Festival of Learning and Teaching

The annual Festival of Learning and Teaching celebrates innovation in learning and teaching at the University of Adelaide and is the University of Adelaide’s premier event for learning and teaching.

‘teaching is, first and foremost, a human interaction’ Quinlan, 2016, p. 104

Each year the Festival theme reflects current and emerging strategic issues in learning and teaching. The Festival incorporates a mix of invited keynote speakers, panel discussions, and the sharing of innovative practice and scholarship in learning and teaching from staff of the University in the form of short and longer form presentations and collaborative workshops.

The theme for the Festival of Learning and Teaching 2022 was Relationships Rich Education. 

The Festival was held on campus at North Terrace, on Thursday 14 July 2022. 

Featuring Welcome to Country by Taylor Tipu Power-Smith, Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi (KWP) Team, 
Professor Jennie Shaw, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic) and
Professor Peter Høj AC, Vice-Chancellor and President 

Professor Kathleen M Quinlan, Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, the University of Kent, UK 
View Professor Quinlan's paper How Emotion Matters in Four Key Relationships in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
The Q & A session, facilitated by Professor Jennie Shaw, following Professor Quinlan's presentation titled Strengthening five key relationships in learning in higher education: what, why and how.

Relationships Rich Education: Fostering personal, professional, and academic growth.
Facilitated by University of Adelaide student, Katelyn Crawford
Featuring Professor Peter Høj AC, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide,
Professor Martin Westwell, Chief Executive, Department for Education,
Catherine Friday, EY Global Education Leader; EY Oceania Managing Partner, Government and Health Sciences

View Associate Professor Kelly Matthew's presentation "Nurturing and nourishing student voice through university learning communities".

View and download the 2022 program

  • Festival Theme - Relationships Rich Education

    The choice of this theme has been inspired by research into the student learning success which identified four guiding principles to inform a relationship rich approach to education: 

    1. All students must experience genuine welcome and deep care 
    2. Relationships are a powerful means to inspire all students to learn 
    3. All students must develop webs of significant relationships in college 
    4. All students need meaningful relationships to help – and to challenge them - to explore the big questions of their lives 

    (Felten & Lambert, 2020) 

    Embarking on an exploration of this theme and engaging in a dialogue about how we enact these ideas in practice is not something that can be completed in one event or even in one year. The vision is for this theme to continue to inform our learning and teaching centred interactions in the long term. 


    Students engaged in conversation

    Therefore, in 2022 the Festival of Learning and Teaching program will focus on four key relationships for students in higher education: 

    1. Relationship with subject 
    2. Relationships between students and teachers 
    3. Relationships with peers 
    4. Relationship with self 

    Quinlan, K. (2016). How Emotion Matters in Four Key Relationships in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, College Teaching, 64:3, 101-111, DOI: 10.1080/87567555.2015.1088818

    The Festival of Learning and Teaching 2022 program will provide opportunities to discuss and workshop how we create the learning environments and experiences which will build and sustain these relationships. How do different teaching approaches enable students to build connection with their discipline, with us, with their peers, and with their evolving sense of themselves? How do the choices we make as educators contribute to the sense of belonging and meaning needed for student success? 

    Felten, P., & Lambert, L. M. (2020). Relationship-rich education: How human connections drive success in college. JHU Press.

  • Keynote Speaker - Professor Kathleen M Quinlan, University of Kent

    Keynote presentation

    Strengthening five key relationships in learning in higher education: what, why and how

    Higher education research and practice tends to privilege thinking; only recently has there been greater attention to the role of emotions in learning.  I argue that attending to key relationships in higher education allows us to highlight the human dimensions of education and promote learning through productive emotions, particularly students’ interest. I outline and illustrate five key relationships I have explored through a series of studies and briefly suggest how educators might enhance each of these key relationships (Quinlan, 2011; Quinlan, 2016a; Quinlan, 2016b; Quinlan, 2019; Quinlan & Salmen, 2019; Thomas & Quinlan, 2021; Quinlan & Renninger, 2022).

    Kathleen M Quinlan

    Kathleen M. Quinlan, PhD PFHEA is Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Kent, UK. She has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, 10 book chapters, and two books, including How Higher Education Feels: Commentaries on Poems that Illuminate Emotion in Learning and Teaching (Sense, 2016). Her research is broadly in the areas of learning, teaching, assessment, and student engagement in higher education. She specialises in research on students’ holistic development, including the ways in which curriculum and instruction can support students’ interest.

