Collective Agency

Architects, thought-leaders and projects that challenge the status quo

Collective Agency is the theme of the 2019 National Architecture Conference, reminding us that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and with unity comes an ability to affect an outcome. This year’s event will encourage reflection on today’s challenges, the articulation of more meaningful protocols, and most importantly, the willingness to act. Discussing what WAS (our shared understanding), what IS (our shared reality), and what COULD BE (our shared advocacy), Collective Agency is a dual state of doing and being.

Passionate about the way political power is achieved and used, and the opposing feats of advocacy that aim to influence this power, the conference will celebrate projects from small, medium, and large practices inside and outside of architecture, demonstrating the power of empathy, enabling contribution, and in doing so, re-examining professional aspirations.

Every speaker will be tasked with giving away something precious and empowering. Every attendee will be tasked with making a pledge to act on this new power. The event will be a demonstration of collective agency.

We ask the question: Can a conference change the very practice of Australian architecture itself?


Creative Curators

Monique Woodward


Monique Woodward co-founded her Melbourne based award-winning practice, WOWOWA Architecture, in 2011. With a team of nine designing from a shopfront in Rathdowne Street Carlton North, WOWOWA is passionate about creating meaningful, contemporary, idea-driven spaces that are socially useful and publicly generous.

Monique was the 2018 Australian Institute of Architects’ National Emerging Architect Prize winner. Monique was elected to the Victorian Chapter Council in 2016 and has co-chaired the Small Practice Forum since 2015.

She has also contributed as EmAGN co-chair, mentor within the Constructive Mentoring program and sat on multiple State Awards Juries. In 2015, Monique participated in the Australian Institute of Architects’ Dulux Study Tour and hosted the C31 TV show Community Designs. As an investor in Nightingale, Monique is now undertaking her own triple bottom line project, NGWOW, within the Nightingale Village in Brunswick. Teaching at both RMIT and Monash University enabled her to inspire others to see architecture should have a sense of humour, be deeply cultural and shape cities.

Stephen Choi

Living Future Institute of Australia

Stephen is a UK-registered architect and Australian-educated Project Manager with a Master of Architecture in Sustainability and Design. He has been in the building industry for 17 years, developing an in-depth knowledge of architecture, urban design, project management, and planning. He has worked on a number of large urban scale projects and small individual building projects across several sectors in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia, with the purpose of advancing towards a better environment.

Stephen co-founded not-for-profit environmental building and research organisation Architecture for Change in 2011 and has taught at various levels from practitioners to Master’s Degree level to unemployed people looking to enter the industry. He is the current Executive Director of the not-for-profit Living Future Institute of Australia, and the Living Building Challenge Manager for Frasers Property Australia on the Burwood Brickworks retail centre.

In 2014, Stephen was presented with a DARCH Horse Award from the Institute’s Emerging Architects and Graduates Network, celebrating his outstanding contributions as a consultant made in the pursuit of a high-quality built environment.