The Black Thread Project: building student communities


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The Design Society

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Teamwork involves different types of interactions and is necessary in education as well as a number of professions. The Black Thread is a co-design embroidery research project in design education for Specia lised Teacher Training in Design, Arts and Crafts at the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Department of Art, Design and Drama programme. Over a three -year span, the project dedicated nine student groups, each with approximately 15 members. Each year, t he teacher asked the students to investigate a new area of combinations of materials in embroidery. The instructions ranged from vague in the first year to clearer recommendations in the two last years. Differences in teamwork were obs erved; in the first year, the students’ cooperated, but their spontaneous embroideries were rougher and their composition w as disjointed, whereas in the two last years, t he students collaborated in the planning of their work and used material and compositi on rules. Both approaches to the professional development work required a variety of learning skills and experience with materials. Dialogue was important in advancing the project during the different stages. The observed difference between cooperation and collaboration underlines the role of the teacher in influencing the dynamics of a group. Co -design embroidery projects such as the Black Thread develop the participants’ patience, manual skills, creativity and abilities. These (personal) qualities are imp ortant for design education and represent cornerstones of almost every community. The students learned how to successfully manage and complete a project. Hopefully, they can transform the competence they gained and apply it to teaching pupils of all ages.




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