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Sarah Britten Jones

MPhil work

Designing the learning university

Transforming individual learning into organisational learning is a challenge for the university. With an abundance of intelligent, highly qualified employees, the university doesn’t always harness its own intelligence and apply its expertise in learning, to itself. Could this be because the characteristics that define the university (its structure, narratives, systems and people) prevent it from learning? Learning requires us to accept that we do not know, and as the place with the knowledge, the university is unable to do this and maintain its identity. This creates a problem for the future sustainability and effectiveness of the university. Traditional change management practices rely on a centralised approach, yet research suggests the most effective change management happens through polycentric rather than monocentric change processes. A move away from a patriarchal, hierarchal organisational structure, towards a more inclusive, emergent approach would recognise and utilise the value of the collective intelligence of the organisation. Service design methods can be used to collectively imagine, test and create a learning service for the university.


  • MPhil


    School of Design


    Design Research, 2017–

  • My practice is concerned with using design methods to facilitate institutional self awareness and continuous improvement. Previous work responded to site and material, using performance, appropriation and collaboration to creatively examine, reveal, and imagine alternative institutional structures.
  • Degrees

  • MFA Ceramic Art, New York State College of Ceramics, 2007; PGCE, University of Greenwich, 2012; BA (Hons) Ceramics with Glass, Buckinghamshire New University and Kutztown University PA, 2000
  • Experience

  • Lecturer in Design, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, 2017 - present; 3D Lecturer, Thames Valley University (University of West London) and Activate Learning, 2008 - 2017; Adjunct Lecturer, Instructor of Merit, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Alfred University, New York, 2005 - 2008; Project Manager, Wired Berkshire and Business Link Berkshire and Wiltshire, 2001 - 2005
  • Exhibitions

  • Triangulations, OHOS Gallery, Reading, 2019; Work in Progress (WIP), RCA, London, 2019; The Failure Institute, Activate Learning, Oxford, 2015-2017; Dog Show, The Radiant Gallery, Plymouth, 2016; Engage, South Hill Park, Bracknell, 2016; Places, The Cohen Gallery, New York, 2015; Seven Counties Open, OVADA, Oxford, 2015; Vernacular Habitation, Folkestone Triennial Fringe, 2014; New Grounds, REME Museum, Arborfield, 2014; Constellation, Whitley Arts Festival, Reading, 2013; Bomb and Shield, Performance Art Bergen, Norway, 2013; Boundaries and Beyond, [email protected], Bracknell, 2012; Insight, New Greenham Arts, Newbury, 2012; Figure Ground on LV21 Lightship, Gillingham, 2011; Open, Salisbury Arts Centre, 2010; Parcel Fever, Nuit Blanche, Reading, 2010; Journeys Between Hand and Eye, Thames Valley University, 2009; Observations, Reorsa, Bracknell, 2008; Reorsa Project 3, Wokingham, 2008; 13th Annual International Women's Exhibition, Soho20, New York, 2007; Southern Tier Biennial, Olean Public Library, New York, 2007; Three Months Work, Schien Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art, New York, 2007; What the Papers Say, Turner Gallery, New York, 2006; Alfred Mugs, Scholes Library, New York, 2006; Ceramic Art London, Henry Moore Gallery, RCA, London, 2005; Joy of Kitsch, Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Carmarthen, 2003; National Eisteddfod of Wales, North Wales, 2003
  • Awards

  • Full Tuition MFA Fellowship, Alfred University New York, 2005; International Study Scholarship, Buckinghamshire Chilterns University, 1999
  • Conferences

  • The artist in the boardroom, Performance Art Philosophy, Amsterdam, 2019; Redesign the university in an hour (conference workshop), BTLC, Oxford, 2019; Exploring the space between learner and institutional anxieties (with Louise Williams), BTLC, Oxford, 2018; Designing the learning university, Design Research Conference, RCA, London, December 2017, December 2018. And June 2019; Artist action research within decision-making spaces, Contemporary Art Research Unit (CARU) Oxford, December 2017; Useless, Artspeak, OHOS project space, Reading, 2012
  • Publications

  • New Grounds, exhibition catalogue, 2014; Norwegian Wood, artist book, 2013; 500 Ceramic Sculptures, Lark Books, 2009; Ceramic Review, A Potter's Day Sept/Oct 2005 edition; Slough Borough Council Slough inspired – 10 years of community arts training, Dec 2004; World of Interiors Magazine, Antennae, Nov 2003; Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Exhibition Catalogue The Joy of Kitsch Jul 2003