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Research informed sustainable development through art and design pedagogic practices

Cocchiarella, FN and Vargas, V and Titterington, S and Hayley, D (2017) Research informed sustainable development through art and design pedagogic practices. In: Implementing sustainability in the curriculum of universities : approaches, methods and projects. Springer, Cham, pp. 207-221. ISBN 9783319702803

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Abstract

This paper explores a pedagogic case study, which embeds academic research activity into a masters level unit of study. Students were invited to work alongside the LiFE ‘Living in Future Ecologies’ research group at Manchester School of Art to collaboratively investigate themes for sustainable development within a city context. Pomona Island, a brownfield site on the boarders of Manchester, Salford and Trafford presented a context for complex issues of local government, and questions of international relevance on resilience and responsible urban planning. Through learning about the landscape and sensitive ecology of the island, students and researchers explored notions of context, climate, visions for future living, the opportunities and the responsibility of art and design practices in steering social reasoning within a neoliberal system. This paper presents a carefully considered enquiry-based framework, analysing academic questioning that has enabled the transformation of the ephemeral and immaterial into a methodology to address misguided political agendas. The paper articulates the different methods used to embed research practice in the learning environment. This type of project also fully illustrates innovative learning and teaching methods as ways in which art and design practices can uniquely engage with and stimulate thinking to influence and nurture change. Through presenting responses from a psychogeographical walk for Manchester European City of Science in July 2016, a conversational, transformative tool for learning was developed. Reflections on the project further evaluate the multi-disciplinary interpretations, already collated in a collaborative publication with the Pomona community and publisher Gaia Project.

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