There’s been a long history of talking about and claiming the third space in the learning design/academic development neck of the higher education woods, and some in other spheres too, but in my observations to date it’s mostly been confined to separate role-based professional communities in the sector (eg the TELedvisors Ascilite SIG, and we have our own internal learning design community of practice named after the third space). At least at UNE, there hasn’t been an intentional effort to slice the pie the other way and bring all third space staff across directorates and faculties and roles together. There also hasn’t been an intentional effort to define the third space as a powerful group with change agency, and co-create ways to work towards change. And this is something I’m keen to change.
Tomorrow marks the first significant milestone towards this; the (first?) UNE Third Space Summit. This is an idea I had last year that has evolved over many cups of coffee with a lot of people – a one-day internal conference event that brings a wide range of third space people across the university together to establish community and begin working towards change. The summit concept is something I borrowed from Whitney & Trosten-Bloom’s work on Appreciative Inquiry – we will be following the first 3 Ds of their 4D inquiry and design cycle.
Although it’s an internal event, anyone in the third space across the sector is welcome to watch and tweet along – we will be using #unetss for the day. And if you’re interested you can take a look at our conference guidebook to see the kinds of things we will be doing: bit.ly/tssguidebooks (you can also follow the links to the padlets from those).