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The Dark Would

The Dark Would is a collaborative and transdisciplinary teaching and learning project which was established in May 2014, and is based at the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) at the University of Warwick. The project explores pedagogies and teaching spaces which are informed by an awareness of the relationship between form and content in teaching, and interrogate how learning environments shape the learning experience - and vice versa.

The project was founded and developed by a four-part team made up of Amy Clarke, Philip Gaydon, Naomi de la Tour and Dr Becky Fisher. Each of the collaborators brought their unique skills and knowledge to the project, drawing on their personal interests and their experiences as teachers, students, and administrators at the University of Warwick.

To facilitate investigation into transformative spaces which challenge traditional forms of teaching and learning, a physical installation – also referred to as The Dark Would – was created as a living laboratory, an experimental space in which ideas could be developed and tested.

Experience The Dark Would in this short film (00:01:08)

By Ben Cook (Anti/Type Films)

Watch Space and Place, the full collection of short films inspired by the project.

The aim of the project was to create spaces and pedagogies that:

  • Allow disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary teaching, thinking, and learning
  • Have the flexibility to be inclusive of all creators and all types of knowledge
  • Offer students a space in which they have the intellectual and physical freedom to challenge, reimagine, and recreate the world around them through transformative learning experiences
  • Deconstruct and reshape accepted and traditional hierarchies of power in the classroom, enabling students to create, develop, and share knowledge
  • Foster an approach to teaching and learning which crosses disciplinary boundaries in order to equip students with the ability to deal with uncertainty, complexity, and a changing world both within and beyond their university lives
  • Explore and embody what it means to engage as a whole, integrated person within teaching and learning environments.
  • Continue to respond to and be informed by key scholarship in relevant areas, such as IATL’s Open-Space Learning and Gregory Bateson’s Steps Towards an Ecology of Mind

The Dark Would has been used to enrich undergraduate and postgraduate Open Days and at the Festival of Imagination at the University of Warwick. It was also presented at the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) conference in December 2014. In October 2015 The Dark Would featured in the Times Higher Education magazine.

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The Dark Would in action


Explore further...

The Dark Would Team


The Dark Would is part of a family tree of playful projects, including:

Learning Exchange and Play 1

Image from Conor Heaney's blog

  • The Making Space, a 'room whose only purpose was to reconnect with your inner child, and explore the playfulness within'The Making Space

Image from The Making Space website