Theoretical Frameworks

De-territorialisation: ‘The pursuit of a line of flight into smooth spaces beyond that of the formal learning space is described as a process of deterritorialisation as boundaries are broken down and fluid movement and cultural heterogeneity emerges. This can present issues, as Savin-Baden (2007) states, ‘The contrast between smooth and striated learning spaces introduces questions about the role and identity of universities and academics in terms of what counts as a legitimate learning space and who makes such decisions of legitimacy.’ (Savin-Baden 2007:14)

Smooth learning spaces: ‘Smooth learning spaces are open, flexible and contested, spaces in which both learning and learners are always on the move. Students here would be encouraged to contest knowledge and ideas proffered by lecturers and in doing so create their own stance toward knowledge(s).’ (Savin-Baden 2007:13-14)

Troublesome Knowledge: ‘This is knowledge that appears, for example, counter-intuitive, alien (emanating from another culture or discourse) or incoherent (discrete aspects are unproblematic but there is no organising principle). Disjunction, then, is not only a form of troublesome knowledge but also a ‘space’ or ‘position’ reached through the realisation that the knowledge is troublesome.’ (Savin-Bladen 2008)

Critiquing Threshold Concepts: “Advocates of ‘threshold concepts’ refer to ‘liminal spaces’ as places that students occupy as they move from a confused cognitive state of mind on the way to grasping what ‘threshold concepts’ mean, but say nothing about the physical spaces where learning occurs.” (Neary 2010:11) “We now understand that learning spaces are not just classrooms: any space where a student can access a computer; talk with another student; read a book or join peers around a table at a café, is a potential learning space … the whole university is a potential learning space” (Jamieson et al., (2009:1). 

Deconstruction: Research and Teaching ‘The most compelling innovations are spaces that attempt to re-engineer the relationship between teaching and research. Spaces have been created to link teaching with research activity between undergraduates and postgraduates, and to facilitate collaboration between students and academics. (7)

I would want this project to use some if not all of the principles set out in the Learning Landscapes in Higher Education (2010) paper. These being:

  1. Drive research into effective teaching and learning.
  2. Provide support models for staff and students on how to use innovative spaces, with provision for mentoring.
  3. Include students, as clients and collaborators, ensuring their voices are heard.
  4. Evaluate spaces in ways that are academically credible, based on measures of success that reflect the kinds of activities that are taking place.
  5. Understand the importance of time as an issue for space planning: not just space, but space-time.
  6. Connect the learning and teaching space with the campus as a whole, in ways that articulate the vision and mission of the university.
  7. Recognise and reward leadership that supports the development of learning and teaching spaces.
  8. Create formal and informal management structures that support strategic experimentation.
  9. Clarify roles, grounded in supportive relationships between and across professional groups.
  10. Intellectualise the issues: generate debate on the nature of academic values and the role and purpose of higher education: the idea of the university.



  • Antoniou, V. Design for Learning Spaces and Innovative Classrooms. e-Learning Papers  n.º 34. October 2013.
  • Bayne, S. (2004) Smoothness and Striation in Digital Learning Spaces. E-Learning, Volume 1, Number 2, 2004.
  • Carr, J. (2017) Student transitions and liminal spaces. LSE: The Education Blog.
  • Cuthell, J.P., Cych, L., & Preston, C. (2011) Learning in Liminal Spaces. Paper presented at “Mobile learning: Crossing boundaries in convergent environments” Conference, 21–22 March 2011, Bremen, Germany.
  • Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1988/2004) A Thousand Plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia. London: Continuum.
  • DfES (2002) Innovative designs for schools: Classrooms of the future. Department for Education and Skills.
  • Grellier, J. (2013) Rhizomatic mapping: Spaces for learning in higher education. School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.
  • GUND 522. (2013) The HILT Room. Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
  • Hall, C. (2013) The impact of new learning spaces on teaching practice. Academic Development Group. RMIT University. Melbourne.
  • Hawkins\Brown (2014) State Of The Estate: What’s driving change in university learning spaces. &\also Think Tank.
  • HEFCE (2006) Designing Spaces for Effective Learning: A guide to 21st century learning space design. JISC.
  • Land, R., Rattray. J. & Vivian, P.  (2014) Learning in the liminal space: a semiotic approach to threshold concepts. High Educ (2014) 67:199–217.
  • LSC (2018) About The LSC.  Learning Spaces Collaboratory. NYC.
  • Morrison, C, Mediating contemporary learning through spatial change: An account of ‘library-as-experimental-space’, Mapping learning environment evaluation across the design and education landscape, 2015, pp. 52 – 60.
  • Narum, J. L. (ed.) (2015) A Guide: Planning for Assessing 21st Century Spaces for 21st Century Learners. Learning Spaces Collaboratory (LSC)
  • Neary, M. et al (2010) Learning Landscapes in Higher Education. Centre for Educational Research and Development University of Lincoln.
  • Newton, C. (2011) Innovative learning spaces. ARCHITECTUREAU.
  • Preston. C. (2009) Braided Learning – a theoretical background. MirandaNet Fellowship. London.
  • Roy, K. (2003) Teachers in Nomadic Spaces: Deleuze and Curriculum. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.
  • Savin-Baden, M. (2008) Learning SpacesCreating Opportunities for Knowledge Creation inAcademic Life. (Part 1. 1. Forms of Learning Spaces). Maidenhead: Open University Press.
  • Wagner, J.  & Watch, D. (2017) Innovation Spaces: The New Design of Work. The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking. The Brookings Institution.
  • Wood, P. (2011 ) Learning Spaces – Exploring Complexity Beyond the Seminar Room. Journal for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.


Other sources of information

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