Lab Contact: Katherine Wimpenny
Curious Oddities explored students’ self-representation through creative arts pedagogy. Under the facilitation of Tom Ellis, a Birmingham-based Artist; students from across campus were asked to create imaginative and curious 3D sculptures. These natural, personal and unconventional creative forms of representation offered induction students opportunity to reflect upon their ideas and values as they started their higher education journey.
Curious Oddities was trialled as a pilot project with three, first-year, undergraduate courses from Engineering and Health disciplines with positive feedback from students who engaged in the process.
The project provided a rich example of how creative learning might contribute to enriching students’ self-reflective learning and practice.
Tom’s Curious Oddities are about making things and crafting things, using materials, scratch-built, from found objects, which he uses to invent and create curious arts forms. These natural, personal and unconventional forms of representation are offered to challenge ones ideas, to explore characterful representations and to reflect on our senses.
The key research aims were to:
- Understand the benefits of creative arts pedagogy to enhance teaching and learning experiences from the perspectives of student participants involved across the disciplinary domains.
- To uncover and reformulate what arts-related experiences offer students within teaching and learning, how it is exemplified, and if, and how, new perspectives emerge and develop during the project.
- To examine the learning gains created through the interaction between the participants, artist, staff DMLL research staff, arising in, through, and from the project.
Tom facilitated a series of workshops with first-year students during induction week at the start of their Coventry University journey. We wanted to attend to issues about self and identity and ‘beginning’ stories using exploratory, creative means. We wanted to promote students’ insight into their ‘educational self’, to design their own ‘curious oddity’, accompanied with a short story about the sculpture. We also wanted students to play, have fun, to socialise with others whilst thinking about different ways of ‘knowing’, and how creative meaning-making might influence learning experiences.
Associated Faculties, Schools and/or Course(s):
- Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing
- Faculty of Health and Life Sciences