Emilie Sitzia awarded Comenius Leadership Fellowship

Emilie Sitzia has been awarded a Comenius Leadeship Fellowship for her project ‘Senses-based learning’.

The project will take place over 3 years and has been awarded €500,000. The aim of the Comenius programme is to stimulate educational innovation in higher education.

‘Senses-based learning’ aims to re-balance and reassert the importance of sensory skills in tertiary education and in professional practice. It does so through interventions in the existing curriculum across Faculties. The interventions can take the shape of specifically designed learning units (courses, electives or part of courses), learning resources (physical or digital presented in the Sensory Learning Lab), activities, specifically designed internships, etc.

Sensory skills are essential to many fields of practice. From Medicine to Museum studies, from Physical Computing to Chemistry, from Botany to Archaeology (to name just a few) most researchers and professionals are being trained to become, before all, expert observers. It is this capacity to detect symptoms, to evaluate the impact of light and smell on museum visitors or to distinguish between two textures of similarly shaped leaves that is essential to their training. The education of these experts involves attuning and developing their skills of observation. Core to this is a sharpening of their senses. At best, these skills are taken for granted and not specifically catered for or evaluated in physical classes. It is the assumption that students will ‘pick it up’ as they go to class, attend labs or workshops, make site visits or do internships. At worst, students learn in their studies to distrust their senses and follow protocol and so-called hard skilled science. In the case of digital learning, these skills are further side-lined and, when present at all, focus on vision, and occasionally listening, rather than multiple (and connected) senses. With this project we aim to give these essential sensory knowledge and skills space and visibility in tertiary education.

The project team currently consists of Emilie Sitzia, Anna Harris, Joost Dijkstra and Ilse van Lieshout (from Marres). But we’ll be looking to extend our Sensory Network with teachers already using or wanting to experiment with sensory teaching methods and sensory experts from the field (dancers, oenologists, chefs, perfume maker, visual artists, etc). Get in touch with Emilie or Anna if you are interested.

If you’re a student and want to know more get in touch too! We’ll soon start setting up a special student think tank.

1 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Congratulations and felicitations. What an interesting research project. Look forward to learning, hearing and understanding more over the years.

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