    In the past 10 years, she has been principal investigator on grants from the Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes, NERUPI, the Royal Academy of Engineering HE STEM Programme, and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, as well as co-investigator on projects funded by Advance HE and the Higher Education Careers Services Unit.

  • Keynote Speaker - Associate Professor Kelly Matthews, University of Queensland

    Keynote presentation

    Nurturing and nourishing student voice through university learning communities

    Do you know that feeling – when someone is really listening to you? They are present in the conversation, curious but not judgemental. How often do you think students experience that feeling at university? And are some students more likely than others to have such experiences? We could ask the same questions of staff. In this keynote, I will put forward a view of student voice in higher education that, for some, will challenge assumptions, test beliefs, and push boundaries – and for others, will clarify commitments, affirm beliefs, and give permission to push boundaries further. In the service of learning, how university communities situate learning and learners – and teaching and teachers – underpins relationship-rich education. Our task will be zooming out to the aspirational ethos of student voice while zooming in to our everyday practices that nurture and nourish a culture and community of learning that recognises the strengths of difference.

    Kelly Matthews

    Kelly Matthews is an Associate Professor of Higher Education at the University of Queensland’s Institute of Teaching and Learning Innovation. She is an internationally recognised scholar with over 120 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and books. She engages in research that results in policy and practice impact in the areas of:

    • curriculum development;
    • student partnership in co-design and co-creation;
    • professional development of university educators; and
    • scholarship of teaching and learning.

    Kelly translates research to practice by creating communities of learners, teachers, leaders, and specialist staff who learn about and reflect together on new practices. She has organised and led international collaborative writing groups and change institutes; created the Students as Partners Network (now numbers 1000 students and staff); co-founded the International Journal for Students as Partners; and mentored countless scholars to write and publish about teaching and learning.

    Connect with Kelly on Twitter @kellymatthewsUQ, learn more about her research in this podcast conversation, and read her recent co-authored book, Writing about teaching and learning in higher education.

  • Panel discussion - Professor Peter Høj AC, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide, Professor Martin Westwell, Chief Executive, Department for Education and Catherine Friday, Managing Partner & Global Education Lead

    Relationships Rich Education: Fostering personal, professional, and academic growth. 


    Panel discussion facilitated by University of Adelaide student Katelyn Crawford, featuring Professor Peter Høj AC, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide, Professor Martin Westwell, Chief Executive, Department for Education and Catherine Friday, Managing Partner Oceania Government and Health Sciences & Global Education Lead, EY.



    Vice Chancellor

    Professor Peter Høj AC has more than 20 years' senior leadership experience in higher education and research and is the current Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Adelaide. Prior to that he was Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Queensland (2012 – 2020) and The University of South Australia (2007 – 2012).

    He was educated at the University of Copenhagen, majoring in biochemistry and chemistry, and has a Master of Science degree in biochemistry and genetics, and a PhD in photosynthesis.

    Professor Høj was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2019 for "eminent service to higher education and to science, particularly to the commercialisation of research, and to policy development and reform".

    Professor Høj is a Fellow of Academies in Australia, the USA and Denmark, and has been awarded honorary doctorates from institutions including the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, and University of Copenhagen.

    In addition to his academic leadership roles, Professor Høj is Trustee of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and a member of the IP Group Australia Steering Group. His previous Board roles include Wine Australia, the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board for the Medical Research Future Fund, Member of the Australian Human Rights Commission Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity, Group of Eight (including Chair in 2017), Universities Australia, CSIRO, Business SA and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. He has also served on the Australian Government’s University Foreign Interference Taskforce.

    Professor Høj commenced in February 2021 as the University of Adelaide's 24th Vice-Chancellor and President.


    Martin Westwell

    Professor Martin Westwell was appointed Chief Executive of the Department for Education in April 2022, following a successful 4 years as Chief Executive of the SACE Board.

    Martin has worked extensively with education systems and other organisations in using evidence to inform policy, practice, innovation and impact in education. 

    He was a Chief Investigator in the national Australian Research Council (ARC) Science of Learning Research Centre, and has worked with UNESCO using evidence to inform strategic planning of education in the Asia-Pacific region.

    In 2018, Martin received the prestigious Australian Council for Educational Leaders’ (ACEL) Gold Medal, awarded for the most outstanding contribution to the study and practice of educational administration and leadership.

    In 2007 Martin and his family moved to South Australia where he took the position of inaugural Director of the Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century and then Strategic Professor in the Science of Learning at Flinders University. 

    Martin completed his degree and PhD at Cambridge University and was a Research Fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford University in biological chemistry.


