Research Space

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I’m thrilled to report that we’ve been ‘gifted’ a lovely space by our SMT (thanks Abigail, Jim and Nick) to curate and maintain as a Scholarship area

We have a very particular vision for the space and hope to develop an area that supports cross disciplinary and cross course collaboration. These ‘edge’ spaces – contested spaces that are flexible and informal, are often those that support genuine discourse and the creation of new meanings. Looking at at synonyms for  photo_0space I found the following; room, expanse, extent, capacity, latitude, margin, leeway, play, intersect, lacuna, gap.

Perhaps considering these ideas will shape the way this space develops. My research discusses the creation of informal learning spaces, within the classroom and online. Ideas of learning in an informal environment were mentioned by Dr Claire Macdonald during her keynote for the GLAD conference (which is also where I got the idea of curating a collection of words which provoked thought as to purpose and concept).

Likewise, we have to consider how people think, here in this art college, and how the space might be used to support kinasthetic thinking as well as debate and discussion. I look, too to the work of De Bono (2007) who wrote how the juxtaposition of different words and concepts can create creativity from the edgy spaces between them. Then, there are venues like ziferblat, with their eclectic mix of furniture and re-invention of the ‘idea’ of public space.

So, where to go? Well, a chance conversation with the wonderful Karen (see photograph below), which resulted in her gifting me some fabric, wonderful wool in gorgeous colours and buttons. So perhaps those who wish to doodle with wool or embroidery can use this space to do so while they work. Even with this small start you can see the space starting to take shape (thanks again Karen)

Meanwhile, more prosaically, I went shopping. I’m thinking of things that people might need or find useful, and came up with plastic cutlery and some tea-bags. Oh, and marshmallows.

Other ideas for the space include a place for book-crossing, and, of course, some books and articles about research. As we further develop our research culture in college we will have posters that showcase staff research on the walls, but also perhaps some thought provoking ideas to consider about creative practice, research and the idea of ‘scholarship’.

In terms of practical use, I will ‘book’ the room for Creative Lunches, and for open office hours, but the vision for this space is that it can be booked by all staff for seminars, workshop activities, or anything that can use the space effectively.


What would you like to see in this space?

Is there anything you could gift to us? If so, please get in touch with me at

I’ll be putting out these questions seperately by email, so that we can start to curate a space  that is creative, edgy, informal and inviting.

A pinboard to share ideas can be found here. Just double-click to post.