Dont Walk Away, Have Your Say! was an LDC event at the end of last term on the main walkway, aiming to capture student views and promote three of the ongoing LDC projects. I invited artist Susie Howarth to visualise students ideas on learning space design. With major building work scheduled at City and imminent redesign of several existing spaces, this was an opportunity for students to put their views across. So whilst I interviewed passing students, Susie did quick-fire real time sketches of their ideas. This created quite a buzz and interestingly a high proportion of their ideas resonated with the LDC’s design principles for all learning spaces at City. These include having a full menu of different, inviting, dynamic and flexible spaces that communicate the pride we have in learning at City University
Everyone interviewed had strong ideas and feelings about our current and future learning spaces. Here is just a small sample:
Circular design of some classrooms and lecture spaces, so students can see each other and the lecturer is central, not on a distant stage.
Small outlets for snacks and drinks placed just outside large lecture theatres, for students who need to quickly get to the next class and have no time to queue in the refectory.
Circular tables, furniture on wheels and easily moved
Swivel chairs in lecture theatres, so we can do group work activities
All walls with write-on surfaces in classrooms
Public celebration of student excellence: students’ work displayed, either physically or on screens
More curves please! In walls and furniture, not just rectangular boxes
Bright contemporary lighting, maybe use lighting in some way to change the colour of the walls to reflect different types of learning activity: reflective, active etc.
Small soundproofed pods for quiet study and individual work
Having an artist present to make instant sketches gave the students a great stimulus to put their ideas forward and led to much animated discussion on what is clearly a hot topic for students and paramount to their experience of being at City.