Live Projects are also referred to as “Design Build Projects”, “Live Build Projects”, “Real Projects” and “Service Learning”. They are often connected with participatory, collaborative, inter-disciplinary, professional training, and construction / technology education. They are also a pedagogic means to extend the institutional confines of the design studio. They are organised by educational institutions and also independent organisations (normally with links to educational institutions) such as charities and N.G.O’s.

Our definition of a “Live Project”

“A live project comprises the negotiation of a brief, timescale, budget and product between an educational organisation and an external collaborator for their mutual benefit. The project must be structured to ensure that students gain learning that is relevant to their educational development.”

We have tried to make this definition representative of the common factors between the wealth of live project practice we have observed in recent years and at the same time to be as inclusive as possible of the many variations in approach and diverse motivations for undertaking live projects.

If you have any comments on this working definition, we would be very interested to hear them.

Building on existing and emerging relationships with other institutional live project contexts, the Live Projects Network is an online resource to become a critical point of reference to connect students, educators, clients, practitioners and researchers involved in live projects. The aims are to promote the use of live projects in education, share best practice, encourage dialogue and also contribute to the establishment of a theoretical basis for the study of live projects.

This site identifies the various opportunities and constraints of a live project and categorises them as filters. These filters allow the user to search for case studies with similar available resources such as time, funds, skill, numbers of students. Case studies demonstrate different strategies employed to deal with the range of opportunities and constraints present in each project. Live project practitioners can use these categories to analyse their own project when planning it out with their client and students.

To use the site, simply click on the filters that correspond to your own area of interest and / or the opportunities / constraints of your project. For example:

“I only have ten students, what can be achieved?” Find the “Group size” filter and click on “0-10”. All projects that share this characteristic will be shown on the current page.


“I am a student, can I set up my own project?” Find the “Institution”  filter and click on “student”. All projects that share this characteristic will be shown on the current page.

If you would like to join the network, want to get involved in a live project or want to find out more about live projects, please contact us.

If you have been involved in, or have organised a live project, please submit your project as a case study.

Methodology · Bibliography

Jane Anderson & Colin Priest