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Senior Lecturer

Ray Lucas is co-ordinator for the BA Humanities courses in architecture, and lectures on Anthropology & Architecture, World Urbanism, and on the History & Theory of Architectural Drawing.

Ray has a wide range of research interests. My MPhil by research into the relationship between film and architecture investigated several key film theories including montage, narrative, and spectatorship, with an eye to their application in architecture.

This interest in film led to a project on the British Documentary Film Movement and the work of John Grierson, a pioneer in this field. Ray produced research for the Scottish Cultural Resources Access Network on Grierson's life and work.

This multidisciplinary approach extended into my PhD research at the University of Aberdeen. My thesis, 'Towards a Theory of Notation as a Thinking Tool' was developed as part of the AHRC's Creativity and Practice Research Group, a collaboration between Aberdeen and Duncan of Jordanstone School of Art, Dundee. The thesis sought to understand the underlying reasons why inscriptive practices such as drawing, notation, and diagrams are used in creative practices as forms of understanding. The work resulted in an extended investigation into Laban movement notation, which I exhibited as a solo show at the Visual Research Centre in Dundee Contemporary Arts Centre titled 'Getting Lost in Tokyo'. I also participated in a group exhibition at the Aberdeen Art Gallery called 'Fieldnotes and Sketchbooks' curated by Wendy Gunn.

I continue to be involved in the development of anthropology and architecture as allied disciplines, having a shared set of concerns for the myriad of possibly ways of living.

After completing my PhD, I participated in a variety of postdoctoral research, developing the theme of inscriptive practices each time. The first of these was a collaboration between the departments of Music and Architecture at the University of Edinburgh. 'Inflecting Space' posited that the human voice had a special role in defining urban spaces - particularly railway stations, marketplaces, and the like. The project culminated in a series of sound installations investigating the tendencies for designing spaces with sound.

My next project was to understand the multi-sensory experience of urban space. Rather than focus on a single modality, my task was to design a notational system which reversed the visual bias present in urban design and architectural design processes. During this time, I organised the 'Sensory Urbanism' conference and helped establish the 'Urban Representation and Morphology' research network within IAPS (International Association of People-environment Studies).

Most recently, I worked on the 'Cultures of Legibility' project at the University of Edinburgh. This project looked at the un-mappable nature of Jakarta, and investigated the utility of the work of Kevin Lynch in describing everyday experience of the city. The project commissioned 100 interviews from local respondents, which were accompanied by video and mental mapping exercises. I collated these into a large Imageability map of the transect we were working with, as well as working on theorising the material and producing works for the IABR (International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam) where we co-curated the Reciprocity (Jakarta) theme of the exhibition at the NAi in Rotterdam.


A selection of recent research outputs.


Cairns, S., Lucas, R., Tanasescu, V., Mackanness, W., 2009. Sub-curator and contributor to 'Reciprocity' theme and project: Cultures of Illegibility in Gotong Royong City, NAi, Rotterdam, September 2009.

Lucas, R., 2005. Gestural Artefacts: Notations of a Daruma Doll in Fieldnotes and Sketchbooks, Aberdeen Art Gallery, April 2005.

Lucas, R., 2005. Getting Lost in Tokyo, Centrespace, DCA Dundee, June 2005.

Book Chapters

Lucas, R., 2009. 'Gestural Artefacts: Notations of a Daruma Doll'. In Wendy Gunn (eds.) Fieldnotes and Sketchbooks, 7, 155-174, Peter Lang, Frankfurt.

Lucas, R., Romice, O. and Mair, G., 2009. 'Making Sense of the City: Representing the Multi-modality of Urban Space'. In Tom Inns (eds.) Designing for the 21st Century: Interdisciplinary Methods & Findings, Gower Publishing: Farnham, Surrry.

Lucas, R., 2008. 'Taking a Line for a Walk: Fl‚nerie, Drifts, and the Artistic Potential of Urban Wandering.'. In Tim Ingold & Jo Lee Vergunst (eds.) Ways of Walking: Ethnography and Practice on Foot, Berg: Oxford.

Ingold, T. with Lucas, R., 2007. 'The 4 Aís (Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture): Reflections on a Teaching and Learning Experience.'. In Mark Harris (eds.) Ways of Knowing: New Approaches in the Anthropology of Knowledge and Learning, Berghahn: Oxford.

Lucas, R., 2005. 'Getting Lost in Tokyo'. In Wendy Gunn (eds.) Creativity and Practice Research Papers, Centre for Artists Books: Dundee.

Journal Articles

Lucas, R., Romice, O., 2010. 'Assessing the Multi-Sensory Qualities of Urban Space', Psyecology, Volume 1, Issue 2, p263-276.

Lucas, R., 2009. 'Designing a Notation for the Senses', Architectural Theory Review, Volume 14, Issue 2, p173.

Lucas, R., 2009. 'The Sensory Experience of Sacred Space: Senso-Ji and Meiji-Jingu, Tokyo', MONU: Magazine on Urbanism, Issue 10: Holy Urbanism,, pp.46-55.

Lucas, R., 2008. 'Getting Lost in Tokyo', Footprint: Delft School of Design Journal, Issue 2.

Lucas, R. & Romice, O., 2008. 'Representing Sensory Experience in Urban Design', Design Principles and Practices: an International Journal, Vol. 2 Issue 4, pp.83-94.

Coyne, R., Lucas, R., Li, J., Parker, M. and Lee, J., 2007. 'Co-operation and complicity: Voices, robots, and tricksters in the digital marketplace', International Journal of Architectural Computing, Vol. (5) 1, pp. 161-175.

Lucas, R., 2004. 'Inscribing the City: A Fl‚neur in Tokyo', Anthropology Matters, Vol 6. (1), Special Issue: Cities.


Lucas, R., 2010. 'Architecture and Anthropology: Thresholds and Crossings Between Disciplines', European Association of Social Anthropologists, Maynooth, Ireland, August 2010, in Forthcoming.

Lucas, R., 2010. 'Designing Ambiances: Vocal Ikebana and Sensory Notation', Ambiances & Atmospheres, CRESSON, Grenoble, September 2008, in

Lucas, R., 2010. 'Representing Perception: The Instrumentality of Gibsonís Medium as an Alternative to Space', Sensory City Workshop, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), May 2010.

Lucas, R., 2010. 'Representing Perception: The Instrumentality of Gibsonís Medium as an Alternative to Space.', Narrativity and the Perception/Conception of Landscape, Ghent University, 3/12/10 - 4/12/10, in Comparative Literature & Culture, Forthcoming.

Lucas, R., 2009. 'Why I Draw', Re-Drawing Anthropology, University of Aberdeen, June 2009.

Lucas, R., 2008. 'AcousmÍtric Architecture: Filmic Sound Design and its Lessons for Architects', City in Film, University of Liverpool, March 2008, in Urban Space and the Moving Image Conference Proceedings.

Lucas, R., Romice, O. and Mair, G., 2008. 'Phenomenological Design: Describing the Senses in the Design Process', Association of American Geographers, Boston, April 2008.

Dr Ray Lucas