What is a Workshop?

A workshop is a method of teaching which is a mix between studio practice and a lecture. Workshops typically take place with a small group of students (usually between 5 and 30). Workshops are designed to enhance the students’ practical skills, and to teach them about the theory and context behind such practice.

Students are taught by demonstration and then are expected to copy what they have been shown. Once the students have completed the first section, the workshop continues in a similar manner with the lecturer demonstrating the next step. By this method of teaching students can learn how to achieve complex processes gradually and in small, easy to follow, stages.

For example a workshop might focus on a software presentation, in which the students will be shown how to achieve a particular task by utilising the tools available in the software. They will then be expected to demonstrate their understanding by repeating what they have just seen demonstrated. In this type of workshop, the lecturer will present from a computer connected to a projector at the front of the class, and students will have a computer in front of them through which to practice.

By contrast in a sculpture workshop the lecturer would demonstrate a particular technique, and explain the uses/outcomes of such a method, and the students would then replicate processes learned in the demonstration.

Demonstrations will almost always include a contextual or theoretical element to explain why the practical element should be undertaken using the method being demonstrated, and possibly explain why other methods (should they exist) should not be utilised. As in lectures, students are expected to take notes.

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