Pamela Woolner, ed., "School Design Together" (Routledge, 2014)


Pamela Woolner, senior lecturer in education at Newcastle University, joins us in this episode to discuss her edited volume, School Design Together (Routledge, 2014). Pam is an expert in understanding and developing learning environments, particularly the use of participatory research methods to engage and empower users to share their experiences and knowledge. My conversation with Pam begins with her background in psychology and how her early research studying the use of visuals in math then led her to her research on school environments. In the interview, Pam reflects on the genesis of the book: a 2011 conference to bring together a diverse collective of architects, designers, educators, and researchers at the conclusion of the UK’s Building Schools for the Future programme. For those unfamiliar with learning environments research, a common question is, “Which comes first, the innovative space or innovative teaching?” To answer this question, Pam discusses the complexity of school change, and describes using a cyclical approach that engages a range of participants, at different levels of participation, and at different times in the process. Throughout our conversation, Pam shares her insight about the ways the physical environment is linked to change in schools.
Julie Kallio is a graduate student in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her research interests include educational change, innovation and improvement networks, physical spaces of schools, and participatory design. You can find more about her work on her website, follow her on twitter, or email her at

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