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Playgrounds, studios and hiding places: emotional exchange in creative learning spaces

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This paper explores notions of space in learning, specifically that of the creative learning space. It maintains that space, far from being neutral, is both socially and psychologically constructed, and reproductive of inequality.

The paper draws directly on the psychoanalytic, Winnicottian concept of transitional space, and supports its use and value as a tool via which to explore and deepen our understanding of the learning and creative space. The paper looks too at how the very language through which we discuss learning and its spaces is riddled with hierarchical beliefs. Finally it argues that moves towards greater democratization of learning through widening participation must include a more nuanced understanding of the structural inequalities which are embedded in our thinking about learning and its spaces.

The present epoch will perhaps be above all the epoch of space.

(Foucault 1986)

I wonder where you're reading this now. Did you choose to read it in a particular place? How do you feel about that space, and how is that space impacting on your reading of this paper, your enjoyment or not, empathizing or not, boredom or not? Is space really that important, that it can affect the way we read, understand, learn, express ourselves? Maybe not. But this paper discusses the possibility that for some, spaces are that important, that alive, that dynamic because they are filled with emotion, or residual emotion.

Keywords: creativity; emotion; identity; space; transitional

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre For Learning and Teaching in Art and Design (CLTAD), UAL.

Publication date: 2008-05-19

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