PROJECTS

Menu

The School Looks Around

The School Looks Around

The School Looks Around is a programme for young people about surveying, citizenship and neighbourhoods that forms part of Publica’s ongoing Research Programme. The project takes inspiration from a book written by Elizabeth Layton and Justin Blanco White in 1948 and published by the Association for Education in Active Citizenship (whose board included Prime Minister Clement Attlee and Anthony Eden). It promoted the concept of a local survey by school pupils as an adventurous process, a ‘voyage of discovery into the life, history and organisation of the locality’. Our new projects build on the premise of the local survey as an open-ended tool for understanding and analysing neighbourhoods.

In 2005 a research project and feasibility study was initiated by General Public Agency (of which Lucy Musgrave was co-Director). Sixteen case studies of recent education initiatives were identified and evaluated and a series of workshops run by artist Lottie Child. Through this process, a model for creative local surveys called ‘Contemporary Urban Character Assessments’ was established.

Between 2009 and 2011 a pilot schools project took place in east London and Devon. Artists Amy Feneck and Olivia Plender worked with the Whitechapel Gallery and undertook residencies in secondary schools in Hackney and Tower Hamlets. Joe Stevens and Moose Alain worked with Devon arts organisation Daisi and secondary schools in Ottery St Mary and Ashburton. The artists each produced unique projects, and the young people created films, exhibitions, maps, soundscapes and books with residency artists and visiting experts. The programme established new partnerships between schools, cultural institutions and library services: in Devon students produced materialsSupported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund South West, Whitechapel Gallery and Devon Libraries and Archive ServiceDevon, London Borough of Hackney, London Borough of Tower Hamlets to be deposited in the Devon county archives; in London an exhibition and screening was presented at Whitechapel Gallery at the end of the residency.

A report produced by Publica for the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in 2010 addressed the challenges and opportunities presented by the pilot projects, from cross-curriculum working to the restrictive issues relating to current health and safety legislation.

  • Title: The School Looks Around
  • Location: Devon, London Borough of Hackney, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • Year: 2010
  • Client: Supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund South West, Whitechapel Gallery and Devon Libraries and Archive Service