"What begins as an undifferentiated space becomes place as we get to know it better and endow it with value."
- Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place
On 14 & 15 May 2015, The Dark Would team organised an IATL event which explored innovation in pedagogy, learning, and teaching in Higher Education. This event provided a space where staff and students from all roles and disciplines could explore who they were as educators, learners and members of the university. Participants were invited to question what they needed in order to develop their pedagogical skills, ideas, and philosophies and were asked to consider what it is that turns the spaces within a university into places for learning which hold meaning and value.
We worked with a number of local artists and practitioners in the development of The Dark Would event. Filmmaker Ben Cook (Anti/Type Films) conducted a number of interviews with participants both during and after the event, asking them to share thoughts and ideas of their 'ideal' university. Ben then used the content of these discussions to script and create three short films, each focused around a reoccurring theme. These films, Structure, Geography and Teaching & Learning can be found below.
Teaching & Learning
The Dark Would installation was transformed during the course of the event by local production designer Michelle Bailey (BaileyFace Productions). Ideas of reflection and nostalgia have formed part of all iterations of The Dark Would installation but Michelle's space developed further on this, using memories from her childhood (such as her love of the film Return to Oz and of hanging upside-down in trees) to completely transform the space. Michelle also incorporated design ideas from other cultures to create a more international space, something we had not previously considered. Michelle's involvement allowed The Dark Would team to experience a sense of wonder and surprise that we had worked hard to evoke in others entering the space but had not previously experienced ourselves.
We have consistantly experimented with sound in The Dark Would installation and finding the right level and style of music indicative to the kinds of learning experience we wished to encourage was often challenging. For The Dark Would event we called in professional help and worked with local Sound Engineer Alex Miles who devised some extraordinary solutions. Following on from our description of The Dark Would as a place that nurtures creative thought, Alex designed the music so that it's low, deep, synth sounds encircled - womb-like - those wandering through the installation. He then played with ideas of power and permission by hiding a microphone in the space which participants could (if they dared) use to manipulate and transform the sounds that were being created.
Finally, Michael Ratledge, a talented local Time-lapse Photographer worked with us to record the installation of Michelle Bailey's Dark Would space and created the short film below.