The past two years of online teaching have forced educators to reconfigure their pedagogical practice. As a result, we have been obliged to look at academia in practical ways. However, the higher education sector has never only been about delivering classes. It has also never existed in isolation. It teaches students the skills of their disciplines – from art, design, the social sciences and the humanities, to health studies, environmental sciences, technology and engineering. It prepares them for a world of work and practice. In the process, it seeks to ‘transform’ them – opening them to the myriad possibilities education brings.
Considered in this context there are multiple issues we need to consider. How we support entry level students. How we develop disciplinary knowledge and expertise. How we avoid thinking in silos. How we foster critical self-reflection and lifelong learning. In a technologically fluid world, how do we keep up with changing uses of media? How do educators stay ‘connected’ with modes of student learning? How do we respond to cultural expectations?
All this is connected to the ‘world outside’. The professionals we ‘produce’ will engage with communities. In the best of cases, they will transform them. They will also work with industry – whether in the built environment, the creative industries, the cultural sector, or the worlds of health and education. How then, do we prepare our students for the social and workplace issues and players they will meet? In short, how are we contributing to the transformative experience of education?
The premise of this conference and its publications with Routledge is that this is a useful moment for reflection across disciplines. We are beginning to move beyond the pandemic and its focus on online teaching. As such, we need to re-highlight multifaceted considerations of what we do in our different disciplines: how we teach, how students learn, and how we engage beyond the academy’s walls.
In exploring these ideas, this conference welcomes delegates from various fields: Art and Design – art practice, graphic design, digital art, spatial design and architecture; Social Sciences – Health studies, sociology, cultural studies, media, film and communication studies; Environmental Sciences: urban design, sustainability, engineering, technology and geography. Presentations are welcome on a range of related issues – from skills building, creative exploration and personal development, to critical thinking, external engagement, post education employment, and more.
The conference also welcomes presentations that respond to the specific themes of interest to the partner institutions on the event:
Florida State University: Creativity, uncertainty and social responsibility in education | University of Dundee: Transformative Learning, Activism and Reflexivity in Education | Zayed University: Design Economies – Connecting the Academy to creative Industries.
Image: Sylvia Yang