TUC TIE Lab Network


Maria Patsarika is Adjunct Professor at the Humanities and Social Sciences Division of the American College of Thessaloniki and Research Associate at the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, where with her research team they are about to complete a three-year Leverhulme funded research study exploring creative dialogue and interactions in design processes between children and designers.

Maria hails from a diverse interdisciplinary background. She completed her first degree at the School of Philosophy of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Department of History and Archaeology. This was followed by a Master’s Degree at the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, School of Arts and Cultures at The University of Newcastle, where she focused on Heritage Education and Interpretation. Maria explored urban and cultural regeneration and how this shapes people’s perceptions of their built environment, engagement and place identity. Her studies triggered a broader interest in public participation, which was enriched in the next years of professional experience; her work at the Visitor Services and Information Department at Tate Britain and the Visitor and Education Services at the British Houses of Parliament interweaved her academic and research experience with a rich understanding in real life settings of how people respond to and re-interpret culture, space and politics. Maria’s role as Tour Guide and Education Assistant at the House of Commons and House of Lords at the British Houses of Parliament was particularly inspiring in that it brought forth the creative and often transgressive ways in which children and young people participate. Such insights guided Maria to a three-year PhD study at the School of Architecture and the Department of Sociological Studies of The University of Sheffield. Being part of a wider EPSRC research team that investigated school community engagement in school design, in her PhD Maria placed particular emphasis on children’s participation in the design process of their schools and broader social role. This she approached with a perspective of adult-child interactions that involves dialogue, appreciation of difference and interdependence.

Ever since Maria has participated in many more research projects in the UK and Greece bringing together the above research areas, both for the academic and non-profit and charity sector – the latter including Futurelab, the Young Design Centre of the Sorrell Foundation, The Ideas Foundation and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. Maria authored and co-authored many peer-reviewed papers and research project reports, presented findings of her research at international / interdisciplinary conferences and is now co-authoring two books.

Research areas: sociology of education; childhood sociology; youth cultures; learning and creativity; children’s and young people’s participation and citizenship; public space and participatory design; and all similar kinds of interdisciplinary, co-creative, collaborative ventures.