A group of four universities, lead by UNSW, are working on a ground-breaking research project which will investigate current models of studio teaching in architecture, art and design in Australia.

The institutions involved are the University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, RMIT University and University of Tasmania.

Running between 2007 and 2009, the Studio Teaching Project (STP) aims to develop discipline specific benchmarks for studio classes.

Surveys and case studies will be used to define the fundamental characteristics of studio-based learning, and to identify the most innovative examples that enhance both student and staff experience, and optimise learning outcomes.

Instigated by Associate Deans Professor Robert Zehner from the UNSW Faculty of the Built Environment and Graham Forsyth from UNSW's College of Fine Arts, the project is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Queensland, the RMIT University and the University of Tasmania.

Speaking of the project Associate Professor Bob Zehner said: "Student learning in studio settings differs by discipline area, reflecting both differences in resources and spaces as well as in the way material is taught. This project aims to identify best practices to provide a reference for teachers and leaders across a range of disciplines where studios are an important part of the student experience."

Graham Forsyth agrees. "The practical aspects of architecture, art and design are absolutely fundamental to the student's learning experience. We aim to ensure that all studios provide students with the most positive outcomes possible," he said.

The project is funded by the Carrick Institute under the Discipline Based Initiatives program.

For more information on the project, or to take part in the surveys on studio teaching, please contact Ruth McDermott, STP project manager.

Media Contact: Ruth McDermott, STP project manager, 9385 1616, r.mcdermott@unsw.edu.au or Victoria Brown, UNSW Media Office, 9385 3263 or 0412 980 044.