Co-operative learning at the University of Lincoln Staff and Students as equals

We may still have a huge issue of the lack of financial freedom of education but at least the learning is now focusing on more co-op aspects and removing a hierarchical system.

Kim Woodard and Paul Stewart


BA Fine Art Live Art elective network and others


We are two students on BA Fine Art at  University of Lincoln. This year we have been lucky to have been involved in a new initiative in fine art that encourages the student to be a collaborative producer of work and engages all students with active and dynamic ways of group learning. This initiative, the elective network scheme, is a way of enhancing co-research between academics and students. There are currently seven elective networks (live art, text, painting and drawing, sculpture and installation, mixed media, site-specific and curation methods) that run for groups made of a mix of level two and three fine art students. Each elective is informed by individual staff research and operates as a collaborative space for students to develop their practice in a media and subject specific way with academic support and guidance. This system has broken down the barriers of the standardised hierarchical education system, as all the electives allow students to direct their own learning and create a system that doesn’t treat the student just as a consumer of knowledge.

The electives enhance cross year discussion and create an atmosphere where all are equals irrespective of whether individuals are academics or students from different levels of fine art study. The work that is made in and from the electives have influenced both student and academic outlook on forms of education, and how there is great advantage to be found in mutually engaged research and production. Through these electives students have been able to take what they have learnt in a group and include it into their personally directed studio work. This can be seen from the work produced as part of the site specific elective across the range to the live art elective.  This is what we personally think:

“Through the text elective that I am involved in, it has enabled me to understand a broader selection of texts to help my understanding of subjects in relation to my dissertation. Then by integrating both the text and live art electives it has helped me combine both text based work and performance together. This has helped me find ways of working within my studio practice to develop methods of making the viewer more involved. “ Kim Woodard 2nd Year BA Fine Art

“In my opinion the elective networks have had huge influence on both my studio practice and my theoretical understanding. By doing both the live art and site specific elective I have been able to incorporate both, and decide how to perform the idea and also its required surroundings. The way in which the education works within the co-operative is a brilliant platform for the sharing of knowledge. It has managed to find a way of bringing like minded people together to produce work on a much grander scale than what could have been done alone.” Paul Stewart 3rd Year BA Fine Art


The text and live art electives combined in semester B to look at ways of developing work around set rules, regulations and conditions.  This began with text and developed into live art, sound or video collaborations that were shown in two events: the first was in Greestone gallery and surrounding areas and the second was in a household setting as part of the Alternative Art College. The third event will be part of the Festival of Teaching and Learning (Student as Producer). Each one has provided different contexts for the work to be viewed. All the work created was decided in a co-op fashion from the start and has relation the ideas involving rules and regulations.


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