Whose Space Is It, Really? Design Considerations for Writing Center Spaces from Praxis: A Writing Center Journal Vol.19 No.2
While space was once a central topic in Writing Center Studies, conversations around physical space have quieted somewhat in recent years, particularly after Jackie Grutsch McKinney’s critique of the idea of writing centers as “cozy homes” in Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers. But as empirical work in allied fields such as Writing Studio Studies and Library Studies has shown, physical spaces do affect both student learning and instructor pedagogy. This article discusses findings from a study focused on a writing center renovation that sought to create an “invitational,” “zoned” space (Purkey, Inman). This IRB-approved mixed-methods study employed surveys and interviews conducted before and after renovations to examine what difference space changes made to how students and consultants felt about and worked in the space. Results suggest space matters differently to different stakeholders, and writing center professionals should continue to question received knowledge about “ideal” space. Based on these findings, I offer data-supported guiding principles for writing center leaders looking to create, renovate, or make the most of current writing center spaces.