Alternative Studios Project


** The LxD 2019 Track 1 Alternative Studios Call for Papers is open: deadline 10 December 2018 **

About the project

Contemporary higher design education is making increasing use of online, digital and distributed studios to augment, or even replace, physical (proximate) studio space. In part this is due to increasing pressures on resources but it is also in response to increasing professional and practical uses of online and digital tools.

Of course, different types of studio in education have always existed – current models of studio education have arisen to meet quite specific needs (professional, economic, political, etc.). Similarly, experimental studios have always existed, pushing the boundaries of what it is to engage in the process of design education and even what the boundary of the studio actually is.

The body of scholarship and knowledge around such ‘alternative studios’ has grown steadily but slowly over the past decades. Very often it is scholarship, small-scale projects, and case study-based work that contributes knowledge. And all too often, these cases, stories and examples of design education don’t get the attention they deserve

This is one of the reasons we want to collect and share alternative studios: examples of studios and studio practice currently being used in design higher education around the world.

Call for papers

With this in mind, we are organising a track at the 2019 LearnXdesign Conference in Ankara, Turkey and are calling for papers and case studies of contemporary studio practice.

We are happy to consider submissions of 3-5000 words, so short case studies and papers are fine – if you have a smaller project that involves studio teaching then this is a good way to  share it with others.

Good guidance on case studies can be found in Boling (2010), Smith (2010), and Howard (2011) (see references below).

From the conference track submission we are hoping to arrange a special issue in the International Journal of Design for Designs for Learning using case studies and papers from the conference track. We will also look into other ways we can share cases with the wider design community. More on this soon…

Sharing practice

But we’d also like to go beyond collecting and sharing to study deeper ideas and themes that might emerge from such a collection. Longer term we hope that this work might inform analysis and theory around contemporary design studio practice and education.

To support this we’d like to create a network of interested practitioners and academics – specifically around studio pedagogy and practice. If you’d like to be involved in that then please just get in touch with either Nicole ( or Derek (



Boling, E. (2010) ‘The Need for Design Cases : Disseminating Design Knowledge The Need for Design Cases : Disseminating Design Knowledge’, International Journal of Designs for Learning, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1–8 [Online]. DOI: 10.14434/ijdl.v1i1.919.

Howard, C. D. (2011) ‘Writing and Rewriting the Instructional Design Case : A View from Two Sides Writing and Rewriting the Instructional Design Case : A View from Two Sides’, International Journal of Designs for Learning, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 40–55 [Online]. DOI: 10.14434/ijdl.v2i1.1104.

Smith, K. M. (2010) ‘Producing the Rigorous Design Case’, International Journal of Designs for Learning, vol. 1, no. 1 [Online]. DOI: 10.14434/ijdl.v1i1.917 (Accessed 1 August 2018).