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Events // A Decade of Student Led Collaborative Projects

Jolley, VS and Sanderson, L and Aston, H (2017) Events // A Decade of Student Led Collaborative Projects. In: AAE Conference 2017: Architecture Connects, 06 September 2017 - 09 September 2017, Oxford Brookes University.

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Abstract

Now in its 10th year, the Manchester School of Architecture’s annual ‘Events’ programme has completed over 200 diverse live projects across the city and beyond. Collaboration drives each project’s delivery, content and resolution. Now an annual focus, this fuels the programme’s success by requiring students to step outside the protected environment of the School to engage in outreach projects. In this respect ‘Events’ sits between academia and professional practice providing students with different design-team experiences as they progress through their architectural education. For two weeks each year approximately 400 students from 3 different levels of architectural education unite through 20 simultaneous projects to work with local and international communities from beyond academia, architectural practices, arts organisations and research groups. Working with a collaborator, the brief for each ‘Event’ is prepared by groups of three or four students in the postgraduate March course and delivered to groups of approximately 16 undergraduate students from the BA (Hons) course in Architecture Years 01 and 02. Activities during Events are researched, designed, planned and taught by MArch students who are then assessed on their project management and delivery. Although the programme’s delivery has evolved over its lifespan, each year it has consistently provided a ‘seed bed’: an opportunity to explore, exchange and promote ideas across trans-disciplinary networks. Whilst doing so, this creates an opportunity for students to foster new contacts, demonstrate their professionalism and their ability to manage creative enterprises from conception to completion. Through a series of case studies, this paper will introduce ‘Events’ and outline how the School coordinates and supports multiple student-led collaborative projects on an annual basis and at a mass scale. A pedagogic evaluation will be presented focusing on student experience, diversity, problem-based learning and reflective practice. This will be demonstrated though a discussion of the programme's evolution over ten years through three distinct phases and will illustrate the transition from staff to student-led activities, the encouragement of student reflection through digital media, the students’ selection of collaborators and an emphasis on employability and job running. It is intended that films and case studies submitted for the exhibition will cross-reference with this paper.

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