Rose Gridneff, Andrew Haslam and Alexander Cooper

paper utilises 6x6: Collaborative Practice in Specialist Subject Areas as a case study for investigating collaborative publishing between students and staff within the art school. 6x6 is a research project which has brought together six leading UK based Higher Education design schools with active letterpress workshops.

The project combines a traditional understanding of letterpress composition with a contemporary approach to design education. This has been achieved through The collaborative creation of: a publication, a travelling exhibition, Reflective essays, conference papers and the initial phase of the construction of an inventory of type and equipment within letterpress workshops in art and Design schools in the UK.

Letterpress has traditionally been taught through a ‘training’ model, which characteristically prioritised the acquisition of skills to enable the production of artefacts. ‘Expert’ technical demonstrators, themselves ‘trained’ in production, have been responsible for imparting their knowledge of a Process to students. This didactic model of instruction was formalised within the training of apprentice compositors and printers. The 6x6 project offers an alternative model of learning; learning through shared and immersive experience. The nature of the collaborative practice is not merely between colleges but between students and staff within the workshops. Students, technical and academic staff have engaged with letterpress in a critical Way which celebrates all as equal partners in design research. Through Collectively exploring immersive practice we aim to engender confidence in inclusive Models of teaching within specialist subject areas. The model seeks to link theory with specialist practice in a critical dialogue and can be adopted by Different disciplines. In placing students at the centre of the process we can begin to question why we do something, as opposed to imparting how it is done.

"The 6x6 project offers an alternative model of learning; learning through shared and immersive experience"