Media Education Summit (MES) 2013 – Susan Orr

Sheffield was the venue for this year’s Media Education Summit. Collated here are a series of posts with fragments, observations and provocations from key notes and presentations. More here: Sarah Pink, Natalie Fenton, David Buckingham

Susan Orr
Susan makes the case for more cross-disciplinary approaches to academic research practice. In a process of cross-fertilisation, art and design teaching and learning practices may inform those of media education. The key identity marker for art and design lecturers is that they are artists first and lecturers next. How many media educators are also media practitioners?

What’s more, a research orientation could be part of both artists’ and media educators’ identities to create a generative synergy between theory and practice. There’s a duality in the learner-maker: a playful tension between fixed and nameable materiality and tacit and elusive conceptual thought.

What are the commonalities between the practical concerns of art and design and media production? A commitment to:



reflexivity / reflection


The disconnect between academia and the practical is nowhere better illustrated than in traditional research outputs: the written word in book or article is the standard unit of knowledge transfer. Orr challenges these ontological assumptions and seeks a more reflexive modality into which performance might be incorporated.

She questions standard top down pedagogies, the reification of subject boundaries and spatial separations in higher education, calling for fewer divisions between school / college education and higher education as well as more plural, porous approaches to teaching and learning that align well with the content of particular disciplines.

Relevance to my study: the blurring of spatial boundaries in schools, porous inexpert pedagogies, research and practice in continual conversation, my conception of young learners as proto-designers, makers and assemblers of materials.


  1. Pingback: Media Education Summit (MES) 2013 – Sarah Pink | Making is Learning

  2. Pingback: Media Education Summit (MES) 2013 – David Buckingham | Making is Learning

  3. Pingback: Media Education Summit (MES) 2013 – Natalie Fenton | Making is Learning

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