The Antwerp ‘ACSA/EAAE Teacher Conference’ focuses on the hunch that drives the practice teacher/ researcher in his/her teaching or research. With this call, the joint conference of the North American and European associations for architectural education solicits scholarly presentations for the conference and proceedings, as well as project-based position statement posters for a conference exhibit. The conference addresses both practitioners and academics with an interest to explore the present and future role of teaching practices in relation to research and its broader pedagogical contexts, and invites reflection inspired by the following questions:
- Must the teacher primarily conduct typological, tectonic, compositional, or technological experiments—the more ‘classical’ themes—to focus on general transferable skills of design practice, but potentially overlooking pressing issues that challenge our built environment. Or, should he/she formulate studio assignments in line with a contemporary agenda—be it socio-political or eco-cultural—potentially making curricula drift away from these classical themes?
- If professional practice is a privileged site for the production of knowledge, and the emergence of new insights, how can we ensure that this knowledge and these insights reach academia? What is the nature of such knowledge and insights, and what is their edifying capacity? What is the nature of the expertise that is developed in inquisitive professional design practice? Why would it be crucial to incorporate such expertise in the academic environment?
- If design practice is a proper way of coming to know, which, then, are the interests that are pursued? Do the ‘design practice’ and the ‘teaching practice’ of a teaching practitioner constitute one continuum? Do design teachers that have undertaken research into their practices observe their ‘teaching practice’ to be fundamentally transformed?
- Can the studio/faculty be seen as a thinker-space that provides uncompromised inquiries to the best of all available knowledge, rather than having to follow a commercial or socio-political agenda? Can we imagine a space of learning that integrates craft and speculation, urge and fascination, skill and imagination, criticality and creativity, individual formation and social consciousness?
The conference expressly aims at transcending disciplinary boundaries to include contributions from different fields of expertise in creative practice research at large. Difference and variety of contribution formats and a polyphony of ‘voices’ are essential to the core concerns at stake in the conference. The goal is to bridge practice and academia, to reemphasize the public role and duty of higher education and the question of societal relevance.