    Catherine Friday

    Catherine Friday is the EY Global Education Lead and, in that capacity, is responsible for creating a global strategy and connecting our global teams to deliver EY's education services around the world. We currently serve education clients in 80 different countries globally, predominantly Universities and government Departments/Ministries of Education and VET providers.  Her 25+ years’ experience covers broad aspects of university management and academic leadership including strategic planning, risk management, transformation of services, precinct planning, student services, and community/alumni engagement.  Catherine has also spearheaded several thought leadership pieces on the future of university education that have had significant impact in Australia, and around the world. 

  • Session 1A - Evidence Informed Strategies to Promote Belonging in Learning and Teaching 

    How can we promote student belonging in diverse teaching modes such as blended-intensive and micro-credentials?

    Over the past decade, engagement and belonging have emerged as critical challenges in higher education. The impact of COVID-19 on learning and teaching appears to have rewritten how university lecturers and students engage with higher education. One challenge is how connected students feel to being part of a course or program cohort for first year and new postgraduate students.

    Engagement and belonging can impact student recruitment, retention, and progression. With a greater emphasis on promoting a quality teaching and student experience in higher education, one often-overlooked strategy draws on evidence-informed learning and teaching strategies that promote student belonging.

    This workshop will review recent research on student belonging in higher education settings. It will then explore strategies that 1) promote learner-centred teacher practices, 2) encourage student voice, and 3) build learner autonomy.

    Session facilitated by Associate Professor Mathew White, School of Education

  • Session 1B - Developing relationships for learning through inclusive practice. 

    Relational pedagogy assumes that education and learning take place within the framework of relationship. The nature of a student’s relationship to academic staff can have significant impact on their academic participation and outcomes, and the place of care within those relationships is central. However, it can be difficult to establish relationships of care with students from minority, marginalised, or disadvantaged backgrounds due to a lack of understanding of the challenges these students face.

    This workshop will describe challenges faced by two such groups (LGBTQIA+ students and neurodivergent students), improve knowledge of what these challenges mean in the context of educational relationships, and explore how this knowledge and understanding can supporting the creation of inclusive, relational practices of care in teaching.

    Session facilitated by Associate Professor Claudia Szabo, School of Computer Science & ALLY Network Co-Convenor, & DITCoP Co-Conveners Dr Kim Barbour, School of Humanities & Dr Emma Muhlack, School of Public Health

  • Session 1C - Prepare, deliver and care: SETting students and educators on the path to success

    Embedding a pedagogy of care in teaching preparation, academic support, peer-to-peer and educator interactions helps to foster successful and supportive learning environments.  Furthermore, providing colleagues with the opportunity to support and inspire each other through faculty learning communities and cross disciplinary communities of practice further enhances the students’ learning experience.

    This workshop will present approaches taken in various courses from the Faculty of SET and challenge participants to think outside the box; How can we build better relationships at the University of Adelaide? Workshop participants will have the opportunity to discuss and workshop their approaches to fostering care and connection both in a variety of class sizes and demographics, both in the face to face and online environments.

    Session facilitated by Associate Professor Braden Phillips, Deputy Dean Learning and Teaching, Associate Professor Nickolas Falkner & Dr Hayley McGrice.

  • Session 2A - The ontological relationship to place

    This session explores the importance of place in learning and teaching from within an Aboriginal epistemology. Emotions and narratives attached to place can at times become invisible in the teaching and learning journey, yet from an Aboriginal teaching medium, place is central to how knowledge is acquired. 

    On Country learning is fundamental when considering how rich educational relationships and experiences will help enhance student learning. All places have narratives intertwined in the very being of that place, they are full of histories, living memory, moments and emotions that merge together.  When we immerse ourselves on Country a number of rich learning experiences are enabled.

    The following are some of the rich education experiences that can be fostered when On Country learning from within a Kaurna perspective is centralised:

    • On Country learning occurs through the process of walking Country, guided by elders
    • Understanding connections to space and place from a metaphysical, spiritual, holistic and historical perspective 
    • Understanding how memory and language is coded in the spaces and places that we visit, what they are and how those place names came into being
    • Understanding the emotions connected to places and sites. Theses emotions provide a narrative and that can be truly felt by walking and learning On Country – taking that journey that is guided by elders/cultural leaders/keepers.

    Exploring the relationship that place has to learning allows visitors, students and educators to become more knowledgeable as they learn by experiencing Country from a holistic perspective.

    Session facilitated by Professor Steve Larkin, Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Engagement

  • Session 2B - Creating a classroom community: the role of student leaders.

    This workshop will focus on approaches to identifying and instigating student-staff partnership opportunities and building confidence in staff.

