Paula Whitman’s name appears throughout this website, and her work is extensively quoted. But such formal citation and attribution does not go quite far enough in describing the debt of gratitude that we owe to Paula. This is an acknowledgement we are happy to make, much as it is tinged with sadness – if events had transpired differently, there is no doubt that Paula would have been active on this website, and central to the research project that lies behind it. She would have continued the trajectory begun in her landmark 2005 study, Going Places: The Career Progression of Women in Architecture, which is now an important part of international research in this area.
The Women, Work and Leadership project was conceived to build directly and explicitly on Paula’s work, extending and expanding its methods, while also challenging and testing its findings, in the honoured tradition of research and scholarship. But the tribute we owe to Paula is more than the gratitude and respect that a scholar always accords to the scholars who came before. This would have been her project, and I for one wish she were here to be part of it.
I didn’t know Paula personally; I met her just once. While I remember a sparkling and generous woman, it is not for me to describe her life or work – that is a task for the many people who loved her, and they have done so elsewhere. What I can say is that we respectfully acknowledge Paula as a person, a leader and as a scholar, the influence that her work has had on this project, and its ongoing relevance and significance to research in this field.
Vale Paula Whitman, 1960–2006.