a.i.envisions.

CV / Resumé

High and sustained output

Completed PhD in thirty-nine months while:

 

  • working several part-time jobs;
  • participating in extra-curricular activities (enterprise/startup related), and;
  • writing a novel manuscript.

Preconception to Participation: Young people’s experience of public library architecture

[Architectural history and theory doctoral thesis]

How do individual and collective experience map onto useage of a complex information/digital/physical hybrid nexus: the central public library?

+ Retained performance under pressure

Prior to PhD viva, commenced post-doctoral research associate post in a new field – the creative economy.

Learned new context and created and delivered a research project exceeding required deliverables in five months while successfully preparing and defending PhD viva, while also fending off burn out.

Accessing Cardiff’s Hidden Creative Economy

[Project report]

The digital revolution has created opportunities for creativity to influence workplaces by increasing the competitiveness bonus of creativity. How does this manifest?

+ Rapid adaptation

Learned 3D modelling by building a model of a car in Blender, a particularly difficult challenge.

~8 weeks of evenings and weekends from picking up the program to completed model.

Week 1 – Nov 2022

Week 8 – Jan 2023

Principles

Creativity

Lifelong learning

The value of associations of people whose personalities and abilities complement

Recent speaking

Image from RIBA

RIBA and Autodesk Roundtable: AI and Architecture

A stimulating discussion on the potential and risk associated with AI for the architecture profession, held with a range of experts from Heatherwick Studio, Copy & Space, Autodesk, Foster + Partners, Mott MacDonald, WSP, the Bartlett, and the RIBA Journal.

RIBA, Portland Place, London

17th April 2024

Round-up post on LinkedIn

Image from RTPI

The East Midlands Great Debate

AI in the Built Environment: How should the sector respond?

I appeared alongside Andrew Knight, chairing, Data & Tech Thought Leadership & Analytics, Tech Partner Programme & Data Standards at RICS and other guests:

  • Gareth Parkes – Head of Data & Analytics at Sir Robert McAlpine
  • Mark Enzer OBE – Strategic Advisory Director for Mott MacDonald
  • Jaina Valji – Founder at Copy and Space

Nottingham Trent University, Newton Building

8th November 2023

Round-up post on LinkedIn

Article at constructionmanagement.co.uk

Regular column

Artificial Realities

The Planner Online

My column explores the impacts and issues surrounding generative AI for planning and placemaking

Its home is The Planner Online, web magazine of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Read it here

Employment

Current professional life (Aug 2018-)
Conservation and Design Officer

Development Management

Cumberland Council

Cumberland Council is a local authority located in the north-west of England around and within the stunning Lake District National Park World Heritage Site.

We have some 4500 employees.

We are a local planning authority, meaning that for residents in our juristiction, we receive and process planning applications, and have responsibility for managing change to the built environment.

I support my colleagues in planning, and members of the public, with pragmatic, actionable and imaginative advice on such things as:

  • How to repair a listed house;
  • How to make an application for listed building consent;
  • How to specify a new sash window.

But there’s much more to it than that, including:

  • How to help multi-million pound Regeneration [1] projects move forward by providing early advice on heritage impact;
  • How to help Planning Policy’s [2] local plan evidence base with heritage impact assessment and conservation area appraisals;
  • How to successfully defend that plan at examination;
  • How to make visiting artists [3] and students feel welcomed and inspired by showing them our area.

[3] Public speaking: In conversation with artist Yelena Popova and curator Aldo Rinaldi

Post-doctoral Research Associate (2016)
Creative Economy Team

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science

Cardiff University

The Creative Economy Team works to create a stronger creative sector in Cardiff, capital of Wales.

  • “Accessing Cardiff’s Hidden Creative Economy” was an ambitious project requiring design and delivery of research activities in a short space of time to better understand a city’s hidden creative economy: those people working creative jobs outside its creative industries.
  • This required immersion in a new subject area, recruitment of substantial numbers of participants from the public, private and third sector, design and delivery of interviews and a questionnaire, commissioning of transcription, organisation and delivery of a two-hour review seminar including lunch, analysis of data and production of a detailed 70-page project report.
  • This project was run on a condensed timeframe, and relied on adaptability, energy, familiarity with tools and processes, and good time management.
Research Assistant (July 2014; April-May 2015)
Welsh School of Architecture

Cardiff University

Cardiff’s Welsh School of Architecture is rated the second best architecture school in the country in the Guardian’s 2023 rankings

Two projects:

    • Field data collection team, making observation of characteristics of the built environment and recording them using a custom app.
    • Collection of field data relating to attitudes towards plastic bag charging using the repertory grid technique. This method derives from the personal construct theory of psychologist George Kelly, and is used to understand how people construe topics of interest.

Education

Master of Arts (2017-2018)

Department of Archaeology

University of York

Historic Building Conservation

Accredited by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation. I am a full member of the IHBC (and an affiliate member of the Royal Town Planning Institute).

My dissertation focused on craft skills and education within the heritage sector.

Doctor of Philosophy (2012-2016)

Welsh School of Architecture

Cardiff University

Architectural History and Theory

Innovative research on three of the UK’s biggest and most modern public libraries

I believe in the socio-spatial. How do people and place make one another?

Participants were young people aged 16-25 from different backgrounds. How do they view the library, and percieve its possibilities?

To answer this, we went on walks together, with the young person taking photos to “frame” our conversation – a journey from city to service.

This was audio recorded, the recording transcribed, and the transcription coded through content analysis.

Accompanying photos frame the talk, act as prompting in focus group card sorting, and illustrate the thesis itself.

These walk-alongs and focus groups were supplemented with sitting interviews with library staff, achieving triangulation:

  • three participant groups (library staff, university students, and young people from a youth group)
  • three complementary research methods (walk-alongs, sitting interviews, group card sorting)
  • three different cities (Cardiff, Worcester, Liverpool)

Preconceptions and culture guide our relationships to space; socio-spatial relationships enacted in and around a place influence participation; wayfinding activities help or hinder use, from goal-driven searching to informal browsing.

The thesis received only minor corrections, which took a few hours to complete. To deliver outreach, I ran a 1-hr session for the annual conference of CILIP* Cymru, facilitating discussion with a packed room of delegates on what makes good library design.

*Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals

Master of Engineering (2007-2011)

Department of Architecture and the Built Environment

University of Nottingham

Architecture and Environmental Design

Undergraduate master’s degree accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects, Architects’ Registration Board, and Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers. This combined the architecture undergraduate course with a building services engineering course to form a demanding and wide-ranging programme that subsumed studio work, history and theory, engineering mathematics, and building services design.

Additional Experience

I built and now run this website (2023-)

Independent fiction author (2016-2017)

  • Self-published a novel and novella on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, etc.
  • Developed marketing scheme and website with Mailchimp integration
  • Runner-up in the University of Nottingham’s inaugural Alumni Short Story Competition (2017)
  • Attended Jericho Writers’ annual Creative Writing Festival in York (2019)

Original art

Imaginary harbour scene from reference images. Fineliners on tracing paper (2022)

Imagined Worlds – Patreon site for writing unrelated to AI

Images are my own digital paintings (2016-17)

patreon.com/sammywoodford

Volunteering with the Churches Conservation Trust at St John’s in Lancaster, a brilliant but vulnerable mid-18th century “preaching box” church that is one of the Trust’s flagship regeneration projects, in collaboration with the local Chamber of Commerce and others. St John’s will be getting a new lease of life as a co-working and community events space, bringing it back into use while retaining its original box pews.

Want to get in touch?

If you’d like to talk about work, send me a personalised connection request via LinkedIn