Practicing Life Worlds: Theory and Reality in Teaching Design Anthropology Through Entrepreneur Collaboration
In the contemporary neoliberal university, practice-based learning is increasingly necessary as a means to foster dynamic thinking and bolster student employability. However, for students who feel like customers, this type of ‘messy’ practical experience is difficult to reconcile with their expectations and anxieties about the future. Students who embrace the ‘customer’ education approach expect their learning to be packaged in a manner that practice-based programs are ill-equipped to provide. Based on our qualitative observations teaching a collaborative design anthropology subject at the University of Melbourne, we unpack the various ironies and disconnections between theory and practice around practice-based learning. While experimental, practice-based courses such as ours entail multiple challenges, they are nevertheless worthwhile and necessary, not only for the continued evolution of anthropology but also for our students.
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