Seeing through the eyes of the other

Brian Robert Sinclair (Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Publication date: 4 February 2019



The purpose of this paper is to explore three diverse case studies in higher education that provide learners with innovative, disruptive and potent ways of seeing, thinking and acting. It considers pedagogical structure and phenomenological dimensions over an array of study abroad and immersive learning conditions. This paper illustrates rich and impactful ways that learning can unfold, including the unintended consequences of education that opens eyes, changes perspectives and builds empathy.


This paper deploys a case study method whereby three unique programs for studio education are critically considered/analyzed. The research connects cases and delineates approaches in environmental design, whereby greater understanding and deeper knowledge can be attained.


This paper, through study of cases of immersive learning, reveals effective ways in which studio teaching can serve to heighten sensitivity, construct rich self/world views and render visible more profound knowledge. Such knowledge transcends disciplinary boundaries and professional borders – encompassing a fuller spectrum of awareness that includes the social, the cultural and the spiritual.

Research limitations/implications

This paper investigates studio-based graduate education in Environmental Design, with a particular focus on Architecture/Planning. As such, there are limitations to the applicability of discoveries and revelations. That said, the general model for teaching and learning may have value across disciplines well beyond those examined in the current research.

Practical implications

In an increasingly complex world, where cultures and values routinely collide, the research presents pedagogical approaches that promise to erode walls, dissolve barriers and counter fragmentation. The case studies illustrate effective ways to heighten learning beyond the ethos of traditional classes and conventional classrooms.


This paper proffers bold creative models for teaching that defy everyday strategies. It encourages moving students to places/spaces, both concrete and abstract, that challenge their assumptions, test their capabilities and permit exceptional personal/professional growth.



Sinclair, B. (2019), "Seeing through the eyes of the other", Kybernetes, Vol. 48 No. 2, pp. 318-332.

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