    Members of the Student Leadership Programs Community of Practice will present student partnership case studies and attendees will use these as a basis for discussion of common factors at play in student-staff partnership.

    Student leaders will take part in a facilitated discussion of their experiences of student partnership activities, working with attendees to develop a list of best-practice tips and tricks.

    This session aims to guide attendees through a set of interactive discussion and planning activities. These activities are designed to:

    1. clarify understanding of students as partners approaches
    2. support the development of confidence in attendees’ ability to identify and instigate opportunities for student-staff partnership
    3. generate specific ideas within attendees’ own fields and contexts
    4. highlight useful learning, planning and support resources.  

    Session facilitated by Dr Chelsea Avard, co-facilitator of the Student Leadership Programs Community of Practice, and Convenor of the SVA Operational Group & Dr Beth Loveys, (SFHEA) School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

  • Session 2C - Emotions matter in learning and teaching.

    Two sessions will be provided within the one workshop

    Relational agency is activated in the cognitive, emotional and social connections between humans and their products, principally between educators and students, but also in all relationships of learning whether with other humans or not.

    Session facilitated by Dr Linda Westphalan, Senior Lecturer, School of Education

    Genuine consultation with first nations people in law reform teaching. Law reform is not just for lawyers and the importance of 'honest and respectful' consultation with Aboriginal communities and encouraging students to work with Aboriginal communities.

    Session facilitated by Associate Professor David Plater, Adelaide Law School


  • Session 3A - Learning relationship check-up

    Let’s have a bit of fun. In this workshop, we will engage in collective exploration of learning relationships. Specifically, we will talk through ways, strategies, and approaches of fostering learning relationships in higher education – a playful group session digging into our learning relationship beliefs and practices.

    Having a mix of teaching staff, students, administrators, and specialist educational staff will enrich our collective process. The fun will begin by naming our values connected to our roles. Imagining what we want learning relationships to look and feel like, we will start identifying red flags in our learning relationships, and the role of clarity and boundaries.

    Relationships (like learning) tend to be a complex, ongoing process with joys, difficulties, highs, and lows – so we will not shy away from the hard, sometimes disappointing aspects of learning relationships. Forming and sustaining a network of support is vital, and this informal yet informative session is an opportunity to imagine, connect, plan, reflect, and grow your networks.

    Session facilitated by Associate Professor Kelly Matthews, University of Queensland

  • Session 3B - Building student-centred relationships in HDR supervision and training.

    HDR supervision is essentially a matter of communication, relationship building and identity formation.  Emotions are crucial in this process.  This workshop will provide some practical strategies for managing expectations, building communication with diverse HDR students, preventing communication breakdowns, and providing useful feedback on student work.

    Learning Outcomes:

    • Awareness of importance of relationship building and communication
    • Enhanced ability to provide useful feedback and be aware of its implications
    • Broadening toolbox for interaction with HDR students

    Activities:  A combination of talks, discussion and interactive exercises. 

    Session facilitated by Associate Professor Tania Crotti and Dr Anna Szorenyi, HDR Supervision Community of Practice

  • Session 3C - Proposed Aboriginal Community Governance Model for the FHMS, and Learning about teaching: The importance of student / staff relationships for learning from the perspective of new academics

    Two sessions will be provided within the one workshop

    Proposed Aboriginal Community Governance Model for the FHMS

    Session facilitated by Dr Dylan Coleman, Yaitya Purruna, Indigenous Health Unit

    Learning about teaching: The importance of student / staff relationships for learning from the perspective of new academics

    Session facilitated by Dr Charles Marley, School of Allied Health Science and Practice

For further information regarding the Festival, please contact the Teaching Excellence team.


2021 Festival of Learning and Teaching

The 2021 festival was held over two half days Tuesday 28 September (on campus) and Wednesday 29 September (online).  The focus of the Festival was 'Blended Futures', providing an opportunity for us to celebrate and share new approaches to blended learning at Adelaide, and to explore future directions.

2020 Festival of Learning and Teaching

For the first time the Festival of Learning and Teaching was held fully online.  The Festival theme, Looking Back, Looking Forward’, offered a great mix of provocative keynotes from leading sector voices and stimulating presentations, workshops and panels delivered by University staff and students. 

2018 Festival of Learning and Teaching

Held on the 20th of July 2018, the theme for the eighth Festival of Learning and Teaching was 'What Works? Perspectives on Feedback and Assessment'.  The Keynote was presented by Professor Elizabeth Molloy, Melbourne Medical School, The University of Melbourne.