Undergraduate design learning in multiple partnerships: joinedupdesign for academies

Butcher, John and Schaber, Friedemann (2013). Undergraduate design learning in multiple partnerships: joinedupdesign for academies. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 23(3) pp. 567–579.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-012-9204-x


This article reports research into undergraduate design learning through an offcampus partnership. The Sorrell Foundation’s Joinedupdesign for Academies programme involved partnerships between university design departments, ‘failing’ 11–18 schools and professional designers, in the context of a funding commitment to rebuild/renew school buildings in the UK, and an ideological commitment to remodel schools as ‘Academies’. We investigated the impact on 12 undergraduate Design students’ learning as they partnered pupils at two secondary schools in a live regeneration project, following both schools’ redesign/relaunch as ‘Academies’. Using a mixed methods case study approach, we report the acquisition of a wide range of employability skills, vital for professional designers, through an innovative learning model in which pupils act as clients. In terms of design education, these partnerships provided a rare and authentic exposure to the complex demands of publicly-funded work for undergraduate design students, and as such offer a new and potentially interesting model for experiential design education, which bridges campus and off-campus learning.

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