..... EXPLORING CONCEPTUAL, PERSONAL, SOCIAL, PHYSICAL AND VIRTUAL SPACES FOR LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Learning through appropriating space?
Was at the second University of the Arts London conference yesterday. Called Making Space a lot of the presentations and discussions this time around were about the creative potential of found or 'non-spaces' for art and design education. Rather than the "whatever we do, lets make it flexible" approach or the corporate/office feel of the bland building-with-an-atrium, many speakers hankered after the special pleasures of appropriating existing spaces and the learning potential in creatively occupying and/or transforming them. Here, the model was more the city (Sunand Prasad - "The city before us is a fantastic teacher; its functions call out for appropriate form and for us to appropriate it"; David Porter - "The studio is a city in miniature."). Ben Evans talked about 'pop-up' spaces and site-specific work, the creativity engendered by such temporary engagements.
There was a real feeling of a shift (maybe because of a strong architectural presence) towards trying to make learning spaces which can release the best energies of their occupants - something just focusing on functional quality can sometimes negate. This doesn't mean we can get away from the importance (particularly in art and design subjects) of spaces with certain technical specifications, only that the alternative should not be merely undifferentiated 'flexible' space.
Image of Catherine Yass project High Wire (2008) http://www.artangel.org.uk/projects/2008/high_wire