Derby opens first ever outdoor learning space

New outdoor facility provides alternative study environment for Derby students

Derby’s first ever outdoor learning space was recently opened in a special celebration that took place at the University of Derby’s Kedleston Road library.

Staff and students at the University gathered as Dr Ruth Ayres, Dean of Learning Enhancement, cut a ribbon to officially open the natural, outdoor learning space which had been designed to provide an alternative study environment for students. 

A panorama of the new space

Dr Ayres, who leads the University’s Future Learning Spaces Group, and has a background in Botany, said: “The space is split into two distinct areas – one with purple and silver plants to evoke a sense of calm reflection and provide an area for quiet study; and the other with vibrant red and orange plants to spark creativity and lively group discussion.  

“The balconies offer a completely different learning space for students and an escape from the stress of studying and exams. We’re very proud to be the first to offer something like this in the local community.”  

An environmentally-friendly design was adopted, with enclosed timber benches and living walls which are self-watering and easily maintained. 

Funding for the project was provided through the University’s Learning Spaces Innovation Fund.

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