Creating student spaces for emancipatory practice


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Creating Student Spaces for emancipatory practice

This paper will explore emergent approaches to students and their learning spaces, a project that potentially calls for a reconfiguration or rehabitation of learning spaces that is politically, economically and ecologically sustainable. Our work draws upon the creation of student centred spaces by our Centres for Excellence in teaching and learning (CETL). Our CETLs are rooted in post-1992 universities and have application in shifting contexts – the metropolitan, the rural and increasingly the virtual. These shifts indicate the need to embrace a pedagogic theory and practice formally embodied in models of Place Based learning (Gruenewald 2003) and in a dialogic that fosters criticality through students’ own ontological markers. In practice, this allowed us to challenge what a university can ‘be’ – and how best to promote success within an academy once again going through rapid change.

The literature we focus upon moves from a theoretical framework drawn from the work of Lefebvre (1974) and is broadly located within differing perspectives of space. The first of these focuses on Temple’s (2007) work on new and exciting spaces for students (and staff) to work. Whilst offering much to those seeking inspiration for designing physical spaces, it lacks the pedagogic framework of the ways in which learning can be designed to take place in these (and other) spaces.

Exploring pedagogic space, we find that the idea of tutors have long endeavored to find freedom within the constraints of a formal curriculum, for example, and Eisner’s work from the early 1980s called for creative spaces within which students and tutors could operate.

Discussion as to whether a revolution has occurred (or is imminent) for teaching and learning with the introduction of new technologies within institutional parameters sets the final ‘space’ theme. In the Web 2.0 world, the themes of physical and pedagogic spaces have been drawn into a new debate: what happens when we (and our students) leave our physical presence and start to engage with our learning in cyberspace? The student as an ‘embodied self’, is viewed through the work of authors such as Land, Bayne and Kefka, who broadly consider the body in space as an extension of the physical being, and authors such as Dreyfus, who take an opposite stance.

Our session will conclude with drawing upon some examples of these emergent practices for the classroom, including creative and Inquiry Based Learning, our conference by and for students and developments in second life.

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  • Debbie give example of students in class being asked to turn their mobile phones ON
  • The past of the beagle – a mapping of a positivist colonial imperial discourse (cf science ship; naval vessel; came from Royal Society –ie sponsored by men of influence HMS Beagle was a Cherokee -class 10-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy . She was launched on 11 May 1820 from the Woolwich Dockyard on the River Thames , at a cost of £7,803. In July of that year she took part in a fleet review celebrating the coronation of King George IV of the United Kingdom in which she was the first ship to sail under the new London Bridge . After that there was no immediate need for Beagle so she " lay in ordinary ", moored afloat but without masts or rigging. She was then adapted as a survey barque and took part in three expeditions. On the second survey voyage the young naturalist Charles Darwin was on board, and his work would eventually make the Beagle one of the most famous ships in history.
  • Creating student spaces for emancipatory practice

