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Personal profile

Research and Innovation interests

Dr Michael Dring (PG Dip ARB BArch BA Hons) is an academic, researcher and architect from Birmingham, UK. His recently completed PhD entitled ‘Revealing the Institutional Order of Birmingham - A Study of Paradise Circus and Associated Institutions’ and book chapter ‘‘And the Straw Cottage to a Palace Turns’ - The Foundation of Birmingham Library as Civic Ground’ offer a hermeneutic interpretation of literary institutions through archival research and drawing. His co-authored book chapter ‘Landscapes of Variance: Working the Gap between Design and Nature’ gives a critical interpretation on Fresh Kills landfill site in New York state, drawing on the creative practices of Gordon Matta-Clark as well as his own. Michael recently curated the public, multi-media exhibition ‘Learning from the Centre’ at Birmingham City University, UK, placing archival holdings and contemporary architectural and academic projects in critical dialogue. His research has been exhibited and published in ‘A History through Objects’ at the University of Birmingham, UK. He leads Birmingham Modernist Society, publishing the ‘Modernist Map’ and has authored several articles for The Modernist and C20 Journals. Michael has collaborated on a campaign for the adaptive reuse of the modernist Smallbrook Ringway Centre in Birmingham, UK.

Michael is co-lead of 'Urban Cultures' research centre at Birmingham School of Architecture & Design, and a member of the 'Art Activisms' research centre.

Teaching Interests

Dr Michael Dring leads The Modern Gazetteer, a design unit of the MArch at Birmingham School of Architecture & Design. The unit has its origins in interdisciplinary practices across art and architecture. Through research by design, we engage history and design in the act of interpretation towards architectural responses to site. The search for continuity as a counter to the modernist idea of progress represents an underlying tension in the unit’s work and has ongoing implications for the civic order and ecology of the city.

In the spirit of the gazetteer, we are interested in the study of archives, buildings and the city, seeking more subtle and comprehensive modes of historical and humanistic understanding. The recovery of references – architectural, artistic, cultural, ecological - leads us to an understanding of deep spatial structures and ‘the meaning of the remembered space and its coherence’ (Vesely, 2004: 54). These concerns are given contemporary relevance by the climate crisis and the need to conserve resources. Questions of conservation and adaptive reuse, of embodied carbon and of memory, therefore, inform our dialogue.

Follow The Modern Gazetteer on Instagram here

Education/Academic qualification

7.4: Postgraduate level Diploma (UK)

External positions

External Examiner, Lancaster University

1 Jun 20251 Jun 2028

External Examiner, Queen's University Belfast

1 Jun 20204 Jun 2024


  • NA Architecture
  • B Philosophy (General)
  • AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
  • DAW Central Europe
  • N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
  • NC Drawing Design Illustration
  • TR Photography
  • Significant Responsibility for Research
  • Early Career Researcher


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