November 23, 2007

creative spaces – working practices no.1

Something on my mind for a while has been the question of creative working spaces.

Students have the Learning Grid and Reinvention Centre.

Academics will shortly have the Teaching Grid .

Is there not a need for a similar space for administrators?

It would be interesting to trial a space for administrators to use for impromptu get togethers and creative play. Note that the coffee bar doesn’t really count for this, nor do meeting rooms as they aren’t really the best places for this sort of environment.

So, I have a proposition. As part of Warwick iCast there is an editing suite in the back of RSS in University House Annex. During term time it’s a bit busy but out of term time there is some capacity in it so here’s an invitation for a trial period. Any administrators who want to use the room to chuck ideas around can come and use the space to just do that.

Of course there are some ground rules.

1. You have to accept that there will be people doing editing in the corner – just ignore us as we will ignore you
2. No more than 4 people at once – otherwise things get too crowded
3. No senior administrators – i leave it to your discretion to decide if you fit that description
4. No meetings – really – if it looks like you’re having a meeting you will be asked to leave.
5. I reserve the right to shut the door if I really need to.

There’s a video camera and MP3 recorder if you want to record your thoughts. Bring your own coffee mugs though.

So if you want a bit of space to think about stuff with a colleague in a relaxed spot then please feel free to pop along. Part of the challenge will be to find it in the first place – but hey! look at it as a creative task!

Note that you need to give me a chance to tidy up first.

If this is interesting post a comment below. If I get a favourable response i’ll offically kick it off.


- 15 comments by 4 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Eleanor Lovell

    Nice of you to offer your space/dungeon Tom – I really do think that this sort of space would be of great benefit, even just for people to have impromptu chats and share information.

    I think a better suggestion would be for the space in the atrium to be better desigend for this purpose. Some comfy seating around low coffee tables for people to get away from their computer screens and have a chat or even on the first and second floors, replace the plants with sofas – after all, it’s good to talk!

    23 Nov 2007, 15:55

  2. I think in the long term that’s probably the right approach but I would point out that really the Atrium may be too public a space to really be effective as a collaborative thinking space.

    The principal of soft spaces is a good one though and we ought to think a bit more about why we don’t provide such a space for the use of administrators.

    Table football is a must.

    23 Nov 2007, 16:01

  3. Steve Rumsby

    There used to be sofas and coffee tables in the atrium, and they were very handy. Much better for informal meetings/chats than sitting in the coffee bar. At least outside of lunchtime. It is a shame they went away. I wonder why?

    Tom, what is there in your editing suite? I often feel the need to scribble on a whiteboard while having discussions like this, and finding such a thing spontaneously is very difficult in this place. You also need a webcam in there so we can check if the room is occupied before making the long trek to the furthest reaches of the Annex!

    I used to work in Maths in a previous life (at least, it seems that long ago now) and they have always had seating areas and blackboards scattered a regular intervals throughout their buildings, exactly to foster impromptu and informal discussions. I really like that idea. It works well, and I wonder if there’s any way we could get something similar here? Probably not…

    23 Nov 2007, 16:04

  4. Steve Rumsby

    Table football is a must.

    I’ve had lots of good ideas in discussions around a pool table. In my mis-spent youth, obviously:-)

    23 Nov 2007, 16:06

  5. If you go to the back of the Academic Office on floor 1 there’s a door that leads you into a glass store room and over a bridge – once across turn right down some more stairs and when you pop out walk straight ahead into the far corner and it’s there.

    There are whiteboards and a flip chart stand. Some of the whiteboards are needed for iCast but there is usually space enough.

    23 Nov 2007, 16:18

  6. Eleanor Lovell

    I think in the long term that’s probably the right approach but I would point out that really the Atrium may be too public a space to really be effective as a collaborative thinking space.

    It’s the best space we have at the moment and it would be a quick (and pretty cheap) thing to do! It would also benefit students, academics and any other visitors to University House.

    Again, not a private area but on the first and second floors there are spaces that would benefit from soft seating!

    23 Nov 2007, 16:20

  7. Casey

    Over here we have this: http://library.open.ac.uk/services/digilab/index.cfm

    A bit different from the Warwick Digilab…

    28 Nov 2007, 12:24

  8. Catherine Fenn

    Like the idea, though your suggested space is a touch remote from Gibbet Hill…

    Interestingly my new office, directly off common room, with huge window and a grand view, seems to have become a space for ‘impromptu get togethers’. Secretly hoping that the novelty doesn’t wear off!?

    29 Nov 2007, 12:01

  9. This could be really useful for our team to thrash out new developments ideas too – thanks Tom

    07 Dec 2007, 08:55

  10. What a great idea, but why exclude senior admin staff? I would relish the opportunity for a creative space and to do that with any/all staff.

    07 Dec 2007, 11:02

  11. well, mainly as some people might find it a little intimidating perhaps? Having said that I can hardly refuse! Hell, anyone and everyone is welcome!

    07 Dec 2007, 11:08

  12. ooh – and as iCast planning is over for the term the room is now up for grabs!

    07 Dec 2007, 11:08

  13. Sue

    I relish it too, hopefully I’m welcome?!

    07 Dec 2007, 11:11

  14. gah!

    07 Dec 2007, 11:17

  15. Warwick people only btw

    07 Dec 2007, 11:18


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