Charlotte Hollands

Profession: Architect
City: London
Country: United Kingdom

What inspired you to want a life in Architecture and the creative industries?:

The built environment has the power to shape lives, and I wanted to be part of an industry that has the power to drive real change on a large scale. I also always loved being creative and problem solving, something that my work today allows me to do.

Who inspired you in finding your path to Architecture/Film and the creative industries?:
I had a teacher in secondary school who told me about architecture, and encouraged me that I could do whatever I set my mind to. They were always supportive and encouraging, even when I felt like I couldn’t get through the obstacles life threw at me.

How you unlock obstacles and overcome bias in your work?:
I am neurodivergent, having been diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 27. Not having a diagnosis sooner meant that I didn’t understand my own brain, and I really struggled through education, particularly at a higher level when I had to rely on my own self-discipline. I have also had experiences in my professional life where people have judged me simply by the ‘ADHD’ label, something no one should have to put up with. Sharing these experiences have led me to join the Neurodiversity Architects Network (NAN), and I am using my voice to drive change where possible, most recently as part of the Expert Reference Group for the ARB’s independent PPE Commission.

What improvements do you feel are required to promote effective change in the academic and working environment?:
It all comes down to empathy and understanding. We need a culture of acceptance of one another, where we are free to celebrate our differences as strengths rather than deeming them as weaknesses. We all have a story to tell, and we can all learn something from one another. Architectural education is often quite competitive, which can lead to talented people leaving the profession because they don’t fit into certain boxes. We need to prioritise compassion rather than criticism and unhealthy competition.

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