Through collaborative exchange and interdisciplinary exploration students from diverse disciplines became teachers, researchers and producers as they explored questions relating to biology and psychology, technology and creativity, art and science. Starting as an extra-curricula project in 2010, Broad Vision became an elective Art/Science Collaboration module in 2012 and worked with over 200 undergraduate students from courses across art, science and technology subjects. Participating courses included photographic arts, biotechnology, illustration, psychology, contemporary media practice, human and medical sciences, clinical photography, biological sciences, multimedia computing, interactive product design, animation, cognitive science, molecular biology and genetics, photography and digital imaging, and physiology and pharmacology.
Broad Vision offered students from across the university a range of opportunities for collaborative research and interdisciplinary learning, as well as professional development opportunities through the production of exhibitions, the publication of books and articles, and the chance to present at conferences, festivals and symposiums. The team produced two books, which are free to download via issuu (Inspired by Images from Science / The Art and Science of Looking); exhibitions were held at Arebyte gallery, GV art gallery and London Gallery West; and the project has been presented at national and international conferences.
The Broad Vision team comprised of lecturers from the arts and sciences, namely:
Project lead: Heather Barnett
Broad Vision lecturers: John RA Smith / Dr Mark Clements / Elizabeth Allen / Dr Chris Fry / Dr Mark Gardner / Dr Haiku Ballieux / Christine McCauley
Educational researcher (2010-13): Dr Silke Lange
Teaching assistants: Mellissa Fisher / Benjamin Palmer / Danny Garside
Every year a group of undergraduate students were recruited from across the university’s arts and science courses to become student researchers on an interdisciplinary learning project. Each project takes as its starting point a set of images, a body of knowledge or a central theme, employed to initiate discussion across disciplinary divides and identify areas of common interest for collaborative research ideas. The material provided a central focus, which could be approached from a range of perspectives, allowing emergent opportunities for the observation of difference and similarity – in terms of diversity of language, interpretation and understanding. See the range of projects in terms of processes and outcomes.
HOW DID BROAD VISION WORK?
- Broad Vision created opportunities for students from different disciplines to work together and learn from each other, broadening their perspectives and widening their knowledge bases.
- Students became teachers, researchers and producers through a three-phase educational model.
- There was no prescribed curriculum. The projects emerged from the expertise and personal interests of participants (students and staff), framed by a central focus or question.
- Broad Vision produced a range of public outputs, enhancing graduate attributes and opportunities for professional learning. These included publications, exhibitons, workshops and conference presentations.
- All phases of the project were highly student-centred and encouraged a leveling out of established academic hierarchies between staff and students, and between students at different levels of study.
The Broad Vision learning programme had an educational research project embedded within the learning design, observing student engagement over a period of three years, 2010-2013. This research was lead by educational researcher Dr Silke Lange and explored questions relating to interdisciplinary learning, the impact of different environments on learning and the range of roles students took through the project. Several educational papers have been published by Lange and other members of the Broad Vision team .
In the first year of funding the project team developed a three-phase multi/interdisciplinary educational model, a framework for students to learn from each other, work together, and to produce professional outputs. In 2012, this model was accredited as an optional module for students in their second year of study, with continuation opportunities for other students. The educational model continues to be tested through the continuation of the Art/Science Collaboration module (as part of a university wide series of cross-disciplinary elective modules) and the development of new interdisciplinary undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Imaging Art and Science (recruiting now to start in September 2015).
Broad Vision was supported by a Wellcome Trust People’s Award (2014-15) and supported by the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design and the Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Westminster. The project was funded by Westminster Exchange Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching Fund 2010-2013.