OPENspace Research Seminar – Iain Scott

Sunny day with groups of people sitting in The Meadows park Edinburgh

Pedagogy, Projects & Policy: Perspectives on the Research-Led Studio

This talk reflects on some the different forms that researching through the design studio can take. From the short-intensive research engagement, which produces both discrete research products and heightens student learning trajectories in new and productive ways through the engagement with particular user groups. To the ‘partnering’ of a series of design studios with a large, funded and interdisciplinary research project over a significant period, with potential benefits for both. And finally to the approach where the studio is the principal vehicle of research and inquiry of its members, intersecting with societal issues which are often universal but play-out in different ways in different places. Reflections are offered on studio ‘intersections with policy’ across a range of scales and contexts from built-environment policy at a national level to the more particular concerns of third sector organisations. A range of methods of engagement with people will be critically presented in the pursuit of outcomes which foster effective learning and knowledge exchange beyond the four walls of the studio-space.

Iain Scott is a Senior Lecturer in ESALA and has been a design tutor at Edinburgh College of Art since 1996. He is interested in a compelling and fundamental relationship between his teaching and research to the extent that the boundaries between the two disciplines become indistinct. His design studios at ESALA are often interdisciplinary, engaging students of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in diagnosing problems and identifying design solutions which add to the knowledge canon in particular subject domains and geographical places. Students become ‘active researchers’ often working with interdisciplinary research teams and particular user groups, employing innovative research methods and co-design practices in the pursuit of original design solutions. Research typically revolves around the relationship between people and the built-environment and has in the past engaged children, older people and people with autism and cognitive impairment.

 Watch ‘Pedagogy, Projects & Policy’ directly on Media Hopper Create

Other recordings from the seminar series can also be found from

Our posts on other seminars from the series 2023-24 can be found here:

OPENspace Research Seminar – Prof. Simon Bell

OPENspace Research Seminar – Dr Anna Wilczyńska and Dr Oleksandr Karasov

OPENspace Research Seminar – Fiona Nevzati


Header: Screenshot from the poster for the seminar from