WoArch 2024

Women as Builders, Designers and Critics of the Built Environment before 1800

Convenors: Shelley E. Roff, Consuelo Lollobrigida, Francesca Riccardo


WoArch 2024 is a symposium organized by The University of Arkansas Rome Center in collaboration with the School of Architecture + Planning at the University of Texas at San Antonio. It is supported by the Women in Architecture Affiliate Group of the Society of Architectural Historians.

WoArch is hosted in person, at the Palazzo Taverna, Rome and will be live-streaming on the Rome center Youtube channels.

Convenors: Shelley E. Roff, Consuelo Lollobrigida, Francesca Riccardo.

Symposium description: for almost 30 years, the literature investigating women and the built environment before the modern era has focused on women’s patronage of architecture. This symposium is designed to open a discussion about what is missing from this conversation yet can be found in the historical record: the roles that women of various social classes played in shaping architecture, landscapes, and cities in diverse parts of the world and the cultural and political implications of their activities. In part, the symposium calls for a re-interpretation of patronizing activities by women and, from another point of view, it directs the spotlight toward women engaging in socio-political urban reform, creating networks of design influence, managing, and participating in construction, and serving as the designer the built environment across a broad geographic scope before modern industrialization.

Click to view program


Shelley E.Roff

Consuelo Lollobrigida

Francesca Riccardo

Shelley E. Roff is an Associate Professor and architectural historian at the University of Texas at San Antonio whose specialization is in the art and architecture of medieval Spain.  Her current research focuses on women engaged in architectural design, the building trades, and construction labor in medieval and early modern Europe.  She is the editor of a forthcoming volume, Women and the Built Environment before 1800 (Routledge), and recent publications on women are “Did Women Design or Build Before the Industrial Age?” (Routledge, 2021) and “Appropriate to Her Sex?  Women’s Participation on the Construction Site in Medieval and Early Modern Europe,” (Palgrave, 2010).  As a former associate chair of the Women in Architecture affiliate group of the Society of Architectural Historians, she co-hosted the SAH CONNECTS virtual panel, “The Advent of Women Architectural Professionals, a US-UK Comparative Perspective,“ for Women’s History Month 2021.  Dr. Roff’s research has been supported by numerous fellowships, including the 2019 NEH Faculty Award, the Bogliasco Study Center for the Arts and Humanities, and the Fulbright Foundation.

Consuelo Lollobrigida is an art historian with an MA and a Ph.D. degree in Art History from Sapienza University, Rome (IT). Professor of Art History at the University of Arkansas Rome Program, she is the curator of the Annual International Women in the Arts Conference.

She studied with Silvia Danesi Squarzina and Vera Fortunati, the founders of gender studies in art in Italy.

Her field of expertise is women artists and studies, museum studies and Rome Renaissance and Baroque history and art. Since 2008 she has been taking part to conferences and meetings, all over the world, on women artists in 17th and 18th century, such as: RSA, Feminist Art Conference, Jane Fortune Foundation and in many universities (Bologna, Milan, Roma Tre, Granada, Madrid, Jaen, Washington).

She taught Museum Studies and Didactic of Art at Sapienza and worked as researcher in Italian and international Museums such as the Macro Rome, Soprintendenza, Galleria Nazionale di Palazzo Barberini Museo di Criminologia in Rome.

As writer she authored many scholar articles and books, such as Plautilla Bricci. Pictura et Architectura celebris. L’architettrice del Barocco Romano; Following Women Artists. A Guide of Rome; Maria Luigia Raggi. Il Capriccio Architettonico tra Arcadia e Grand Tour; Introduzione alla Museologia. Strumenti e Metodi per operatori museali. At the RC she teaches: Renaissance and Baroque Architecture, The Grand Tour of Europe, Art History, Women Artists from Renaissance to contemporary, Art as History.

Francesca RICCARDO is an Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Arkansas Rome Program. She is Ph.D. in Sustainable Urban Design with a background in architectural composition.

Since 2006 she has dealt with research and education in architecture, focusing on neighborhood regeneration and housing. In 2008, she defended her Ph.D. thesis, “Renovation strategies for social housing estates,” at the Roma Tre University, Italy. She did most of her research at the Delft University of Technology, Holland, thanks to a one-year scholarship from the Rotary Foundation by Rotary International. After a two years research contract at this university, she returned to Italy, where she worked as a researcher and teacher at the Venice University Institute of Architecture, IUAV, the Sapienza University of Rome, and the University Studies Abroad Consortium of the Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Viterbo.

Since 2014 she has been working at the University of Arkansas Rome Program, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate students: Architectural Design Studio, Advanced Design Studio – Urban Focus, Advanced Architecture Studies (Ways of Seeing the Periphery), Landscape Architecture Design Studio, Interior Design Studio, Architecture of the City (on-site drawings and analysis for architects), Visual Journaling (on-site drawings and analysis for interior designers), Modern and Contemporary Rome (history and on-site analysis), and Interior Design Tours (on-site summer explorations of Italian Beauty)

Keynote speaker

Dr. Anuradha Chatterjee is Professor and Dean, School of Design and Innovation, RV University. She is an Indian-born Australian academic practictioner in architecture and design based in Australia and India. Dr. Chatterjee is regional editor Asia Pacific, TEXTILES: Clot and culture; a registered Architect at the Council of Architecture, India; an associate of Australian Institute of Architects; and elected member of the Guild of St George. She is the author of three books as solo editor Surface and Deep histories (Cambridge Scholar Publishing); author, Built, Unbuilt and imagined Sydney (Copal Publishing); author, Jhon Ruskin and the fabric of Architecture (Routledge). She is the area editor (Asia) for the fourth publication, The bloomsbury global Encyclopedia of Women in Architecture 1960-2015 (ed Karen Burns and Lori Brown, forthcoming Oct 2024). Her fifth book is an edited collection titled Architectures of Ageing in Place (under contract, Routledge, 2025).

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