Architects worldwide flock to DMU for internationally-recognised conference

Nearly 300 architecture professionals, educators and students from around the globe will arrive at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) today for an internationally-recognised conference.



Coordinated by architect and DMU Associate Professor Victoria Farrow, the annual BIM in Series conference centres around building information modelling (BIM), a process for creating and managing information about a construction project, from 3D designs to time and costs.

Participants have flown in from all over the world - including Sweden, Chile, the USA and China – to learn about and share best practices through real-life projects, panel discussions and workshops exploring BIM in relation to topics such as climate change, AI and small businesses.

The packed schedule of guest speakers includes professionals from world-renowned architectural firms, such as Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, as well as representatives from the Women in BIM network, RIBA East Midlands and local studios.

Associate Professor Farrow said: “I launched the concept in 2017 when BIM was a relatively new concept in teaching, so there was a lot of nervousness about it. That year we caught the eye of some of the biggest studios in the country and now we have guests flying in from all over the world.”


Hosted across a number of campus locations - including the award-winning Vijay Patel Building, home to art and design subjects - this year’s conference has been coordinated with support from 30 architecture student volunteers.

“With representation from 36 different practices, this is a great opportunity for our students to network and explore placement opportunities,” said Professor Farrow.

“We help them polish their CVs and LinkedIn profiles, as well as pay for them to print business cards and posters, showcase their work on the website, and pay for their lunch to attend the networking activities with speakers.

“It’s like a live project, so they work closely with me and learn lots of new skills, from design and communication to marketing and budgeting. They’re also exposed to top practice and research on BIM, which gives undergrads an advantage, as it’s a topic not taught in detail until postgrad level.”


Stella Forde, a final-year Architecture BA (Hons) student and host of The Architecture Student Diary podcast, was responsible for collecting student volunteer information for the conference brochure.

The 20-year-old from Berkshire said: “While I’m looking forward to the talks, I appreciate the chance to have valuable conversations behind the scenes, where I can get advice and knowledge for jobs.”

Architecture MArch student Sidney Luke Wen Jian won the competition to design the logo for the event’s T-shirts. As well as helping to design the brochure, he has also helped to secure the necessary space and equipment for a guest who is filming interviews with key speakers.

“I’m looking forward to the small joy of seeing my design on the T-shirt, as well as the chance to network throughout the day,” said the 24-year-old from Malaysia.

“I really wanted to study in the UK and I chose DMU because my course is under the Leicester School of Architecture, which I was aware of from lots of references in academic papers and journals.”

Rachel Griffiths, a second-year Architecture BA (Hons) student, will be welcoming and signing guests in at the front desk.

The 19-year-old from Cambridge said: “It’s a brilliant opportunity for me to get to know architects outside of DMU. Meeting new people from the field will really help motivate me moving forwards and make my understanding of architecture richer. 

“We’ve got amazing facilities at DMU, but it’s the friendly and supportive people who really encourage me to push myself in my work.”

First-year Architecture BA (Hons) student Sangeeth Shripharan helped design the conference’s much-anticipated cake stand. He’s also the developer behind Archscholar, a website consolidating a range of resources for students.

“In architecture it helps to have a lot of connections, so I’m looking forward to networking and it’s been helpful working with students from other years too,” said the 19-year-old from London.

“I chose DMU after coming to an Open Day because I really liked the facilities. It’s the perfect course for me, as it’s really creative and focused on design, which is exactly what I was looking for.”

Profits from the conference ticket sales will go to the BIM in Series charity fund, which supports architecture students facing financial hardship and the betterment of architectural education. Alongside cake and brochure sales, they will also go towards the graduate degree show in June.

Posted on Thursday 8th February 2024

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