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Title: An investigation into the experiential impact of sensory affect in contemporary Communication Design studio education
Author: Marshalsey, Lorraine
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 8508
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: Glasgow School of Art
Date of Award: 2017
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The impetus for this thesis has grown from the challenges facing day-to-day design studio education and the recognition that the formal/informal division of educational space impacts upon student learning and engagement in higher education today. As a consequence of the changing conditions imposed by economics, politics, and technology, specialist design studio facilities are being reconfigured into studio-based classroom learning spaces (often generically termed as ‘studio’). It is, I believe, worth assessing how these recontextualised learning spaces impact upon students’ senses. This investigation did not set out to prove or test a pre-determined hypothesis from the onset of the study. Instead, the purpose of this research study was to systematically examine the relationship between sensory affect and learning in the changing landscape of contemporary Communication Design education. However, as the study progressed, sensory affect moved from being the central emphasis of the study to being the conduit through which to investigate aspects of learning experience within the two case studies in different shared domains. To understand the component parts of studio learning, sensory affect was effectively employed via the range of practice-led methods. The data was gathered via the systematic examination of two case studies: an art school in the UK and a college of art contained within a parent university in Australia. Real-life formal and informal learning spaces provided the naturalistic settings in which to conduct the research with two groups of Communication Design students. The participants worked within studio and studio-based classroom environments using an inductive Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach involving Participatory Design (PD) tools and techniques. Participants responded to their everyday learning experiences through detailed and reflective narrative accounts via a series of participatory group workshops and individual visual, sensory and sound ethnographic research methods. Overall, the findings showed that the participants could either be disturbed or supported by sensory affect in their experiences of learning spaces. The Case Study 1 participants in the UK responded that their friendly, informal, day-to-day social interactions with peers and staff in their situated studio community, are integral to their collective and individual learning and practice. The Case Study 2 participants created their own offline and online community outside of the boundaries of their studio-based classroom learning spaces, mainly in cafes, at home and via social media. The findings evidenced the importance of multi-sensory research methods in drawing out relationships between place, lived experience, and community. This research investigation travels a substantial distance towards a form of reconciliation and understanding of contemporary Communication Design learning spaces to support student engagement. As articulated throughout this thesis, this is largely a methodological investigation, which employs sensory affect as a lens to investigate the relationship between learning and practice, community, institutional management, the role of the studio, the pedagogical approach and lastly, when meaning making of sensory affect. The suggestion is that when employing the proposed transferable framework – the Methods Process Model (MPM) (or elements thereof) – then the student’s individual and collective relationship with learning is supported in relation to each of these areas. This is especially pertinent as technological concerns cross-cut and impact upon studio education today. The factors that might disrupt studio learning need to be brought forward into a students’ consciousness using this framework, guided by educators, researchers and institutions. Being mindful of these issues might mean that students and educators can implement strategies to work better within studio. Therefore, the main contribution to knowledge of this thesis, and grounded in the findings, is the support of students as they explore and engage with contemporary Communication Design studio learning, and how they reflectively examine the range of behaviours and reactions that can be drawn out from their lived experiences, through embodied thinking.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available