The humanist Don Quixote and the windmills of sustainability

Carter, Doina (2018) The humanist Don Quixote and the windmills of sustainability. In: Transformative pedagogies and the environment: creative agency through contemporary art. Transformative Pedagogies in the Visual Domain (1). Common Ground Research Networks, Champaign, IL. ISBN 9781863350105

The humanist Don Quixote and the windmills of sustainability
book chapter on the pedagogy of a humanities subject taught in 1st year BArch
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This chapter looks at how innovative pedagogy transformed a humanities subject to make the module more immediately relevant to architectural education, the profession and society, while improving engagement of an increasingly diverse student population. This was achieved through didactic shifts: from word to image, from individual, passive study to social, active, participatory, experiential and interdisciplinary learning, from pure theory to practical applications of theory.
Militating for the survival of humanities subjects challenges the current societal (and pedagogical) trope that by concentrating on ‘sustainability’ subjects, Architecture schools will produce perfectly trained new generations of specialists able to create a sustainable future. The aim of any educational environment, tertiary education in particular as professional springboard, is to create responsive individuals, unafraid of the unknown, but also unafraid of knowledge, capable of finding it with intentionality and of sifting through it in order to deal with problems of varied complexity.
In today’s politico-economic climate it would be financially unfeasible to provide a classical architectural education based on the pedagogical algorithm developed in the nineteenth century by L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris - the model employed in many European countries over the last decades. Compulsory subjects which were part of such courses (philosophy, aesthetics, history of art/architecture/urban and landscape design, theory of architecture and so on) are now separate specialist degrees. However, for architecture to maintain the artistic, humanistic, social aspects of the craft, architectural education has to be divergent enough to provide at least an awareness of these subjects.
As the this chapter discusses, even such frugality has been proving onerous in recent years because of changes in Higher Education and the diversification of student profiles.
It is the author’s conviction that professionals with multi-nodal cognitive nets are more adaptable and in consequence more prepared to address complexity, regardless of what the problem is - sustainability being only one of them.

Keywords:experiential learning, action research in architectural education, pluralism in assessment, deep learning, peer review and learning, inter-disciplinary collaboration, Internationalisation
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K110 Architectural Design Theory
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
X Education > X200 Research and Study Skills in Education
X Education > X342 Academic studies in Higher Education
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:29874
Deposited On:06 Dec 2017 16:05

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