The other university: unsettling spaces of higher education

Item Type Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Framing of the ‘locus academicus’ as a reservoir of reflection and imagination the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s (2008) has suggested to conceptualize the university in terms of Michel Foucault’s notion of heterotopia, as an ‘other space’ of experimentation and invention. In our contribution we take up Sloterdijk’s suggestion and discuss how the design and use of campus architecture contributes to the emergence of reflexive and imaginative learning spaces at institutions of higher education. In particular, we focus on ways of unsettling geographies of education through the (re)design and (re)use of institutional architecture and its boundaries. We describe how the boundaries of university spaces are made permeable and how learning spaces are re-assembled in- and outside of the university buildings.
Conceptually, we present an interdisciplinary review of contributions that have considered learning spaces as heterotopic spaces (Beyes & Michels, 2011; Sloterdijk, 2008). In a second step we relate this stream of literature with concepts of learning as an affective process and learning spaces as “affective atmospheres” (Finn, 2016; Michels & Beyes, 2016). We argue that learning can be considered as a process that moves its participants not only intellectually but is inseparable from the body and how it encounters its environment affectively. Interrelating the material and spatial with the aesthetic and affective dimensions of learning we seek to develop an understanding of how heterotopic learning spaces can maintain their affective capacities.
Methodologically, we will present our approach to empirically researching and analyzing the composition of learning spaces as affective atmospheres (Michels, 2015). In particular, we seek to understand the ways in which the material environment (e.g. architecture) participates in these encounters (Dovey & Fisher, 2014), by means of ethnographic research. Empirically, the project aims to research, systematize and reflect established and emerging interspaces, which breach the boundaries between institutions of higher education and society and allows the emergence of new geographies of learning. The paper will present first findings of an explorative case analysis.

Authors Michels, Christoph & Elarji, Dalal
Language English
Subjects social sciences
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
Date 4 September 2018
Event Title Third International Conference on Geographies of Education
Event Location Loughborough
Event Dates 3-5 September 2018
Depositing User Dr. Christoph Michels
Date Deposited 14 Sep 2018 08:36
Last Modified 14 Sep 2018 08:36


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Michels, Christoph & Elarji, Dalal: The other university: unsettling spaces of higher education. 2018. - Third International Conference on Geographies of Education. - Loughborough.

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