Setting up a ‘Special Relationship’: Students as Co-Creators of a Research-based Curriculum

Raphael Hallett, Charlotte Tomlinson, Tim Procter


The idea of student/staff partnership has become ubiquitous in the way universities market their institutional ethos and enshrines an idealised 'dialogic structure' within curriculum design. Which universitities are actually putting this into practice and allowing their students a significant role in the machinations of curriculum design and enhancement?

This case study investigates the emerging co-operation between the University of Leeds Library, a team of Special Collections interns and the academic and student communities they reach out to. It suggests, in microcosm, a model for the co-creation of the curriculum which positions the student as co-creator, certainly, but also as mediator, tutor, mentor and communicator.

The project case study adds insight into the fascinating hybrid identity that students can occupy within the contested territory of university-wide curriculum design, and explores the complex status and authority of students and tutors as they explore fresh relationships of opportunity and expertise.


Co-Creation; Partnership; Mediation; Staff-Student; Archives; Research-based learning; History;

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