2012 Virtual meeting and tutorial spaces

Melanie Levick-Parkin

Design is traditionally a studio-based subject and thus design education has also always centred around the physical creative space. This space has not just been important for the physical production of things, but as a joint thinking space. Modern Universities room utilisation systems and hourly based timetabling have made the time and space available for traditional studio teaching very sparse and the issue affects subjects far beyond the studio culture of art & design. 

This problem is not unique to the design discipline, because many subjects have at their core creative processes, which need mental space to flourish and make joint physical space desirable.

To the uninitiated any creative process can seem quite unproductive and unfocused at times, and it is sometimes difficult to argue for the need to have space for students to just be in and for teachers to drop in on.

So teaching and contact has had to become very focused and compartmentalised and all other activities such as production and ‘creative idling’ have to be taken elsewhere.

This creates a physical and mental distance between the teachers, the students and their peers, and severely limits the times and spaces in which feedback or exchange can occur. 

Is it possible to use the digital realm to create spaces where this contact can take place in a more responsive, organic way, more sympathetic to the creative process? Will students participate and take advantage of the space and the extra contact offered and will it have an impact on their achievement and learning experience? With Case study example to discuss

D7 – (EN56, EN11, EN22, EN28) 15.30