Co-researching co-creation of the curriculum: Reflections on arts-based methods in education and connections to healthcare co-production

  • Tanya Michelle Lubicz-Nawrocka University of Edinburgh
  • Hermina Simoni School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Keywords: collaborative research, arts-based research, co-creation, higher education, health care


Learning through experience is an important, creative, and fulfilling way to apply theory to practice. In this essay, we explore our experiences of co-researching how students and staff conceptualise co-creation of the curriculum. We each have multi-faceted roles in higher education as we study, work, and contribute to formal student representation processes. At the time of this project, I (Tanya) was working at the Edinburgh University Students’ Association, supporting student representation, and I (Hermina) was a first-year student representative from the School of Health in Social Science. It was through a University of Edinburgh Innovative Initiative Grant project related to Tanya’s PhD research (focusing on co-creation of the curriculum) that we began to work together closely. We are both passionate about becoming involved in collaborative initiatives that improve the student experience and the wider university community. We were interested in exploring how our individual experiences as co-researchers could bridge boundaries between the traditional roles of postgraduate and undergraduate students, staff and students, and researchers and participants. Our aim was to blur the lines between these roles by working collaboratively with students-as-partners, facilitating open dialogue about best practices in learning and teaching, and redistributing power to create new synergies. Below, we focus on these topics and the little-explored connections between our academic disciplines in which co-creation of higher education curricula and co-production of health care are each beginning to play important roles. We reflect on our experiences of engaging in collaborative research using deliberative-democratic and arts-based methods, and we aim to provide an informative account of our experiences while drawing new connections.

Author Biography

Tanya Michelle Lubicz-Nawrocka, University of Edinburgh
Tanya Lubicz-Nawrocka is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh. Her doctoral research focuses on student empowerment through student/staff partnerships in co-creating the curriculum, and analysing the impact of these partnerships on individuals and their communities.


Aitken, J., & Shackleton, D. (2014). Co-creation and co-design: Applied research methods in healthcare service design. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Bovill, C., Cook-Sather, A., Felten, P., Millard, L., & Moore-Cherry, N. (2016). Addressing potential challenges in co-creating learning and teaching: Overcoming resistance, navigating institutional norms and ensuring inclusivity in student–staff partnerships. Higher Education, 71(2), 195-208.

Cook-Sather, A., Bovill, C., & Felten, P. (2014). Engaging students as partners in learning and teaching: A guide for faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Eisner, E. W. (1997). The promise and perils of alternative forms of data representation. Educational Researcher, 26(6), 4-10.

House, E. (2012). Democratizing qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lubicz-Nawrocka, T. (2017). Co-creation of the curriculum: Challenging the status quo to embed partnership. The Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change, 3 (2).

Lubicz-Nawrocka, T. (2018). Students as partners in learning and teaching: The benefits of co- creation of the curriculum. International Journal for Students as Partners, 2(1).

Mercer-Mapstone, L., Dvorakova, S. L., Matthews, K. E., Abbot, S., Cheng, B., Felten, P., Knorr, K., Marquis, E., Shammas, R., & Swaim, K. (2017). A systematic literature review of students as partners in higher education. International Journal for Students as Partners, 1(1).

Morgan, M. (2008). The doctor-patient relationship. In G. Scambler (Ed.), Sociology as Applied to Medicine (6th ed.). Edinburgh, UK: Elsevier.

Realpe, A. X., Wallace, L. M., Adams, A. E., & Kidd, J. M. (2015). The development of a prototype measure of the co-production of health in routine consultations for people with long-term conditions. Patient Education and Counseling, 98(12), 1608-1616.

How to Cite
Lubicz-Nawrocka, T., & Simoni, H. (2018). Co-researching co-creation of the curriculum: Reflections on arts-based methods in education and connections to healthcare co-production. International Journal for Students As Partners, 2(2), 157-165.
Reflective Essays