Studio as a Hub not a Home
Authors: Paul Skaggs
Abstract: The studio method of instruction, termed “the classroom of the future,” is receiving a great deal of attention in the academic media. MIT’s new engineering building, for instance, will have numerous studio-instruction classrooms. The National Science Foundation is also promoting studio instruction in engineering and the sciences. Industrial Design has been using the studio method of instruction for more than 40 years it is even mandated by our accrediting body National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Because of this long history Industrial Design was asked to give a presentation about studio instruction to the Engineering faculty at BYU. The presentation focused on the principles of the studio class and where it works well and where it may not. What faculty and students’ responsibilities for a successful studio instruction? The interest and conversation that was generated from the presentation caused members of the Industrial Design faculty to reflect on our own history of studio instruction. Industrial design realized that the way we look at the studio experience has changed. Many of the principles that form the core of studio instruction have evolved as the design industry, design methods, students, and technologies have changed. As design educators we have experienced and struggled with these natural changes and how they have impacted studio classes and design students. As a result, we began to look at our methods to determine what the tradition from the arts and crafts past was and what is truly needed in design education today. Industrial Design had discovered that over time we had moved away from the student nesting workspace mentality of the traditional arts and crafts–based studio and toward the more current business model of the studio as a war room. The studio had moved away from a home to a hub for the students. This change has mirrored what is happening in the design industry as it has moved from focusing on tactical problem-solving skills to more strategic problem-finding and problem-defining skills. This paper outlines the history, basic principles, and focus of studio instruction and what has prompted the moving way from studio tradition.
Keywords: Keywords: Studio Teaching, Teaching Spaces, Project Based Instruction, War Room
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