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Jolley, V., Sanderson, L., 2021.

MSA CATALYSTS: advanced peer learning through vertical group projects

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:AMPS Conference: Teaching-Learning-Research: Design and Environments
Publication:AMPS Proceedings Series 22.1. Teaching - Learning - Research
Venue:Manchester School of Architecture, UK
Publisher:Architecture Media Politics Society (AMPS)
Dates:2/12/2020 - 4/12/2020
Pagination:pp. 129-140

The Manchester School of Architecture has advanced peer-to-peer learning by linking multi-level group projects with outreach work. This pedagogic approach has become an essential vehicle to progress the School's ambition to connect academia, the architectural profession and societal networks whilst offering a rich learning experience for the student. Embedded into the curriculum, the School adopts this approach at key points during the academic year, requiring students to collaborate through intense 'vertical' projects. Students from different levels of study across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes unite to explore an architectural proposal or contemporary agenda in relation to a live project as group work. The addition of external collaborators, who may act as client or participate as an active team member, enhances student learning, experience and debate. This paper will introduce and analyse this model's pedagogy and good teaching practice through two examples of the School's established peer-learning projects, MSA Events (2008 to date) and the All School Project (2015 to date). An associated pedagogic research project, named MSA CATALYSTS initiated by this paper's authors, Jolley and Sanderson, will also been outlined. Reflecting on the School's vertical project's inception, evolution and ongoing legacy, this paper will demonstrate the effectiveness and value of the resulting educational ecosystem and note impact on skills and knowledge acquisition. This will be mapped through specific case studies to illustrate built legacy, legislative legacy, and research legacy in the city of Manchester and beyond. This will provide an insight into the thinking, strategy, advantages, outcomes and possibilities of this alternative approach.