The Bauhaus is arguably, the most famous of all design schools and the requirements for teaching and learning design in higher education were born from fundamental principles established there. In October 2018 staff from the Northumbria University Interior Design programme were invited to participate in the Open Studio Programme at the Bauhaus, Dessau. Over 2 days, 20 final year interior design students took part in a series of workshops to develop new pedagogical insights into the relationships between space, architecture and the human form. Using the iconic building as a backdrop, the general aim of the workshops was to explore the ‘standards’ for (perceived and actual) proximity of learning in design education. By rupturing and reinterpreting the spatial principles of the Bauhaus Masters in a newly-defined context, students could explore the evolution of design pedagogy in order to empower their own creative learning.
The theme of enquiry continued at the IAFOR Conference on Educational Research & Innovation (ERI), May 2019, at Virginia Tech, USA. Entitled “The Neue Sehen (New Vision) of Future Design Education”, a ‘digital proximity’ workshop, advocated a new relevance for physical versus distant learning in education to trigger and justify new styles of scholarship.
Rod Adams and Julie Trueman returned to Dessau in February 2020, during which final year interior design students from Northumbria University engaged in a unique collaboration with students from Virginia Tech. Under the studio theme of ‘habitat’ the overarching aim of the activities was to interrogate and disrupt some of the principles of interior habitation through a series of workshops exploring Symbols, Surfaces and Boundaries.
The relationships established with the staff of the research academy have led to a timely collaboration currently underway exploring how the “real-life” educational experiences at the Bauhaus can be conveyed into representative digital form, incorporating the theatrical and physical elements that were inherent to studying and working in the Bauhaus, when engaging through remote communication means.