Designing Third Spaces


Patrice Ludwig & Seán McCarthy

Third Spaces Conversation Series | April 18, 2023

On April 18, 2023, JMU X-Labs Interim Director Patrice Ludwig and Associate Director of Engaged Learning Experiences Seán McCarthy joined the Red House for a day of conversation and collaboration with students, faculty, and staff. As part of the day's programming, Red House staff members Wesson Radomsky and Noah Martin conducted a video interview with Patrice and Seán. Highlights from that interview are featured in the video below.

Meet Our Conversation Partners

JMU X-Labs is an innovation space and ecosystem at James Madison University that hosts interdisciplinary courses and is a hub for innovative, transdisciplinary collaboration.

Dr. Ludwig's research is in the areas of oyster reef restoration, population ecology, and biology and innovation education. Applications of her research include the design of oyster habitats, restoring effective dung beetle communities, and re-designing bear collars to collect “fit-bit” like data. She is developing skills in social network analysis and qualitative data analysis to complement her formal training in Fisherian and Bayesian statistics.

Originally trained in digital writing studies and community engagement, Seán currently writes about and consults on how to best design interdisciplinary, team-based, and applied learning experiences in local and international contexts. He regularly teaches such courses, as well as offerings in digital storytelling and design. Seán is director of The Cohen Center for the Humanities, and is co-director of the award-winning Celebrating Simms project and Mapping the Black Public and Digital Humanities.

University as a Design Problem Class Session

During their visit, Seán and Patrice joined a class meeting of The University as a Design Problem (UDP), taught by Jan Menafee, Dr. Randy Bass, and Noah Martin. The group worked together to explore a range of questions around third spaces. Some of these explorations are captured below. Click on the images to enlarge and examine the sticky notes.

Question: What would an education system look like where Third Spaces are the primary form of learning engagement?

Question: What do Third Spaces look like as a form of disruption?

This event was part of the Third Spaces Conversation Series, sponsored by the Red House and the Baker Trust for Transformative Learning in order to stimulate interest in creating more “third space” opportunities for learning and knowledge-creation. For additional interviews from our conversation series, please visit our Third Spaces page. To keep up with our work on Third Spaces, please sign up for email updates below.

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