    1. 1. Creating Student Spaces for emancipatory practice Debbie Holley (Anglia Ruskin University) Tom Burns (London Metropolitan University) Sandra Sinfield (London Metropolitan University)
    2. 2. We will talk about: Charles Darwin A bee in a 3D world classroom David Willetts
    3. 3. Our presentation <ul><li>Introduction: emancipatory pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>Locating our work in current literature on space and place </li></ul><ul><li>Theorists we are drawing upon </li></ul><ul><li>Case studies </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion (with the audience) </li></ul>
    4. 4. Background policy agenda &quot;The commercialisation of higher education&quot; (Noble 1998) We argue that current policy issues in the UK for HE calls for a reconfiguration or rehabitation of learning spaces that is politically, economically and ecologically sustainable . Intensified by David Willetts, Universities Secretary
    5. 5. Where is the student? <ul><li>Before University: </li></ul><ul><li>AAB and you are OK </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘right’ subject and you are funded </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘widening participation’ student excluded and/or alienated </li></ul><ul><li>Fear of debt </li></ul><ul><li>At University: </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge for work, not work for knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>High stake assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Independent learning </li></ul><ul><li>Needs of future workplace paramount </li></ul>
    6. 6. Emancipatory pedagogy <ul><li>Significant Social Learning Spaces can be seen in the work of: </li></ul><ul><li>Brecht (1967) theatre/ experiential learning </li></ul><ul><li>Paulo Frieire (1996) the rural (peasant/ literacies) / Castelles (1979) /urban </li></ul><ul><li>Dario Fo (1997) the esperanto of the oppressed </li></ul><ul><li>Sitcoms and reflexivity (Essex University 1997) </li></ul><ul><li>Gunther Kress (2001& 2004) Multimodalities </li></ul><ul><li>The above would argue you cannot have learning without the place, space and context that embodies ‘the actor’. </li></ul><ul><li>In our case studies, we return to the student as both ‘actor’ and ‘agent’ </li></ul>
    7. 7. In terms of conceptualising student spaces: <ul><li>We argue creative spaces for learning are being withdrawn and pressure applied for more ‘work based’ curricula </li></ul><ul><li>Eisner – pedagogic spaces confined by formal curriculum – no creative space for students </li></ul><ul><li>Temple and designing lovely learning spaces – follows ‘lovely’ learning [outcomes] will take place? </li></ul><ul><li>Lefebvre/ Soja space is contested domain; we are drawing upon the transformative potential of his ‘third space’ </li></ul>
    8. 8. Lefebvre & Soja (Trialectics) <ul><li>First Space </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Spatial Practice’ </li></ul><ul><li>Space </li></ul><ul><li>and commonsensical view </li></ul>Third Space Spatial representations (Lebfebvre/Soja) Potentialities that come out of 1 and 2 when acted with, upon, subverted that leads to the imagined space this could become ‘ imagined futures’ Second Space Representations of Space Place Ideological, political, cultural, social attributes and meanings Adapted from Rob Shields http://
    9. 9. A new debate: <ul><li>In the Web 2.0 world, the themes of physical and pedagogic spaces have now been drawn into this debate </li></ul><ul><li>What are the pedagogic opportunities and limitations when spaces move to online environments? Are the same factors at work in that these spaces too are named, occupied, inhabited, controlled and contested? </li></ul><ul><li>What happens when we (and our students) leave our physical space and start to engage with our learning in cyberspace? </li></ul>
    10. 10. Case Studies From Second Life, a 3D Virtual World (
    11. 11. Why I chose a bee <ul><li>It's not easy to find a single reason why I chose that Avatar - I partly chose it because a bee is quite an out of the ordinary avatar in SL..and it's such a big, rather clumsy but at the same time beautiful bee - it's made up of a lot of complex shapes/pieces - it must have taken someone a long time to make and design it... </li></ul><ul><li>And it takes a long time to build up over my original avatar, so I get to appreciate the complexity every time I change into a bee, and see the transformation in slow motion (also a little bit rotesque).   </li></ul><ul><li>When I'm flying it buzzes it's wings, unlike people avatars whose arms don't really do anything   </li></ul><ul><li>Finally I really enjoy seeing a bee sitting in a lecture theatre for example  There is something a little bit absurd about virtual worlds, and I like to make the most of that :) </li></ul>
    12. 12. Lefebvre <ul><li>Here we can see the space (the lecture theatre) a traditionally passive and controlled space with the mind and body being acted upon </li></ul><ul><li>Transformed into a space that can be used as a tool for thought and action </li></ul><ul><li>However Lefebvre would be critical in the way space acts on thought as the real life lecture theatre has been replicated </li></ul>
