Panel j.07 — Spaces for education, Places of knowledge: the spatial architecture of the educational process, between agency and organizational constraints

Convenors Ester Cois (University of Cagliari, Italy); Valentina Cuzzocrea (University of Cagliari, Italy)

Keywords Educational Spaces; Places of knowledge; urban environment; agency; students


Despite the blurring of boundaries between formal and informal education, and the legitimation that learning processes may happen outside of institutional boundaries – at times even across countries, as in the case of mobility in higher education – a significant part of the experience of being a student is confined within well recognizable spaces: not only those intended to study activity such as the classroom, but also those devoted to students lives more in general, such as university accommodation, cantinas, libraries, etc. (OECD, 2010).

The ways of inhabiting these spaces reflect educational styles and approaches, but also the role that students of all levels attribute themselves through recursive interactions, and speak of the forms of agency that they are able to nurture in, sometime making these spaces as points of departure for claims and request about their right to inhabit the public sphere.

Starting from the micro-configuration of the bodies’ positioning in the classrooms, from high schools to the university, up to the urban planning strategies for defining “the place” of educational institutions in urban geography (O’Donnell et al., 2010), the ways of appropriating and domesticating educational spaces, especially by the students, trigger a continuous negotiation between the dimensions of material accessibility and those of social inclusion, also evoking a redefinition of the “right to the city” and its essential services in their public and collective dimensions.

Departing from a recent piece of work which focuses on the city of Cagliari (Cuzzocrea, Cois and Bertoni, 2023), this panel elicits further discussion on a variety of student spaces, through their interconnections with urban environment, local actors and institutions. We particularly welcome contributions focusing on agentic features which permeate those spaces, despite at times constraining frameworks for action.


Guidelines and abstracts submission