Gem is an author and senior academic interested in the interrelations between human behaviour, speculation and spatial design.
At the RCA, Gem teaches MA Interior Design and is responsible for steering the research focus of the programme alongside Graeme Brooker.
School, Centre or Area
Gem teaches and publishes on the subjects of gender and feminism, film and spatial production, futures and fictions, narrative and storytelling, reality and representation, career and enterprise, teaching and learning, interiors and architecture.
As founding director of the Experimental Realism platform, which hosts an online Project Store (a collection of speculative design projects created by students from universities around the world), she also established a global mentoring programme with a speculative design/futures practitioner, designed to build community, encourage open discourse and facilitate the transition from education into practice.
Gem is co-founder of the Office for Speculative Spatial Design (O-SSD) a Think Tank for research-led speculative spatial design. Through their work, the O-SSD contributes to policy change, towards a more just and inclusive society.
National Teaching Fellowship, AdvanceHE 2019.
Publications, exhibitions, other outcomes
Barton, G. (upcoming 2023) Don’t Get a Job, Make a Job: how to make it as a creative graduate. New Edition. London: Laurence King.
Barton, G. (upcoming in 2023) [ Spatial] Pedagogic readings of QueerTheory: Experimental Realism and opportunities for teaching and learning in speculative design. In: N.Stead, M. Jobst eds., Queering Architecture. Routledge.
Barton, G. (2022) Equitable and Desirable Futures. In: G. Barton, ed., Experimental Realism: (Design) Fictions and Futures. London: RIBA Publishing.
Barton, G. and Harriss, H. (2017) Gendered, Non-Gendered, Re-Gendered Tools for Spatial Production. Journal of Architecture and Culture, 5(3), pp. 475-485.
Barton, G. (2017) Academia imitates life: ‘atypical’. CHARETTE, Journal of the Association of Architectural Educators, 3(2), pp.4-6.
Barton, G. (2016) Don’t get a Job, Make a Job: how to make it as a creative graduate. London: Laurence King.
Barton, G. (2016) The Grey Area between Reality and Representation: The Practices of Architects and Filmmakers. In: E. Clift, M. Guaralda, A. Mattes, eds., Filming the City – urban documents, design practices & social criticism through the lens. Bristol: Intellect., pp.165-181.
Barton, G. (2016) Architecture 2.0. In: H.Harriss, R. Morrow, J. Soane, J. Benedict Brown, eds., The Gendered Profession: The Question of Representation in Space Making. London: RIBA Publishing., pp 192-196.
(2014) To Be Destroyed. Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto Canada (MOCA).
(2012) Tiny Tate, Tate Britain.
External collaborations and activities
- (2021-24) External Examiner BA (Hons) Interior Design, University of Plymouth
- (2016-21) Chief Examiner – School of Design, Glasgow School of Art
- (2016-21) External Examiner BA (Hons) Interior Design, GSA Glasgow and Singapore
- (2020-to date) Board member, RIBA Journal of Architecture
- (2018-to date) Board member, Interiors: Design/Architecture/Culture journal
- (2021-to date) Lead Academic Advisor UK, Architecture LGBT+