Space for Learning

Creating inspirational learning spaces

This website is for all those responsible for planning, managing, resourcing, programming and developing learning spaces within museums, galleries and built and natural heritage sites. It is also for the architects and designers who are commissioned to create or improve such spaces. And for the range of public and independent funders who wish to assess the efficacy of their grants to fund learning spaces.

Planning your space – The first step in planning a new learning space – or refreshing an old one – is a consultation process.
Develop your brief – Advice to help you plan every aspect of your space from storage, lighting and acoustics to toilets and lunchrooms.
Checklist – a comprehensive list of questions you can use to shape the planning for your learning space.
Research and evidence – Information about the impact of environment, including sound, light and ventilation, on learning.
Covid guidance – designed to help learning services and freelancers understand how to work safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Learning Spaces – values and principles

You can learn a lot about an organisation from its learning space. For a start, does it have one? Is it in the basement hidden from view, or proudly visible and prominent on the ground floor or above? Is it large or small – can it accommodate a class of 30 pupils and their teachers or will it only take a small group? Is it fit-for-purpose? Does it serve departments other than learning? Who programmes it, and how is it resourced and maintained?

Answering these questions can reveal much about the values and leadership – of an organisation, about whether it places learning at the heart of its mission, and about how it positions itself within its community.

There are many factors that come into play when planning learning spaces. One is size: small organisations may have space limitations. Another is age: if a building is listed then it may be impossible to create the ideal space, whereas new-build spaces can be planned more flexibly to meet the needs of their audiences. However, there are certain principles which can apply whatever the size, age, and constraints of a particular building, and whatever your available budget for developing or improving your space.

Feature image credit: Simon Menges