What are the best conditions for running ambitious live projects?

An appreciative inquiry facilitated workshop

Shibboleth Shechter, Senior Lecturer Interior and Spatial Design at Chelsea, and Elizabeth Staddon, Head of Arts Education in the Exchange, paired up to facilitate a workshop on live projects at the recent Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Staff Development week.

Shibboleth has considerable experience of running what she best terms ‘ambitious’ live projects with undergraduate students: her research is pedagogic, concerned with embedding sustainability in the curriculum through such projects. One such example was the ‘Details and Spaces’ installation, which is shown in the short video below.

Shibboleth has plenty of evidence on the benefits of these projects for learning: feedback from staff, students and alumni has revealed that without exception these projects afforded a transformative learning experience.

For their workshop, Shibboleth and Elizabeth used an appreciative inquiry methodology that focuses on the ‘best of what is’ and the ‘best of what might be’ to explore the personal, environmental and organizational conditions that enable these projects to thrive. This methodology frames questions positively for participants and empowers them to imagine solutions, as opposed to problems.

Amongst a range of really useful outcomes, particularly interesting was the recognition that facilitation of live projects requires a particular set of pedagogic skills on the part of the teacher. For example in terms of approaches to curriculum design and also a kind of responsiveness to what students bring to and how they evolve during the course of such projects.     

Anyone interested in finding out more, or even contributing to this affirmative project, please contact either Shibboleth at s.shechter@chelsea.arts.ac.uk or Elizabeth at e.staddon@arts.ac.uk.

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