I recently combined my work on creative methods, and my experience as a PhD supervisor, into a one-day hands-on LEGO workshop for PhD students at the University of Bristol. This went really well (see comments below) and I would be happy to do it elsewhere (contact me).
[Note that as this involves lots of LEGO, we are limited to southern England really].
About the workshop
This is a workshop to help you reflect on your research, communicate your ideas, and to collaborate or inspire across disciplines.
We will use LEGO Serious Play, a creative process in which participants learn to build representations of their ideas or experiences in LEGO. It is an enjoyable way for people to share their ideas, collaborate, and reflect on their experiences or working practices.
No technical or building skills are needed. LEGO Serious Play has been used with numerous companies and organisations, as well as a tool for social research.
The workshop is available to research students from any area, whether arts, science, medicine, engineering, humanities or social science.
The workshop is led by Professor David Gauntlett of the University of Westminster, whose books include Creative Explorations (2007) and Making is Connecting (2011). For almost a decade he has worked with LEGO on innovation in creativity and learning. He has supervised 12 PhD students to successful and timely completion as first supervisor, and several more as second supervisor.
Every participant rated the workshop as “excellent” or “very good”. Here are some comments from the feedback sheets:
[What did you enjoy or find most useful?] Reflecting on my experience in a different way. Meeting other students, feeling part of the community. Having a chance to talk about my journey.
[How do you anticipate using what you learned today in your work?] I am able to reflect on my approach to my work more after today, and feel that other people have similar experiences – I feel less alone. It has also started me thinking about what comes next, and how to take my research into work / real life when I’ve finished.
Thank you – I’m really pleased to have been able to come, and just coming together with other students helps me feel less isolated.
[What did you enjoy or find most useful?] Thinking about the PhD as more than just research – as a journey, different audiences, etc – and communicating that.
[How do you anticipate using what you learned today in your work?] Grant proposals – this helps with formulating a clear explanation and purpose.Really enjoyed this.
[How do you anticipate using what you learned today in your work?] Thinking about different ways to explain my research.
Great workshop! I think it is a great way to meet other students and find you are on a similar journey.
Here are some tweets from the workshop:
Creating an interpretation of ‘the supervisor from hell’ @bristoldc Lego Serious Play workshop pic.twitter.com/oPD294MLGl — UoB Doctoral College (@bristoldc) June 17, 2014
Representing my PhD at the Lego Serious Play workshop.. #phdlife @bristoldc @BristolUni pic.twitter.com/mvLNgwtEqf — Becky Brooks (@Becky_Brooks6) June 17, 2014
Thanks to the @bristoldc for organising the Lego Serious Play workshop for @uobpostgrad today, very insightful while being fun! — Becky Brooks (@Becky_Brooks6) June 17, 2014
The PhD process built and explained in popular Lego format, in our workshop at @BristolUni with @bristoldc: pic.twitter.com/cIWROL9lXB — David Gauntlett (@davidgauntlett) June 17, 2014
Great day at Lego Serious Play wkshop Collaborations ‘built’ & research ‘blocks’ broken down. Check out future events http://t.co/tTEUCDZiV4
— UoB Doctoral College (@bristoldc) June 17, 2014