This blog reports on two ‘transitional space’ redesign projects recently published in a research article in the International Journal for Students as Partners. Both projects concerned spaces in the Blackett Building of Imperial’s South Kensington campus and help to demonstrate the power of a research-based, student-centred approach to education-space redesign. The first pilot project was completed just prior to COVID-19 and the second project carried out during the pandemic.
I recently spent an interesting afternoon with other Student partnership practitioners and students engaged in student partnership initiatives at a half day meeting discussing power dynamics in staff-student partnership work at the University of Westminster. In recognition that our institutions instil a strong hierarchical structure amongst staff, and that generally the students fall beneath staff in that hierarchy in many contexts, provides us with a troublesome backdrop against which to facilitate student partnership projects. This backdrop leans towards uneven power distributions amongst co-workers on projects with the power bias typically leaning towards the staff. A thought provoking keynote talk by Dr Lucy Mercer-Mapstone extended this further, recognising that various characteristics such as gender, race and nationality could contribute further to the power dynamics amongst co-workers and create a complex intersectionality. (more…)