Around the Table with Thomas Curran

On Perfectionism

Series: Lunchtime Lecture
Date: Wednesday 7 November 2018
Time: 13:00
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 0 mins

What is perfectionism? It's a personality trait rather than a mental health disorder that arises out of pressure to meet increasingly high standards. Thomas Curran, Bath University's lead researcher on the subject, believes neo-liberalism is to blame for the rise of perfectionism, creating a competitive job market where applicants aim to outperform their peers through their list of achievements. As an independent and one of the oldest schools of Architecture in the country, the AA is known for its creativity and unique approach to thinking about architecture. Students often feel pressure to excel and push at the boundaries of what architecture is, while trying to discover how to be the 'perfect' student. In this talk, Thomas Curran will present data collected over 26 years, showing how perfectionism has increased substantially over time among young people. Against a backdrop of elevated metal ill-health, he will explore how and why perfectionism became today’s hidden epidemic and how one can combat or cope with perfectionism. Bring your lunch to the lecture hall, and sit, listen and converse around the table! 

Thomas Curran is an Assistant Professor in the Department for Health at the University of Bath. His area of expertise is the personality characteristic of perfectionism, how it develops, and how it impacts on mental health. He has published over 20 articles or book chapters on these or related issues. His most notable work to date centres on tracking generational changes in levels of perfectionism and mapping these changes onto sociocultural changes that have occurred across the past three decades.

Illustration: Harriet Lee Merrion/The Guardian

All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.

August 2019
Su M Tu W Th F Sa


AA Photo Library has DVD copies of Public Programme lectures dating back to 1974


Online Lectures
Lecture Archive



For any issues with video playback please contact
AA Digital Platforms

The Architectural Association, Inc. is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee (No.171402) and registered as a charity (No. 311083). Registered office: 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES, 020 7887 4000

Click here to read the AA’s latest review report.

Click here to read the AA’s latest action plan.