Talking Spaces 9: The Decade Ahead

NEXT Lab, Melbourne School of Design. Photo courtesy of The University of Melbourne.

Atrium, Glyn Davis Building (133), Masson Road The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia


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Isabella Bower & Francis Pavez

This event has sold out and we have closed our waiting list due to high demand.


Talking Spaces 9: The Decade Ahead coincides with the ten-year anniversary of the Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN) being established. Over two days we will reflect on developments in learning environments over the past ten years, with a view to informing our thinking about the coming decade and what further developments that may bring.

Guest speakers include Dr Jonas Nordquist, Director of the Medical Case Centre at Karolinska Institutet, and Paul Meldrum, Head of Learning Innovations Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta. To provoke conversation we will also hear from invited guests including Richard Leonard, Lisel Thomas and Ken Woodman, who will share their reflections and thoughts about the future in learning environments research, design and occupation. Day Two will include site visits to two of Melbourne’s newest schools, Richmond High School and Prahran High School, along with LCI Melbourne Art & Design School.

The event will be held in the multi-award-winning Glyn Davis Building (formally Melbourne School of Design Building). Hands-on collaborative workshops will be held across a range of space types to seed deep conversations and future initiatives. Further details on each workshop will be released soon.

Over ten years (2009 - 2019) Talking Spaces events have brought together academic research with industry know-how to discuss and disseminate new knowledge, focus attention on emerging issues, and seed further research directions.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Jonas Nordquist from Sweden's Karolinska Institut. Jonas, a LEaRN founding member, will share his ten-year journey beginning with a Nobel Forum and leading to new learning spaces across the world's largest medical institute.

Paul Meldrum is an Australian educator with a passion for designing new schools and redesigning existing schools into learning spaces that are responsive to the pedagogical requirements of today’s 21st century learners. In essence, re-conceptualising the outdated, industrial schooling model to meet the requirements of today’s learner in a globally, connected society.


Co-defining space (s) for wellbeing | Sarah Backhouse

In this workshop, we will explore the complex construct of wellbeing and re-imagine physical settings to best support it.  Playful tools will help us co-design the user experiences of these spaces as we consider a range of wellbeing measures such as positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, accomplishment and health.

Technology for Learning: using augmented reality to support student voice in innovative learning environments | Dr Joanne Blannin

This workshop explores how technologies can support teachers to highlight student voice and choice in innovative learning environments. Using augmented reality, participants will use their own mobile devices to explore one innovative learning space that has been layered with videos prepared by students, architects and teachers.

Reading the traces left behind: Indirect observation of human behaviour in learning spaces | Dr Ben Cleveland 

Observing how people arrange furniture, the kinds of litter left behind, and the nature of the accretion and erosion that occurs in a space can tell you a lot about what people do, or do not do, and how well an environment is accomplishing what it was designed for.

Activities and Archetypes: Co-designing the envisioned and lived user experience | Raechel French

This workshop will share tools utilized to engage school users in the pedagogical and spatial visioning of their future learning spaces. Starting with an Activity Mapping activity, participants will think critically of the desired learning experience and then explore space, furniture, and implementation through this lens.

Creating the conditions and capabilities for an ILE implementation | Mark Osbourne 

This session will draw from Mark’s PhD research into what school leaders can do to create both the organisational conditions and the individual capabilities required to successfully implement Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs). Key areas of focus will include developing readiness for change, energy for change and a smart risk-taking culture

The seven deadly sins of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) | Dr Pippa Soccio

Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) is the combined impact of air quality, thermal comfort, lighting and acoustics on people inhabiting artificially created spaces. This workshop will investigate the most common causes (design sins) of poor IEQ, using data arising from more than 50 learning environment evaluations in primary and secondary schools.

Curated Learning: The pedagogical relationship between museums and schools | Ethel Villafranca 

Curated Learning aims to assist teachers in maximising features of the learning environment in ways that support students in enhancing competencies enabling them to succeed in their personal, academic, and civic lives. This workshop will provide: 1) Curated Learning overview; 2) Teacher strategies for maximising the learning environment in teaching; 3) Opportunity to reflect on barriers and solutions for utilising ILEs.

Affordances as a conversation between designers and educators | Fiona Young & Dion Tuckwell

This workshop brings designers and educators together in bridging a common understanding of affordances. Participants in the workshop will explore their own perceptions around how properties of the environment support learning activities and behaviours, and by doing so gain a better understanding of the value of an affordance terminology.

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Talking Spaces 9 is brought to you by the Learning Environments Applied Research Network (LEaRN) at the University of Melbourne.

Talking Spaces 9 is proudly sponsored by:

FurnwareModern Teaching Aids

Banner: New Experimental Technology Lab (NExT Lab), Melbourne School of Design. Photo courtesy of the University of Melbourne.