Designing risk into the design studio
Hedley, Peter W., Smith, Dianne J., & Fermer, David J. (2007) Designing risk into the design studio. In Proceedings 'At Risk' conference, Wellington, New Zealand, July 2-6, 2007, Wellington, New Zealand.
In 2006, course structures were standardized across the Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering. As a consequence, a number of changes were required, including the time available to teach interior design being reduced from six to four hours per week. We were driven to seek an alternative to the traditional ‘studio based’ learning model even if it involved risk. Using an intensive experience-based learning process, a new Learning and Teaching Model combined information and ideas with planned experiences. Action research is integral to the Model.
Outcomes include highly engaged students, group ownership of content and teaching amongst the staff, and a transparency of course content that offers all parties common ground from which to discuss changes and improvements. The Model facilitates student-directed learning. The first year design units outlined are a useful vehicle to identify and discuss the risks involved in embracing change within the university context. The aim of this paper is to identify risks and to propose a process to manage risk embedded in innovations. The Model also offers a successful alternative to the traditional project-based studio format, and could be adopted to any of the design disciplines.
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