Spaces and Places

Next week I am going to a conference in Helsinki called ‘Higher Education: Spaces and Place for Learning, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer‘.

Higher education is changing and the facilities need to support this. This conference looks at this change and how facilities need to respond. Starting with an evaluation of change as it affects higher education, it focuses on the spaces where learning, innovation and knowledge transfer happens, be it in classrooms, offices, research labs, clubs, cafes and the places between, inside or outside them.

The formal and informal exchange of knowledge takes place not only within the university but with collaborations between universities, the community and business. Spaces and places need to reflect this. Spaces and places for universities are not just confined to campuses; other types of space such as research parks are emerging too.

Clearly the conference in Helsinki ties in closely with the HEFCE funded Learning Landscapes project, of which the University of Lincoln is the lead partner. The project’s objectives are to

promote closer collaboration between academics and estates professionals in the development of new learning landscapes, so that the strengths of the traditional academic environment are not lost when new spaces are developed to foster innovative approaches. It aims to develop a high-level framework, pathways and tool set to facilitate the dialogue between HEI senior academic managers and their estates directors concerning the future direction of teaching and research practice and its implications for the built estate. Process tools will be piloted at steering group institutions and a training programme developed.

Mike Neary, Head of CERD and Project Manager of the Learning Landscapes project is unable to go to Helsinki and I was fortunate to be able to take his place and accompany another colleague from CERD. I’ll be blogging from the conference and intend to post some video of the site visits when I return.