Past Event details

Beds, Bricks & Higher Education (II): trends and issues in student residential accommodation

Friday, 24 November 2017

This event will revisit the issue of student residential accommodation and its relationship to policy, institutional practice and students’ engagement in and with higher education. To do so, contributors will explore current trends and issues influencing provision of SRA and examine the expressed forms, functions and purpose of student residential accommodation for students and higher education institutions.

Student residential accommodation holds an important place in a number of debates surrounding higher education. The influence of student residential accommodation on such issues as students’ access, participation, recruitment and retention across higher education continues to be at the forefront of higher education policy and practice discussions. At an institutional level, the last five years have continued to see substantial investment by higher education institutions and private providers in student residential accommodation across numerous higher education institution host towns and cities. Often, higher education institutions and private providers have often opted for a public private partnership model, distributing the economic costs for building and maintaining student residential accommodation across multiple stakeholders but creating opaque relationships and lines of responsibility for students and lay community members alike. While an economic rationale has been advanced, this economic rationale has come into tension with a number of arguments related to students’ relationship to higher education, higher education institution finances and the ‘forms’, ‘functions’ and ‘purpose’ of higher education institution provided student residential accommodation. While recent work has offered a number of ‘cases’ of study; further exploration of the interface of student residential accommodation types, policy and institutional practice may contribute further insights into students’ engagement in and with higher education institution and private provided student residential accommodation.

This SRHE SEN one-day event brings together architects, higher education consultants and academics with the aim of discussing how trends and issues continue to shape the present debates surrounding student residential accommodation, its wider implications and possible futures. 


Zachery Spire is a postgraduate research student at the UCL Institute of Education. His work reflects on the interface of student residential accommodation and student engagement in English higher education. His interests include: theories of student engagement, the built environment, higher education policy and institution practice. 

Speakers and Themes:

Public-private partnerships in the context of student residential accommodation
Nicholas Beyts, former visiting Fellow of Cass Business School

Implications of SRA for the estate of higher education institutions
Professor Alexi Marmot, UCL Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment

The design of student accommodation – supporting their experience of university
Liz Pride, Emeritus Director, MJP Architects, Michael Ritchie, Director, MJP Architects

Commuting students, perceptions and ideals of 'collegiate' life in British Higher Education
Professor Liz Thomas, Thomas & Associates

Aims and Objectives:

-To explore the interface of higher education policy and institutional provision of student residential accommodation.

-To examine whether, and how, provision of student residential accommodation influences students’ access, participation, recruitment and retention across higher education institutions.

-To contribute to a historical debate on the forms, functions and purpose of student residential accommodation within higher education.

-To present and engage with a diverse set of fields in order to inform our understanding of the dynamic and contested nature of student residential accommodation within higher education.

Information regarding the previous SEN Accommodation event can be found here:
Bricks, Bed & Higher Education (I): The Transformation of Student Accommodation in Britain

Network: Student Experience
Date(s): Friday, 24 November 2017
Times: 10:00 - 16:00
Location: SRHE, 73 Collier St, London N1 9BE
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