The Conference Notebook Process

Dear colleagues and co-workers,

For the Teaching and Learning Conference members of the conference committee and the Social Sculpture Research Unit team have collaborated in designing a reflective process and accompanying booklet to be used throughout the day. The description of this practice will be handed out to each participant and is in this email, see below. Please read it carefully. For the process to work we need some help so the presenters don’t need to worry and can concentrate on their own presentations.

One person from the social sculpture team will introduce the process at the beginning. After that, it is important that one member of the conference team is present it each breakout session to remind people to take 2 or 3 minutes before the session starts. The person who looks after the space can then, at the end, remind people to take another 5 minutes to re-enter their thoughts and reflections, beforeany questions are discussed. At the end of the day, a member of the social sculpture team will lead into a final thought distillation process.

You won’t have to explain anything complex as you can refer back to the introduction. However, it is important to avoid talking about this process in terms of ‘meditative’, ‘quiet time’, etc. The silence actually enables quite a focused engagement with one’s own thoughts, a learning process which is not intended as a break for e.g. doing things on one’s phone. Also, it shouldn’t become a task which people must fulfil. This is an invitation to explore something slightly unusual or ‘on the edge’, an exciting step beyond how we usually engage with information which often leaves us rather passive. Please try and be encouraging and activating, to evoke interest instead of ‘duty’.

If you have any remaining questions, please get in touch: mstefan at brookes…

Looking forward to an inspiring day!

The Social Sculpture Research Unit Team

Extended call for papers

Extended call open until Friday 13 May 2016

We had a very successful first call for papers for the 2016 Brookes Learning and Teaching Conference (BLTC16 “Learning on the Edge”, 04 July 2016).

29 strong submissions were received which we have started to fit into slots, both in the schedule as well as in the physical spaces.

For the extended call, we are particularly looking for two or three 35-45 minute workshops and about three shorter sessions that explore the concept of physical spaces for teaching as well as physical liminality: intermediate spaces in between. Questions you might address are (please do not be limited by these suggestions, they are only to get you thinking):

  • How do “social learning spaces” work in practice? How are they used? How have you used them? Are there novel conceptions of sociality and learning?
  • What are the implications for teaching if we build new large multi-purpose laboratories for teaching bio-sciences?
  • Can mixed-discipline studio teaching benefit both disciplines (e.g. Art and Architecture)
  • What might an experimental classroom of the future look like?
  • The use of space in the primary classroom: implications for community learning
  • Teaching mixed-level (levels 6 and 7) pre registration health and social care students in a single large group.

To express interest in presenting a session at the conference please see the conference website:

Conference home
Guidelines for submission
Register to attend

Eight inspirational learning spaces observed by Andrew Harrison

Andrew Harrison identifies eight spaces that he considers inspirational:

… a series of spaces that interest and intrigue me, that point to thinking about learning spaces in a different way – blurring the boundaries between learning, working and living to meet the diverse needs of learners.

The article contains helpful links, particularly this guide for evaluating and designing learning spaces by Mike Ayton

Welcome to BLTC16

We are very pleased to welcome you to the Brookes Learning and Teaching Conference site for 2016. All the conference details can be found here. The site will be changing and evolving as we approach the conference date, but it is ready to release into the wild – or over the edge!

If you notice anything that does not work as you would expect, of if you have any suggestions for changes please email and we will do our best.