Finding the remote: Immersive learning in an outback community

Satherley, Shannon D. (2010) Finding the remote: Immersive learning in an outback community. In CONNECTED 2010 : 2nd International Conference on Design Education, Sydney, N.S.W., 28 June-1 July, 2010.

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Real-world design education projects present particular challenges when in a place remote from and distinctively different to students’ familiar territory. The teaching challenge is to assist students to translate the skills they learn at university into an entirely new context, facilitating a project they will learn from, and the community will value. In 2008 QUT design and engineering students undertook a project called Linking Karumba for this remote Queensland town. They engaged with a landscape, climate and community dramatically different from their base in urban Brisbane, and in a fortnight produced locally responsive strategic planning options. The theoretical approach to this was twofold: they needed to make a rapid shift along a continuum from being “outsiders” towards becoming “insiders” (Relph 1976), and to create designs responsive to local distinctiveness (Cumberlidge and Musgrave 2007). This paper outlines Linking Karumba’s teaching strategy via an analogy with the “immersion” method in bilingual education. Three teaching methods were adopted. Firstly, the overall framework drew on Brockbank and McGill (1998), and Thomas’ (2006a) approaches to student reflective practice. Within this, Girot’s “Four Trace Concepts” (1999) inspired exercises for finding Karumba and moving toward insideness; and a program of community engagement sought immersion in local distinctiveness, and “conversation” between the differing forms of knowledge and capacities embedded within the community and students (Armstrong 1999, Thomas 2006). The responsiveness of the student work to the character of Karumba’s culture and environment indicated remarkable levels of immersion, and the community highly valued the project outcomes: four strategic planning options which attracted $830 000 in state government funding for implementation.

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ID Code: 39839
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Real-world, Design Education, Immersion, Local Distinctiveness, Community, Engagement
ISBN: 9780646545066
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Design Practice and Management not elsewhere classified (120399)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Design
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 please consult the author
Deposited On: 02 Feb 2011 00:18
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 10:33

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