Curtin Hosts the First International Life Design Studio

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Kaya* (hi there) DYL Community,

In June, 2018, a team of three Curtin University staff attended the Stanford Life Design Studio for University Educators Intensive Studio. Curtin was one of the first International University teams to attend the Studio. Through this opportunity the team returned with the methodology and zest to rollout Life Design at Curtin – primarily looking at exploring the Life Design curriculum for student cohorts across a number of prototypes; however, it was the teams’ experiences at the Studio being the learners that allowed for their own professional development which motivated an exciting new opportunity at Curtin.  

Upon returning from Stanford, the “Unstoppable” Curtin team started discussing with Curtin’s People & Culture (Human Resources) Team the possibility of bringing the Life Design Studio training to Australia over the winter break; they identified that Life Design has far reaching opportunities for the whole Curtin community; not only does Life Design support our students navigate through their university and early career experiences but also that staff and other members of the wider Curtin Community could also benefit. Curtin started a regular dialogue with Gabrielle and Kathy of the Life Design Lab at Stanford, asking questions such as: What would Life Design look like for the whole Curtin Community – Students, Staff (Academic & Professional) and our Community Partners? Could we explore its tools & methodology across a range of international cohorts around the Indian Ocean, where Curtin operates?  How could we champion, train and scale the Life Design methodology to reach our whole Community? Would the Stanford Life Design team come to Australia…? Could Curtin host a Life Design Lab outside of Stanford…? The Stanford lab encouraged convening a large group from multiple universities (for participant breakdown, see below) and thus, the first international Life Design Studio was born.

From one continents West Coast to another’s, the Stanford Life Design Lab crew were going on their first global road trip, delivering the full Life Design Studio to 75 willing Curtin participants!      With campuses in Western Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, and Mauritius an incredibly diverse cohort of 75 Curtin people came together with five of the Stanford DYL Team in Perth, Western Australia to experience the Lab’s first global delivery.

The Curtin team considered a huge range of applications of Life Design which was reflected across the mixed cohort convened from students, staff (Academic Teaching & Research and Professional Services) and community partners, all of whom we hope will play a part in propagating future prototypes & programs in this part of the world. One of the key takeaway’s from many attendees was the significant value created by having such a varied group of participants all going through the Studio together – the participants were generational & ethnically diverse which created a rich collaborative experience.  

In collaboration with Stanford, we intend to prototype across broad audiences with some target cohorts including undergraduate and post-graduate students; early career women in STEM; professional and academic faculty transitioning to encore careers Post University; First Nations community groups; and, victims and perpetrators of domestic and family violence including those inside the prison system. We recognize some of these prototypes are an extension of the ‘norm’ and these early models will be assessed and reviewed closely through the Stanford-Curtin partnership. We will kaartdijin* together – the Noongar word for knowledge, learn.

Participant breakdown

12x Students

14x Staff from Curtin’s People and Culture Portfolio

13x Staff from Curtin’s Faculty of Business & Law – including lead researchers (Future of Work Institute), Head of School, Dean Learning & Teaching and Director of Students

12x Staff from Curtin’s Central Student Careers Development Portfolio – including Associate Directors of Careers & Leadership & Student Experience

4x Staff from Central Learning and Teaching Portfolio – including Enabling/ Foundational Education Manager and Director of Learning Partnerships

3x Staff from the Faculty of Science and Engineering

2x Staff from Faculty of Humanities (including Education & Design)

1x Staff from Faculty of Health Sciences

1x Staff from the Curtin Information Technology Services

1x Staff from the Curtin Office of Research

6x Staff from our Global Campus – Mauritius, Singapore, Dubai and Malaysia

6x Industry and Community Partners – including Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia