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Michael Coates MA, MPhil

Head of Postgraduate Taught, Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Michael Coates

As Head of Postgraduate Taught for the Faculty of Arts & Humanities I oversee the delivery, recruitment, quality and development of all taught MA, MFA and MSc courses in the Faculty. My primary focus in this role is to engage with our postgraduate students in a mutually beneficial relationship to ensure the continued improvement and success of our courses and our students.

I teach into a number of postgrad and undergrad units, most frequently on 2nd year undergrad unit "The City: Architecture, Art and Society", which deals with the social and political world as it is represented in, and determined by, the urban environments of the 20th and 21st Century.

I have taught at Manchester Metropolitan University permanently since 2008 as a Lecturer in History of Art & Design, from 2010 as Senior Lecturer Contextualising Practice, from 2015 as Contextualising Practice Coordinator, and as of May 2018 as Faculty Head of Postgraduate Taught.

My research areas are multifarious, but are concentrated Radical approaches to architecture and built environment generally, particularly urbanism, place making, philosophies of experiencing space, psychogeography, urban resistance, regeneration, and alternative modes of housing including self-build, co-housing, and participatory architecture.

My scholarly work concentrates on the relationship of anarchist modes of doing, and organisation of the architectural profession. I am interested in the desacralisation of architectural knowledge and skill, and the democratisation of access to the building of buildings.

These interests coalesced in February 2013 when I began my PhD part-time at the Sheffield School of Architecture, University of Sheffield. The intended final thesis is now entitled "THE ARCHITECTS REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL: Anarchist and radical modes of ‘doing architecture’ in the UK, 1972-1980". My research has developed as an exploration of anarchism and anarchist modes of organisation as they can be developed in architectural practice. Especially looking at modes of anarchist control in the maintenance, redevelopment and construction of dwellings.

I am (2019-2022) External Examiner at the De Montfort University International Pathway College (DMUIC). DMUIC offers undergraduate and postgraduate pathways leading to a degree award from De Montfort University.

My education in design and architecture began with an undergraduate degree at the Cardiff School of Art graduating with a 2:1, BA (Hons) Interior Architecture in 2002. I moved to Manchester in 2003 (and after 16 years consider myself an adopted Mancunian) starting my MA in Spatial Design at the School of Art, graduating with a Distinction in 2004.


PhD University of Sheffield

I began my PhD part-time at the Sheffield School of Architecture, University of Sheffield in February 2013. This thesis is entitled "THE ARCHITECTS REVOLUTIONARY COUNCIL: Anarchist modes of ‘doing architecture’ in the UK, 1972-1980" and addresses the undocumented history and impact of alternative, anarchist and radical moments in English architecture, with a particular focus on the domestic dwelling and the involvement of ‘others’ in ‘doing architecture’. Details…


Michael Coates is a member of:

A selection of recent research outputs.


Coates, M., 2008. 'The Visual Dictionary of Interior Architecture and Design', AVA Academia : London.

Book Chapters

Palgrave Handbook of Anarchism

Coates, M., 2018. '"The City, Urban Planning and Architecture"'. In Adams, M., Levy, C. (eds.) Palgrave Handbook of Anarchism, Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Journal Articles

Architects' Revolutionary Council posters

Coates, M., 2015. 'To Hell with Architecture: An Architecture of Anarchism', Anarchist Studies, 23 (2), pp. 47-67.


Coates, M., 2015. 'Radical Architecture: Revolution and Utopia in 1970s England', Graduate School Symposium, Sheffield School of Architecture, 14th May 2015.

Coates, M., 2014. 'To Hell With Architecture', To Hell With Culture, Manchester School of Art, 30th October 2014.

Coates, M., 2013. 'The Architects' Revolutionary Council: Radical Architecture in England', "Transgressions" - Architecture Humanities Research Association, University of the West of England, Bristol., 24th - 26th November 2013, in Architecture and Culture.

Runcorn housing (by James Stirling) turned into a home

Coates, M., 2006. 'Participatory Housing: a post-industrial opportunity', 'International Forum on Urbanism 2006, Beijing, China, October 2006.