Dynamic Conversations: Is cocreation genuinely achievable? Lessons from Bristol Business School
Sara Bird, Director of Learning and Teaching, University of the West of England
Reflecting on conversations with Bristol Business School's current Student Curriculum Consultant interns, on cocreation within a class in my doctorate, and on past experiences of university-wide cocreation activities, I conclude that numerous barriers to genuine engagement exist. These include which voices are heard, student scepticism that their ideas will be acted upon (and concerns they may even prompt backlash from staff) and limitations on staff time to develop students' trust and skills to achieve this. Furthermore, students' pre-existing ideas of university and what higher education 'should' look like can limit innovative ideas generation and their desire to stick with what is safe and predictable may limit learning opportunities. However, institutions’ failure to involve students early in decision-making may miss the biggest opportunities of all. Cocreation cannot be an ‘added extra’, as it requires commitment and learning to overcome these barriers, therefore universities need to choose and support their projects wisely.