Teaching Matters

Poster 2

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Teaching Matters 2018 | Presentation Details | 2018


Advanced design research as rhizomatic learning


Mike Hornblow, School of Architecture and Design
Jacqueline Power, School of Architecture and Design
Cher Chin, School of Architecture and Design
Qi Huang, School of Architecture and Design
Joel Mathew, School of Architecture and Design


Excellent teaching happens by design

Presentation Type



Sir Raymond Ferrall Centre Foyer




The University of Tasmania’s Master of Architecture coursework program has a suite of units dedicated to introducing students to research fundamentals. The projects undertaken in Advanced Design Research 2 unit conform with Frayling’s (1993) ‘into/for/through’ design research framework. This allows for a variety of investigative approaches and output/outcome types.

This year the work of one selective in Advanced Design Research 2 unit focused on mycelium as a material for design. This selective presents an illustration of a rhizomatic approach to learning, which is also reflected by the growth process of mycelium itself. ‘The rhizome is the subterranean stem of some plants that propagate in unexpected directions, thus finding a way to go beyond obstacles and produce shoots above and roots below‘ (Bissola, et al., 2017, p. 207). From a learning and teaching perspective, ‘the learning process in the rhizomatic perspective develops step-by-step in a continuously evolving path to pursue the learning objective while avoiding the obstacles it encounters‘ (Bissola, et al., 2017, p. 207).

This nimble approach, necessary because of the newness of the field, provided students with independence over their learning and the challenge of overcoming hurdles encountered in the process. The types of unbound learning that required navigation in this selective’s first iteration included: prototyping and iterating, responding to successes and failures of the mycelium growth, re-negotiating roles and outputs based on the acquisition of knowledge from the process. The outcomes of the selective will be presented from both a student and teacher perspective.


Bissola, R., Imperatori, B., and, Biffi, A. (2017). A rhizomatic learning process to create collective knowledge in entrepreneurship education: Open innovation and collaboration beyond boundaries. Management Learning, Apr2017, Vol. 48 Issue 2, p206-226. 21p.

Frayling, C. (1993). Research in Art and Design. in Royal College of Art Research Papers 1, no.1(London: Royal College of Art).

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