Enter the Dark Would of Imagination
Anything is possible within your imagination and the University of Warwick has now made it plausible for you to see, build and feel your imagination within their Dark Would – a new learning space that challenges conventional teaching techniques. Students are able to create in a different atmosphere, and explore topics and ideas in surroundings that they haven’t come across before.
The Dark Would, an imaginative learning space was created by three staff members of Warwick’s Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning; Rebecca Fisher, Naomi de la Tour and Amy Clarke, who wanted an environment that would give students – and staff – an intellectual and physical space to challenge what they have known previously.
Students are able to crawl through tunnels, stumble across darkness and a campfire, sit on cushions, forage through apothecary cabinets, change into fancy dress costumes and crawl around on AstroTurf. There are no seminars or lecture halls within this world, only a student and their task – which can be anything from building what you think your imagination looks like as a physical object with Lego and Play-Doh, or writing a letter to your past self. Say goodbye to word counts and Microsoft Powerpoint!
Rebecca, Amy and Naomi have created this learning space within the drama studio on campus. They decided to start this project after learning that sitting on the floor during meetings helped them settle into a different frame of mind which they wanted to bring to the classroom. “We wanted a space that created a sense of almost being childlike” Dr. Fisher expanded during an interview with Times Higher Education Magazine, where students “genuinely explore something not necessarily knowing where you are going, being curious about learning rather than having a sense that the teacher knows all the answers”.
This is probably why students crawl around certain areas of the Dark Would to aid them to take in their surrounding a little differently. The darkness was also designed to add the sense of discovery and create a feeling of risk.
It was used as part of a module at the university called Applied Imagination which had undergraduates enter the Dark Would who then had a discussion with their teacher afterwards. Feedback from both students, teachers and other members of staff was quite positive.
Although it is an odd concept to get your head around, the project has received positive reactions and most people have come around to the idea after entering the space themselves.
“The Dark Would isn’t a replacement of traditional or different types of teaching, but is a complementary method” Dr. Fisher added in the interview, “[it gives] students a feeling of being free and open-minded, and of being able to pursue questions and challenges in a way that is different.”
Don’t throw away that Pukka pad or your favourite pencil case just yet! The Dark Would is creating conversation and unconventional learning spaces within the academic world, however, students will still find themselves attending old-fashioned lectures for a while yet.
Students interested in attending the University of Warwick, or to visit the university during an Open Day can find more information here.