Saturday, October 1, 2011

The difficulties of finding out about things

Had an email recently from someone working on the new University of Plymouth's Space Strategy; initially this will involve a consultation exercise and series of lectures/discussions. The project - which will be carried out by a team from the Architecture Department, and has a steering group from across the university (Estates and Facilities Management, Procurement and Sustainability, Strategic Planning and Teaching and Learning; the Education Department; and the Dean of Students) - seems like a potentially great model for learning spaces development.  So looking forward to keeping in touch with what they are doing.

But it also make me think how hard it is to find out what is going on at different universities and colleges, both in this country and elsewhere. There is no central place to 'catch' all the current learning spaces work going on. And because 'space' is such an amorphous word, doing an internet search throws up all sorts of - interesting yet miscellaneous - stuff. For example, Plymouth also has a SPACE project which is about inclusive assessment.... also very relevant to the subject of learning spaces, but - of course - not about re-designing the actual fabric. Similarly, Warwick has a project about 'opening up spaces' for student learning, that is, beyond the classroom setting. 

And I also came across an oldish post (from December 2010) about TU Delft, about a project called Building the Future. This was/is exploring specifically architectural education with the following aims:

- simplification of Bachelor´s education;
- reinforcement of design teaching and didactics;
- harmonisation of educational structure and alignment of the Master´s tracks;
- improvements to efficiency and assessment systems;

Which raises the related question (regularly explored on this blog) - where does learning spaces design begin and end? These kind of critical 're-locations' of what happens where and how in post-compulsory education also seem very important - particularly in the current climate, where universities and colleges are having to concentrate on how to make savings.  There are also major policy changes in the air in the UK that could offer opportunities to change the whole shape of post-compulsory education in quite critical and creative ways.  

Image from University of Plymouth's Architecture Department website

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