Centenary Scholarship – Col James Award for Social Justice

This University of Sydney (Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning) scholarship, named in memory of Col James, aims to assist a future generation who aspire walk in his footsteps and use architecture to promote environmental and social justice.

The Faculty aims to provide an education that promotes architecture as a way to improve environmental and social outcomes. The late Col James trail-blazed this concept and taught at the Faculty for many years.

As early as the 1970’s, Col became involved in practical social and environmental activism, working with his students at the University of Sydney to construct Australia’s first ‘autonomous house’, and advised on the Green Bans that saved so much of Sydney’s heritage.

For rural and remote areas, Col and his students wrote the Low Cost Country Home Building, and developed a multiple-occupancy policy for the NSW government and headed a team implementing the Homes on Aboriginal Land program in NSW.

Col worked with Father Ted Kennedy, Mum Shirl, Dick Blair, and Bob and Kaye Bellear on community services for the aboriginal community. His work included the Boomalli Artists Co-operative, the Bangarra Dance Group and a long term commitment to housing for The Block with the Aboriginal Housing Company.

Col’s concern for the homeless led to the creation of CRASH (Construction industry Relief and Assistance for the Single Homeless). He worked on numerous state housing committees to improve community housing including the early Local Government and Community Housing programs and Community Tenancy Scheme. He assisted in the development of the South West Inner Sydney Housing Co-op later to become Bridge Housing, and in numerous youth housing projects, including Stucco, Alpha House and Gamrad and was active in both the Tenants’ Union and Shelter NSW.