'Out-of-study experiences:the power of different environments to inspire student engagement'

Pauline Palmer

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review



The oral presentation will be in the form of an ‘Out of Study Experiences’ Powerpoint with key teaching and learning strategies for student engagement in new learning environments and images of students engaged in visits and related hands-on activities. After an initial description of the research and its outcomes delegates will be encouraged to ask questions and contribute ideas and experiences.

The session tackles head-on the teaching focus of the conference; the practical response to the unique challenge of teaching Generation Z. Wider participation and rapidly changing social and cultural habits demand reconsideration of old ways of delivery.

We address the problem of students who are reluctant to engage with traditional academic activities such as reading and lectures, and also baulk at visiting museums and galleries and other so-called ‘high-end’ venues. Research into cultural engagement, education practice and marketing theory has enabled me to assemble a profile of the current generation of students presenting a new model for student cultural participation and ways to encourage engagement in the arts in new learning environments. Through case studies of visits undertaken with Creative Arts students at the University of Hertfordshire, it presents practical strategies to draw students into reflective analysis of design through ‘out-of-study’ experiences; taking cultural participation out of the lecture room and the library and into the street, site and venue.

The research has a direct impact on the attainment of students who conquer their feelings of fear and intimidation – what Andrew Miles calls the ‘not for people like me’ response. It enables students to access cultural and critical studies through seeing, doing and understanding rather than reading and hearing. It taps into alternative ways of learning and provides inspiration for new interests and directions, raising self-esteem and achievement.

The prime factor in engaging interest is starting where the students are. Taking incremental steps to introduce students to critical analysis is key to making them feel comfortable in new learning environments. This is an inclusive activity that draws in students who might otherwise not have engaged with any form of culture.

The selfie generation take splendidly to ‘celebrity’ learning environments, tasks outside the university and visual recording of the moment. They enjoy the event and will absorb information and reflect upon it with more enthusiasm than the same information in lecture format.

The strategies and tasks are easily transferable and the intended audience is teachers of arts and humanities with a special focus on Art and Design. I believe delegates will be interested in this session because we are all managing demographic change in our student cohorts and are looking for ways to better engage them.

There are many social and cultural research projects defining our youth demographic but addressing these changes in HE through pedagogy has not been universal. Embracing widening participation and providing innovative strategies to promote inclusive learning and engagement is a challenge in Art and Design education and has relevance beyond in the more general arts and humanities field.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2017
EventHEA Conference Manchester 4 July 2017 Generation TEF: Teaching in the Spotlight - Manchester University, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jul 20176 Jul 2017


ConferenceHEA Conference Manchester 4 July 2017 Generation TEF: Teaching in the Spotlight
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of ''Out-of-study experiences:the power of different environments to inspire student engagement''. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this