The Stephen Lawrence Architecture Bursary

Architecture Bursaries Available For 2014-2015 Academic Year

The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust (the Trust) offer bursaries to residents or students who will be studying Part 1 BA and Part 2 (Honours) Architecture full time at an institution with courses validated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Purpose of the bursary

The Bursary Award is intended to help redress the ethnic and gender imbalances in the architectural profession. Therefore, its main purpose is to help male and female students from black and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to become qualified and make a significant contribution in architecture and related professions, and to promote the involvement of BAME people and their achievements in these fields.

A large body of evidence, including Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, (CABE) research and RIBA statistics, show that a number of barriers such as lack of financial support determine that only a small proportion of registered architects come from black and other minority backgrounds. Women also continue to be significantly underrepresented in the profession.

Details of the award

The bursary is open to anyone entering higher education who meets our award criteria. It is aimed particularly at BAME individuals from families without a history of participation in higher education; but not to the exclusion of other deserving candidates. If successful, you will get an award to help you with the costs of your studies over the forthcoming academic year. Successful candidates will receive the first payment at the start of the academic year. If you are applying for more than a year’s bursary then the continued payment of the bursary is subject to you remaining on your course and adhering to the specific requirements of the bursary. Therefore, the second payment is subject to the recipient being on the course when this payment is due.

Terms and eligibility

The bursary recipients will be resident in the UK for more than 3 years prior to the start of their studies. The Bursary Award is open to individuals entering a higher education architecture degree who meet the award criteria and are selected by the panel at the end of the process.

Candidates who are receiving a bursary from another source, or who have received a Stephen Lawrence Bursary in the past can apply for this bursary.

Candidates who satisfy the following conditions will be considered for the bursary. The awards panel will make the final decision. 

  1. To be considered for an award, an applicant must provide evidence of registration for full-time study at a school of architecture within a recognised higher education institution in the UK. 
  2. To qualify as a bursary candidate, the applicants must explain clearly, with relevant substantiating evidence, why the awards panel should consider them for the bursary and how it will help them to progress in their chosen discipline.
  3. Candidates will be considered for the bursary only when they have submitted sufficient information to enable the awards panel to come to an informed decision. It is therefore in the applicant’s interests to submit the requested information in full, in the format requested and within the timescale for applications. 

Awards procedure and timetable

  1. An awards panel consisting of a representatives from the Trust will conduct the shortlisting exercise and subsequent interviews and assessment
  2. The panel will engage a qualified architect to give an independent, informed assessment of the candidates’ portfolios.
  3. Successful applicants will be notified in writing within five working days of the panel’s final decision.
  4. The successful candidates might be asked to provide any additional documentation necessary to satisfy the panel that they meet the criteria and are eligible to receive the award. 
  5. The bursaries, in the form of a cheque, will be presented formally to the successful candidate. Candidates should be mindful that this award might be featured in a press release.
  6. The award covers the specific academic year of receipt of the award 

Applicants for the award should be UK home students. All applicants must provide evidence of a firm offer of a place in an appropriate area of study at a recognised institution. 

The bursary will be awarded only where sufficient information have been submitted to enable the assessors to come to a confident decision. It is therefore in the applicant’s interests to submit the requested information in full.

Key Dates

Date Action
Friday 11th July, 5pm Deadline to submit applications
Friday 18th July Short listed candidates to be notified and informed to send through portfolios
W/C 21st July Portfolios to be assessed
Monday 28th & Tuesday 29th July Interviews and portfolio presentations to panel
W/C 4th August Bursary recipients notified
After proof of enrolment/registration of course Bursary recipients to receive payment for 2014-2015

All applications are to be submitted in hard copy by post or in person to:

Bursary Officer
The Stephen Lawrence Centre
39 Brookmill Road
London SE8 4HU

Selection criteria

Basic requirements for applicants:

  • To be a resident in the UK for more than 3 years prior to the start of your studies
  • An interest and/or background in architecture and/or the Built Environment
  • Achievement of the required qualification standard for entry to a recognized school of architecture
  • Submission of an appropriately completed bursary application
  • Submission of a portfolio of the previous year’s work that is of relevance to architecture and/or other built environment disciplines (all short listed candidates will have to submit a portfolio which will be assessed by a qualified architect before interviews are held).
  • Attendance at the selection interview
  • Commitment to complete the first year of the architecture course and progress.

All of the above elements will be weighted in terms of their contribution to the candidate’s overall assessment. These weighted scores will determine the panel’s final decision.

In considering the applications, the panel will take into account the circumstances of the applicant and put forward those applicants who they consider have the greatest potential and the best case for the award of a bursary.

Application procedures

Candidates for the bursary should provide the information outlined below. There is a three-stage selection procedure consisting of:

  1. A written application with the supporting information as outlined below
  2. An academic reference
  3. an examination and professional assessment of the candidate’s portfolio of work/study materials; and
  4. an interview of short-listed candidates which will include them presenting their portfolios to the interview panel.

The written application should consist of the completed application form along with the following supporting evidence: 

  1. A 500-word word-processed proposal presenting the case for a bursary and containing a description of the candidate’s circumstances and motivation; including a section on how they see the bursary benefiting them during the first year of study.
  2. Any other evidence they believe would help their case; presented separately and limited to one word-processed side of A4 paper in at least 11-point font size. Some documents such as benefits information etc. that demonstrates hardship would also be considered.
  3. Short listed candidates are required to submit a good-quality work/study portfolio to demonstrate your skills, knowledge and interests. An appropriate qualified and experienced professional will assess the portfolios to help the panel to identify which candidates have the greatest potential and the best case for the award of a bursary. The basic guidelines for the portfolio are as follows:-
  1. Portfolios should include recent works - such as sketches, models, photographs, paintings etc. – to help build up a picture of their particular skills, interests and potential.
  2. Models, sculptures and paintings can be presented in photographs, while live performances can be recorded in a variety of ways.
  3. Sketches/drawings presented in their original form (from life/drawn on site) is preferred.

As there is no single way of preparing a portfolio, individuals are encouraged to use their creativity and skills in preparing their submissions.

Awards procedure

The applications and all other items to be considered during this bursary award process should be submitted to the Trust.
The interviews will take place at the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford.
The panel’s decision will be final.

Requirements of successful award recipients

The successful candidates would be required to use their knowledge and experience to help the Trust to encourage and support BME young people considering a career in architecture and built environment professions. They will be expected to:

  1. Prepare and deliver a two-page evaluation and progress report in at least 12-point font to the Stephen Lawrence Trust on completion of the first year of their course. It will ask how the bursary has helped the candidate during their first year as an undergraduate and invite the candidate to provide suggestions/recommendations for improving such a bursary in the future.
  2. Take part in the evaluation of the bursary scheme (i.e. interview/ survey/focus groups) and feature in publicity/ activities.
  3. Join the Stephen Lawrence Architecture Alumni to encourage and support other young people considering a career in architecture. 

Details of the bursaries are available online at

For further details of the bursary, or to receive an application form, please contact:

Rachel Wicks

t: 020 8100 2800