Teaching Matters

Poster 5a

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Teaching Matters 2018 | Presentation Details | 2018


Biofabrication with SCOBY: material innovation and independent learning in a summer research unit


Sonja Hindrum, School of Creative Arts
Mike Hornblow, School of Architecture and Design
Jacqueline Power, School of Architecture and Design
Aaron Yong, School of Architecture and Design


Excellent teaching happens by design

Presentation Type



Sir Raymond Ferrall Centre Foyer




This poster presentation will communicate the process and results developed as part of a Dean’s Summer Research Scholarship (DSRS) unit, building upon a previous Teaching Development Grant between architecture and design and chemistry, investigating Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY). The intention of the DSRS unit is for undergraduate students to learn research protocols and develop interest in pursuing further research. Despite its research positioning, the unit must be carefully designed to facilitate independent learning sustained over a period of weeks. Architecture and design disciplines are traditionally taught in studio settings that involve collaborative ‘project-based teaching in small groups’ (Wallis, et al., 2017, p. 123). Although still responding to so-called ‘wicked problems’, the DSRS unit contrasts this established style of learning by requiring self-directed independent learning in a supervisory mode situated in a research context (Buchanan, 1995, p. 14-5).

The main aim of the DSRS project was to generate ideas and working prototypes for the use of SCOBY as an architectural material responding to the emerging design field of bio-design. Expert in the field William Myers (2012, p. 9) defines the emergent field of bio-design as ‘(referring) specifically to the incorporation of living organisms as essential components, enhancing the function of the finished work’. The unit provided both hands-on learning, including site visits, reflective processes such as journaling, and consultation with material experts.

The poster will demonstrate the high impact learning associated with the DSRS unit.


Buchanan, R. (1995). Wicked Problems in Design Thinking. In The Idea of Design: a design issues reader, edited by Victor Margolin and Richard Buchanan, 3- 20. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Myers, W. (2012). Bio Design (New York: The Museum of Modern Art).

Wallis, L., Williams, A. and Ostwald, M. J. (2017). Studio Models in a Changing Higher Education Landscape. Australian Art Education, 38(1), 122-139.

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