If shoes could talk... How a student led research project generated collaboration, peer learning and the co-creation of knowledge

Braithwaite, N. ORCID: 0000-0001-6424-8919, 2021. If shoes could talk... How a student led research project generated collaboration, peer learning and the co-creation of knowledge. In: Society for Research into Higher Education International Conference 2021: (Re)connecting, (Re)building: Higher Education in Transformative Times, Virtual, 6-10 December 2021. (Forthcoming)

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This paper discusses the development of The Virtual Shoe Salon, a student led research project. The salon takes the everyday object of footwear as a focus through which students can actively engage in research, while co-creating knowledge around identity. The Virtual Shoe Salon was established during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was designed to utilise digital learning techniques and to become a longitudinal, interdisciplinary student project that documents experiences of self-identity through the lens of footwear. Whilst the initial objective was to embed research practice within our curriculum on a Fashion Marketing and Branding degree, its value in supporting interdisciplinary research has seen it translate across disciplines. The salon has created a dataset of student photographs of shoes with supporting narratives around sense of self. Undertaking the project has engaged students in collaborative research, cultural conversations on identity, and peer learning, developing their academic skills and generating knowledge. The paper focuses on the pedagogical approach, the implementation of the Virtual Shoe Salon project and will reflect on the value of the data in creating a more research focused, personalised approach to learning.

The salon draws from Schell et al.’s (2009) work on photovoice as a methodology that encourages participants to take photographs as way of reflecting and exploring the reasons, emotions and experiences that have guided their choices. The salon asked students to select a pair of shoes that they wear regularly or that has some meaning attributed to them. They are then required to take a shoe selfie (figure 1) and write a written response to two questions; what do the shoes mean to them and how do the shoes make them feel. These are initially captured on Padlet, which forms the basis for class discussions on the research findings. This is integral to the process as it encourages the students to analyse and reflect on the wider meanings of their data. The visual and textual data is then transferred anonymously to data templates which form the longitudinal project. By creating their shoe images and documenting personal stories the project has created a greater understanding of identity while encouraging the development of interpersonal relationships, through the process of learning about research methods within the curriculum.

Item Type: Conference contribution
Creators: Braithwaite, N.
Date: December 2021
Divisions: Schools > School of Art and Design
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 17 Nov 2021 15:09
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2021 15:09
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/44862

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