Author: Kate Green 10th February 2015
A collaborative project between the Disruptive Media Learning Lab and the Frederick Lanchester Library in which the lab is situated. Researcher Gemma has been working with Librarian Kirsty Kift to analyse students’ educational practices in the Library and how these are informed by the design of the Library space, particularly in the Disruptive Media Learning Lab.
This project uses three different methods. Firstly, Gemma has been taking photographs of student practices in the library at particular points in time, engaging in photographic observational practices. These will be analysed in collaboration with student participants in focus groups to ensure a dynamic, collaborative analytical approach which prioritises students’ expectations of the Library and their experiences of the physical space. Over 200 students have also responded to a survey designed to identify prominent educational practices in the Library and gather students’ experiences of the Library space. Preliminary findings indicate that whilst some students carry out different educational practices in varying areas of the library (for example, designating certain areas as ‘individual’ and ‘group-working’ areas), others expect preferred spaces to be adaptable to their varying educational practices, posing specific challenges to designers, Librarians, and educators.
This work will be used to inform future development of the Library, which is undergoing a refurbishment. It will also contribute to understandings of how students utilise and appropriate space beyond that designated by designers’ and educators’ expectations and design of the space.