DMA Sponsors PLACED Academy in Liverpool

Monday, July 13th, 2020

We are very pleased to have become an official sponsor of PLACED Academy, an exciting programme providing year-long support to young people starting their careers in the built environment.

PLACED is a Liverpool-based social enterprise that helps people of all ages and backgrounds to engage in planning and design. They do this through community consultation, engagement and education, connecting communities, decision makers, schools and businesses across the North West. PLACED have worked extremely hard to make their academy work online this year and we are proud to be supporting them.

We were introduced to PLACED through architect, Ana Dieguez, who joined our new Liverpool studio in June of last year. She was already volunteering as a PLACED Ambassador and she organised our first Liverpool studio work experience placement through them. Given our ongoing work with young people, we were committed to getting more involved as a practice. As well as getting involved in the PLACED Academy, through sponsorship and by offering work experience placements, our PLACED Ambassadors at DMA collaborate with the engagement programme and have committed ten days over the next few months to help deliver workshops and consultation events. The aim is to involve people in the development plans of their local area to raise awareness, as well as identify their local needs and aspirations. An example of this is when we participated on a series on pop-up events to engage people in the development of Liverpool’s City Region Combined Authority’s first Spatial Development Strategy (SDS).

An inclusive culture and creating social value lie at the heart of our practice, so relationships with the communities that we work in really matter. So when we opened the studio in Liverpool, it was important to us that, from Day 1, we were contributing positively to the life of the city. DMA has its roots in Liverpool, with David Miller having grown up in Wavertree. The Liverpool studio is headed up by director Anna Davies, who also grew up locally and, after nine years in the DMA London team, she jumped at the chance to return home with her young family. Rachel Stevenson also studied at the University of Liverpool and has returned to act as a visiting critic there.

From the early days of opening the office, Anna has been a mentor for the Social Mobility Foundation and the whole team have got stuck in to supporting local initiatives through the RIBA and other business networks. We are also proud to be working with Claire House Children’s Hospice as one of our first clients in the North West. Our Liverpool team have had a big impact in a short space of time and are looking forward to many more collaborations.

As well as working with PLACED, DMA have been moving our work experience programme online in the last few months. If you know a school who would like some careers advice, feel free to contact us about this at and for more details of how we’re doing it, see here.