Practices of Enquiry

Practices of Enquiry logo
Rachel Littlewood

Practices of Enquiry is a two-year institutional enhancement project that sets out to explore how we create the conditions for enquiry to flourish within our ‘creative, curious, critical curricula’ (Learning Teaching and Enhancement Strategy 2015-2022).

Latest news

'Practices of Enquiry', UAL's first exhibition of teaching moves to the Showroom Gallery in High Holborn from 9-27 January. A team of students, graduates and staff have worked together to visually translate the teaching methods of several tutors into a series of installations and displays. The exhibition demonstrates what UAL teaching has to offer via graphic displays, video documentaries, audio guides and original student produced artworks. Book on a curator's tour to learn more.

About the project

Enquiry-based learning is an experiential, holistic process that foregrounds the student as active producer of their own knowledge. It is particularly prevalent in arts disciplines, where our students often design their own projects and navigate paths through a range of methods, discourse and practices. 

Between now and summer 2017, the Teaching and Learning Exchange and a cross-college project team are investigating: 

  • how we teach practices of enquiry 
  • how our students develop enquiry-led practice.  

The aim is to develop a fuller understanding of how we teach within our disciplines and to articulate and share knowledge across the University. 

What are we doing? 

In the spirit of enquiry, the project team ran a series of scoping workshops within each college, facilitating discussions on how staff nurture curiosity in their students.  

The workshop findings have led to the development of an institutional students-as-partners research project, where a team of student researchers will be recruited to co-design a range of qualitative visual research methods. They will be sent into the field to gather multi-media documentary evidence of enquiry-based learning in practice.   

The resulting data will then be analysed and used to develop: 

  • digital case studies as staff development resources 
  • reference points and examples for student-facing learning resources on the UAL Academic Support Online web pages, and  
  • an exhibition of the enquiry-based learning methods of UAL tutors, curated by the Teaching and Learning Exchange - Monday 14th - Friday 18th November, 10am - 6pm daily.

The project team also organised UAL’s first ever Undergraduate Research Forum, part of UAL’s Research Fortnight programmeIn March 2016, 40 undergraduate students representing all colleges of the University met at Chelsea College of Arts to share their small-scale project work.

The intention was to raise the profile of undergraduate research and provide an opportunity for students to come together to celebrate and learn from each other’s work. Inter-disciplinary learning was the highlight of the day, with students commenting that the resonances and dissonances between our diverse courses are definitely worth exploring annually. 

Why are we doing this? 

By working with students and harnessing their cross-disciplinary expertise, the intention is to share and enhance, via engaging staff and students in each other’s practice in ways that are accessible, useful and pertinent to our specialist arts institution context. 

Who is involved?

Graham Barton, Academic Support Coordinator 

David Bracegirdle, Learning Zone Manager, CSM 

Jason Copley, Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning, LCC 

Dr Alison James, Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning, LCF 

Dr Rebekka Kill, Associate Dean of Student Experience & Enhancement, CSM 

Catherine Smith, Teaching Excellence & Enhancement Coordinator, Teaching & Learning Exchange  

Elizabeth Staddon, Programme Director, Teaching & Learning Exchange 

Bee Tajudeen, Education Officer, SUArts  

Jim Thrower, Technical lead of 2D resource area, CSM 

Adrienne Tulley, Learning & Teaching Development Coordinator, LCC 

Dave Webster, Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning, CCW 

Dr Saranne Weller, Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning, Teaching & Learning Exchange 

For further information, please contact the project lead: 

Catherine Smith, Teaching Excellence and Enhancement Coordinator on 

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