Dynamic and polyfunctional spaces

In this podcast, Michael discusses the role of universities within the wider community. He talks about how access to information has changed over time, which has implications for new ways of learning such as through MOOCs. Michael calls for universities - as institutions as well as physical spaces – to be more engaged with their local communities while addressing global challenges. He particularly draws the example of shared campus between the University of Exeter and Falmouth University to demonstrate an example. Based on his extensive work on healthy ageing, social innovation and citizen journalism, Michael shares a hub-and-spoke model across digital and physical realms for the future university campus. He argues that university spaces should be polyfunctional spaces supported by appropriate staffing. The polyfunctional spaces will engender visual, kinaesthetic and haptic learning (which reminds us of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences). Michael identifies universities as platforms for social innovation. He discusses the need to activate spaces within corridors and departments so that learners can take ownership of the space and their learning. Universities have the potential to cultivate intergenerational learning and bring together a group of learners (rather than individuals) to solve complex challenges without the fear of failing. Michael ends with an optimistic note on the benefits that universities can achieve by collaborating with each other, and the broader business, governance and civic communities.

About Dr Michael Leyshon

Michael is a senior lecturer in Geography at the University of Exeter residing at the Cornwall Campus. He is also Director of Education for the Centre for Geography and Environmental Science. His research explores how third sector agencies and small businesses innovate to produce social change. In particular, his work seeks to ground place-based person-centred approaches in a variety of locations, practices and performances, by focusing on issues relating to care in the countryside, and business adaptation to climate change.