Every year during the Spring Semester Edinburgh University holds Innovative Learning Week. It is a university-wide opportunity to do the ambitious and creative events, workshops and projects which can enrich what we offer on our courses. These special events are often a bit different in some way; they cross boundaries maybe; they use skills we don’t usually think of as part of our discipline perhaps; they have an unusual format or take a bit more time. Overall, Innovative Learning Week is meant to be a festival of creative learning and teaching.
ILW is a great opportunity for the Practice Programme to showcase our approach to social research in society and to bring in practitioners from other disciplines to work with our students.
This year, we’ve been thinking about our own practice as social researchers in the School of Social and Political Science, particularly the material aspect of our working lives. We’ve decided to turn our analytical gaze on our George Square home, the Chrystal Macmillan Building. We moved to this renovated seventies six-storey block about four years ago after a rather dispersed and cramped existence in older buildings around George Square. In some ways it’s been great. But it does seem to have had an effect on the quality of our working relationships and the way we do our jobs; perversely we are now running desperately short on space and lack community space to meet and talk.
We’re running a series of events throughout ILW 2013 that examine our relationship with our built environment in different ways:
- Monday 18 and Friday 22: Problem Based Learning workshops – ‘Chrystal Macmillan Building as Work and Learning Space’.
- Tuesday 19 – 20×20 evening – fun, visually-led short presentations by staff and students about an aspect of our building that’s caught their imagination
- Friday 22 – Design methods meet social research workshop – ‘Thinking though Making’ – using rapid prototyping and making to think about social phenomena
- Friday 22 – Closing Panel Discussion – reflecting on what our week’s events have shed light on and a broader discussion about learning and working in the Chystal Macmillan Building.