    13. 13. HMS Beagle <ul><li>The original model was seen on a student trip to a museum, as part of an assessment </li></ul><ul><li>3D modelling would enable this quality of reproduction </li></ul>http:// HMS Beagle
    14. 14. Students created this HUGE ship!
    15. 15. Theoretical Implications <ul><li>Here we are encountering Sojas trialectic and potential of third space </li></ul><ul><li>Beagle before – sailing through the sea in it is ‘natural’ but not neutral. </li></ul><ul><li>Students have disrupted the epistemology by grounding it; they disembowel it (disembody); they have done this in a postmodern playground as part of leisure activity (deckchairs and bonfire on the beach); </li></ul><ul><li>This narrative tableau has potential to transform production and consumption (students have shipwrecked the ship and now the goods are potentially subject to “salvage”; and they are producers and consumers of their own products “labour” </li></ul>
    16. 16. Why I dress as a Klingon… <ul><li>One student chose to come to class dressed as a Klingon. </li></ul><ul><li>This places this students identity within western popular culture- at the same time, in opposition to it </li></ul><ul><li>The virtual allows visual hermeneutics as a research analytical tool as these examples demonstrate, there are still many debates </li></ul>Eco warrior Man in suit Or a student!
    17. 17. Visual Hermeneutics <ul><li>a reflective/reflexive tool which allows for reflective commentaries which encourage a third person perspective </li></ul><ul><li>Reflexive in which it is prompting action and change (avatar changed into the Klingon; may change clothing; nothing is fixed and fluidity is possible) </li></ul><ul><li>Research tool (cf recent BERA 10 year update) – gives a point of analysis in fields of gender, masculinities; popular culture </li></ul>
    18. 18. On the bridge – the potential of the ‘other’
    19. 19. Identity constructions/imaginary friends <ul><li>Our avatar throws up some challenges for us viewing the avatar in its space. </li></ul><ul><li>Role play of Captain, possible femininities/ masculinities – challenging male role models by being there ( ie an (assumed) woman on the bridge of a ship); </li></ul><ul><li>Hybridity (cf Bhabha) </li></ul><ul><li>The informal clothing (American, informal, leisure active wear western jeans) </li></ul><ul><li>Branded t-shirt (her reflexive device showing her links with expert institution) </li></ul><ul><li>University fitted white t-shirt oppositional to blue stocking women from universities (spice girls & girl power challenged male masculinities) </li></ul><ul><li>The formal hair (sculpted in headdress; possibly cf the Polynesaian islands the Beagle visited) </li></ul><ul><li>Imaginary friend (cf My avatar my imaginary friend (Taylor) through the ‘friend’ it is possible to risk take and experiment ) </li></ul><ul><li>Soja “ Thirding produces what might best be called a cumulative trialectic that is radically open to additional otherness </li></ul>
    20. 20. Discussion <ul><li>“ The process of cultural hybridity gives rise to something different, something new and unrecognizable, a new area of negotiation of and representation meaning” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Third Space. Interview with Homi Bhabha” Identity: Community, Culture, Difference London: Lawrence & Wishart 1998 p211 </li></ul>The student fashion show 2010
    21. 21. Challenges for teachers and researchers <ul><li>(1) Different schools of thought emerging about the potentials of virtual worlds </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- the total ‘real life’ immersion in the virtual world </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- the augmentation of the virtual into the real </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>(2) Methodological challenges as “epistemological assumptions are blown apart” (Jester [blog] The Unlimited Dream Company 24/04/2011) </li></ul><ul><li>(3) The methods by which to research and comprehend visual literacies in a social media world </li></ul><ul><li>(4) Risk contingency within multi modality pedagogies (cf Kress) </li></ul>
    22. 22. Selected References <ul><li>This powerpoint is available for downloading from slideshare (search debbie holley) </li></ul><ul><li>Kress, G. and Van Leeuwen, T.(2001) Multimodal Discourse: the modes and media of contemporary communication. Edward Arnold. </li></ul><ul><li>Paulo Friere Pedagogy of the oppressed </li></ul><ul><li>  Mistero Buffo : The Collected Plays of Dario Fo </li></ul><ul><li>Dario Fo, Stuart Hood, Ed Emery A & C Black </li></ul><ul><li>  The Urban Question: A Marxist Approach by Manuel Castells </li></ul><ul><li>Brecht On Theatre. Bertolt Brecht The Development Of An Aesthetic. </li></ul><ul><li>Translation And Notes By John Willet. With Plates, Including Portraits  </li></ul><ul><li>by  (Paperback - 1967) </li></ul><ul><li>Homi Bhabhas theory of cultural hybridization </li></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul>