Crafts in the Classroom

MariÈve Mauve Pagé

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: MariÈve Mauve Pagé, Publishing Program

Project team: Ketheeswaran Avvai, research assistant

Timeframe: January 2019 to July 2021

Funding: $5070

Courses addressed:

  • PUB 231 – Graphic Design Fundamentals
  • PUB 331 – Graphic Design in Transition: Print and Digital Books
  • PUB 602 – Design & Production Control in Publishing

Final report: View MariÈve Mauve Pagé's final report (PDF) >>

Description: Since September 2016 I have been teaching publication design to students ranging from having little or no interest in design and having never used design software (like InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator) to design majors at the end of their academic careers that are already proficient in design software and the design process. Using crafts in the classroom has been one way to create a stronger classroom community by bridging the gaps between the students, as well as a way to make design classes more accessible to those anxious about the subject matter. Using crafts for low-brow and low-barrier activities, I hope students engage with design theory and are inspired to be more creative by using tools other than their computers.

Although I have received positive feedback from students about using crafts in the classroom, I would like to have a better understanding of what is actually working and why. For this project, I would like to investigate how crafts can be used as a low-barrier entry pedagogical tool in publication design teaching and explore how non-digital experiential learning can also boost creativity. I want to bring the theory and practice of makerspaces into the classroom, specifically as an exploration & creativity tool rather than only looking at finished products.

Questions addressed:

  • What does the literature on makerspaces and craft thinking state about crafts and the role of “making” in higher learning and in graphic design processes?
  • How does the practice of using crafts in the classroom enrich student experience and build classroom community?
  • Which craft materials are the “best” to use? (“Best” can mean: easier to use/ or less time consuming; students preference; appropriateness for the task)
  • Can crafts boost student creativity as a non-digital experiential learning tool?

Knowledge sharing:

  • Presentation to colleagues in SFU’s Publishing Program
  • Sharing of findings with the publication design sessional instructors
  • Possibly submit a proposal to the Sketching In Practice Symposium (depending on the 2020 theme)

Keywords: Crafts, classroom community, makerspaces, craft theory, craft thinking, graphic design