Starting In Place: a preliminary investigation of first year curriculum design in response to critical regionalism Conference Paper uri icon


  • Negotiating between the demands of This Place, in the form of engaging and enriching learning experiences, and That Place, in the form of experiencing learning in a regional location, draws attention to issues of grounding and belonging in the transition to university. Situating students' experience in place has been a key driver of the first year curriculum in the core theory units within the Bachelor of Contemporary Arts. This study takes a reflective and qualitative approach to curriculum design, by exploring the concept of critical regionality (Mules, 2005) as framework for evaluating the strategies that place regional location at the heart of the first year experience. Critical regionality asserts that regional location, rather than always being at the periphery of a centre elsewhere, forms a powerful grounding for making a future. This emphasis on making taps into increasing interest in the conjunction of regionality and the creative industries. In the first year theory units, learning activities and assessment tasks embed students in the local community through connections to sites, institutions, events and people, and require students to explicitly reflect on their negotiation of the flows between local and global in their developing creative practices. By reviewing the development of these units over the past three years, I will assess how use of the framework of critical regionalism enables students to effectively manage the transition into university study, to relate to challenging material and to identify pathways for career and professional development. I will also question the extent to which the centrality of place is necessarily regional by discussing possible improvements in the program, and its applicability outside this local context.

publication date

  • 2014

published in

  • Proceedings of the Teaching Matters 2014 Conference


  • Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching, University of Tasmania

presented at

  • Places & Spaces, Newnham Campus, University of Tasmania