Art + Design: Teaching and Complexity

Highlight Discipline – Focus Theme

Conference and Publication Call

In 2020 Amps established its Teaching + Research initiative with Routledge to support the dissemination of research on teaching and learning across multiple disciplines.

Each year, the initiative sets a focus theme. For the academic year 2022-23, the focus theme is Teaching and Complexity.

As part of this, we are collaborating with Sheridan College, Toronto, Canada, on the conference:

Applying Education in a Complex World

26-28, April 2023


Art + Design

The conference and its publications seek a cross disciplinary exchange of ideas around the theme of complexity. To support this, in the months leading up to the event, we are highlighting several discipline areas. We welcome submissions from each of those disciplinary fields on the theme of teaching and complexity:

Teaching + Learning | Art + Design | Architecture + Planning | Engineering + Sustainability | Public Health | Social Sciences | Humanities | History | Media + Communications

The current highlighted discipline is Art + Design. We would like to invite contributions for a range of conference strands, including but not limited to:

Pedagogy and the art studio | Teaching Creativity | Exploration and Learning | Digital arts – Digital teaching | New medias and new learners | Learning by doing | and more…

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Teaching + Complexity 2022-23

The premise behind this 2022-23 is that teaching has, in and of itself, become more complex in the past years. Covid-19 has altered the way we operate and advances in teaching and learning theory continue to challenge many long held assumptions in the sector. The continued growth in institution types, both private and public, is changing the role higher education can play in our economies and. In addition, the world of work our students are facing is seen as ever more complex and changing.

Teaching + Research Initiative 

The overall Amps-Routledge Teaching + Research initiative acknowledges that teaching and research can take different forms and that teaching is not always accepted as research in its own right. The Society for Artistic Research for example, defines research as thinking through artistic practice and sees it as a central mode of intellectual and intuitive enquiry. The Arts and Humanities Research Council sees both the qualitative and quantitative approaches of the humanities as supporting today’s ‘cultural economy’. The National Science Foundation defines research more ‘traditionally’, often directly linking fact-based enquiry with their mission of advancing quantifiable knowledge.

While not limited to academia, much of the research these organizations support happens in our universities, where teaching is also a central component of the academic mission. However, they do not always recognize the research and knowledge embedded in teaching. The classroom, studio or lab are places where research is brought to the fore, where the questions that will inform researchers tomorrow are formulated today. They are places of knowledge exchange that are central to critical enquiry.

The International Association of Universities acknowledges this, as does the Association of American Educators. Celebrating the importance and knowledge base underpinning teaching is central to the mission of bodies such as the Higher Education Academy. In supporting best practice pedagogy in higher education, they set standards and goals for the impact of teaching across social and economic sectors. The recognition of the importance of teaching is also evident in recent formulations such as the Teaching Excellence Framework in the UK that promises to link state funding to not only research quality, but also teaching excellence.

Best Practice

Teaching + Research initiative celebrates and disseminates best practices in both teaching and research, whether it be:

  • teaching operating on its own pedagogical terms
  • research produced independently of the classroom
  • interrelated research + teaching whatever form that takes

It welcomes contributions whether you are: Focused primarily on your teaching  |  Carrying out research independently of your teaching  |  Researching pedagogical methods in the classroom  |  Embedding research in your teaching

The starting point for the Amps-Routledge Teaching+Research initiative was an interest in several underlying pedagogical questions:

Teaching Practice | Theories of Learning | Educational Technologies | Pedagogical Futures | Educational Psychology | Learning Spaces

From the outset, it was intended to be cross-disciplinary and has always welcomed insights from within a range of disciplines.

Art + Design | Architecture + Planning | Engineering + Sustainability | Public Health | Social Sciences | Humanities | History | Media + Communications

More specifically, it also has a specific area of interest in the work of researchers and teachers who connect to issues of life, design, representation and the quality of the built environment:

Art | Design | Architecture | Planning | Sustainability | Construction |  Urban Health | Community Studies | Human Geography | Urban Economics | History | Technologies

Previous Events + Publications

Routledge Books

  •  Space and Language in Architectural Education: Catalysts and Tensions. (ed)  Kasia Nawratek, Routledge, 2022. Forthcoming
  • Emerging Practices in Architectural Pedagogy: Accommodating an Uncertain Future. (eds) Laura Sanderson, Sally Stone, Routledge, 2021
  • Progressive Studio Pedagogy: Examples from Architecture and Allied Design Fields. (ed) Charlie Smith, Routledge, 2020


Libri Publishing Books

  • Housing the Future – Alternative Approaches for Tomorrow. (eds) Rachel Isaac-Menard and Graham Potts. Libri Publishing. 2016
  • Design for a Complex World: Challenges in Practice and Education. (ed) Graham Cairns. Libri Publishing. 2015

UCL Press Journal Special Issues

  • Rethinking ‘Site’. Architecture_MPS ISSN 2050-9006. Vol 22 Nos.1-4. 2022. Forthcoming
  • Decolonising the Curriculum. Architecture_MPS ISSN 2050-9006. Vol 21 Nos.1-4. 2022
  • Re-Design Teaching Design. Architecture_MPS ISSN 2050-9006. Vol 18 Nos.1-4. 2020.



  • A Focus on Pedagogy: Teaching, Learning and Research in The Modern Academy. Virtual. University of Kassel; University of Pretoria. 20-22 April, 2022
  • Online Education: Teaching in a Time Of Change. Virtual. Ball State University; Beaconhouse National University. April 21-23, 2021
  • Teaching-Learning-Research: Design and Environments. Virtual. University of Manchester / Manchester Metropolitan University. December 01-03, 2020
  • Education, Design and Practice – Understanding skills in a Complex World. New York / New Jersey. Place: Stevens Institute. June 17-19, 2019