeks of in- country orientation training and Mongolian language basics. During the first two weeks at the college, I have been on a team building weekend with staff, visited various lessons and begun to develop a working rapport, setting some staff development and teaching aims with colleagues.
What do you hope to achieve by your time in Mongolia?
This small Mongolian college hopes to improve the livelihoods of staff and students by developing their careers professionally. Designed together with VSO, the placement intends for Mongolians to develop a greater stake in construction design, and in the coming years of development, to do this more sustainably. I will assist Mongolians by sharing my foreign experience.
What interests me most about the field of architecture?
Architecture is a cultural enterprise as well as a business enterprise which at best helps people to feel a sense of belonging in a place. Mongolia has had a nomadic architecture tradition for centuries and is experiencing fundamental changes with globalisation.
What do I consider as my greatest accomplishment to date?
Apart from my dissertation which still attracts an amazing variety of interest over the internet, and the related conference to which I was invited in Banff in 2004, I am most proud of the achievements of my former students and colleagues.
What motivates you to engage in this cultural exchange? What do enjoy most about traveling?
I enjoy the human connection gained with my global neighbours through exploring places, cultures and languages.
Cross cultural education is one of your areas of expertise. Why is this important to you?
I find the ability to compare cultures and ways of working reminds me of some of our shared human values which bridge the wealthy minority and the developing majority world. It reminds me of our the shared responsibility for the world's diverse places and cultures.
Architecture students (feat. Tumen-Od and Uyanga) doing Spanish dancing: