Resilience Building in Graduating Students: The Role of Scalable Communities of Practice

Stephen Goddard and Carly Vickers (UNSW, Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture)
2021 Conference

This paper draws on the authors’ experiences of implementing Communities of Practice as course leads for the UNSW School of Art & Design graduating Major Project. It considers the implications of pivoting from a blended face-to-face to a fully online modality, which occurred rapidly as a response to the major COVID lockdown of 2021. Outcomes of Major Project courses are traditionally high stakes for emerging graduate designers, due to the individual nature of the projects and ambitions of graduating students. The underlying pedagogy for the Major Project course in the School of Art & Design has evolved significantly in recent times, with less emphasis placed on project outcomes, and a focus instead on developing students’ agility, soft skills and personal attributes. The pedagogy supporting this approach draws on research into the challenges of fostering risk taking and transformation within the traditional project-based studio model. We build on this by integrating ideas from John Wood’s Quadratic Consciousness and his deployment of Leonard Euler’s model of design networks to explain the collective wisdom of communities. These ideas are explored practically through the design and implementation of scalable, agile and supportive Communities of Practice, with the view to building resilience within student cohorts.


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About the author

Carly Vickers

Carly Vickers is a Lecturer in Design in the Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture (ADA), UNSW, Sydney. As a researcher, practitioner and educator Carly has a particular interest in interdisciplinary design in both personal practice and team contexts. In her role at UNSW she also currently serves as the Academic Lead for the Innovation Hub, an interdisciplinary problem-solving initiative within ADA. Carly holds degrees in Music Performance (Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and Design (Hons) and is currently completing a PhD in creative practice (UNSW). Since joining UNSW, she has made significant contributions to the redevelopment of the Bachelor of Design degree and developed the final year Design Studios in collaboration with colleague Stephen Goddard.

Stephen Goddard 

Stephen Goddard is a Lecturer at UNSW Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture, School of Art & Design, and is a practicing designer and curator. His current research interests are in the application of autoethnographic processes to transform practice. Over thirty years he has worked with many of Australia’s largest cultural institutions including Sydney Festival, Australian Institute of Architects, Australian Design Centre (ADC), JamFactory Adelaide, and MAC / yapang. His recent curatorial project Happy objects (ADC, 2021-22) explored the value of everyday objects in our lives, and included a collaboration with Griffin Theatre Company and Sydney Festival. Since joining UNSW, he has led the redevelopment of the graphic design curriculum, and jointly developed the final year Design Studios with colleague Carly Vickers.