For the most recent issue of GeoAgenda, the journal of the Swiss Association of Geography, Julio Paulos and Sven Daniel Wolfe have put together a collection of short interventions around the theme “Field Trips as Pedagogical Devices”
The main question they sought to explore was: What are the educational benefits of urban field trips? This special issue of GeoAgenda aims to answer this question through a series of stories, experiences and reflections.
As they suggest in their introduction (p.4):
Field trips are a common unit of study in geography curricula, and they are widely valued for the valuable hands-on learning experiences they provide. Nevertheless, they remain peripheral to most geography curricula. We don’t mean to suggest that field trips should be at the centre of teaching, but that a rethinking of teaching formats outside the classroom, and even within the classroom, is necessary to prepare students for the realities they will encounter once they graduate or leave academia. Field trips give students (and teachers) a vivid, first-hand understanding of (urban) environments. They allow for an exploration of the complexity, diversity, and multiplicities of urban life in a way that cannot be conveyed by classroom instruction alone.
This issue highlights these benefits, but also delves deeper into the issues of reflecting the standards of classroom teaching. In doing so, it calls for a more situated and experimental rethinking of university education.
Upon the gracious invitation of Julio (to whom I’d like to thank here), together with Micol Rispoli and Patrick Bieler we contribute to it with a short piece called:
Learning with others about neurodiverse spatial practice
In early 2020 Micol Rispoli (architect) and Tomás Criado (anthropologist) were working on a design experiment exploring how neurodiverse spatial practice might put architectural design practice in crisis. In previous months they had been engaging with a neurodivergent person and his family. They also had been revising standard architectural approaches to accessible design, in particular with neurodivergent people. But they felt they needed to discuss their predicaments with someone more experienced in these issues. Tomás, then, engaged his colleague Patrick Bieler (anthropologist), an experienced researcher on these matters, to join the conversation.
What follows is the account of a trip to the sights of Patrick’s fieldwork, where we tried to learn together what neurodiverse spatial practice might do to urban design.