Reflections around artefacts: Using a deliberative approach to teaching reflective practices in fashion studies

Michael Ryan, Dean Brough


While requiring students to think reflectively is a desirable teaching goal, it is often fraught with complexity and sometimes poorly implemented in higher education. In this paper we describe an approach to academic reflective practices that well fitted a design subject in fashion education and was perceived as effective in enhancing student learning outcomes. In many design-based disciplines it is essential to evaluate, through a reflective lens, the quality of tangible design outcomes - referred here as artefacts. Fashion studio based practice (unlike many other theory based disciplines) requires an artefact to be viewed, in order to initiate the reflective process. This reflection is not solely limited to reflective writing - the reflection happens through sight, touch and other non-traditional approaches. Fashion students were asked to reflect before, during and after the development of an artefact. Through a variety of media, a review of the first garment prototype, called Sample Review, occurred. The reflective practices of students during Sample Review provided a valuable insight into their own learning, as well as providing a valid assessment indicator for the lecturer. It also mirrored industry practices for design evaluation. We believe that this deliberative approach, characterised by artefact-prompted reflection, has wide applicability across undergraduate courses in a variety of discipline areas.


learning design; fashion studies; pedagogical patterns

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