Leads: Giles Lane & Sarah Thelwall
Kingswood Leads: Loz Wilson & Jo Sheldon
Funding: Arts Council England, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Creative
The Kingswood School project developed a framework for working with students
to gather, represent, understand and share the different forms of knowledge
held in within the community & geographic area in which the school
is based. The project was designed to bridge between school subjects e.g.
mixing geography lessons where data is collected with maths lessons where
data is analysed. It sought to create a process whereby students described
to Proboscis as "not interested in learning" would be able to
gather and collect the basic information which they studied in class –
'owning' the process for themselves.
This experiment set out to create a model of creative engagement that
can continue to be employed by the students and staff beyond the project
itself through the continued use of tools and activities developed in
the course of the project. Students of Year 7 would take the process with
them throughout their school career, passing on these new processes themselves
to teachers as they progressed through the school system.
with the Year 7 teachers at Kingswood School Proboscis devised a process
and a toolkit for the 240 students to use throughout the academic year
and across eight subjects. The combination of bodystorming experiences
for staff members and a toolkit for staff to use with students was designed
to enable Proboscis to create interventions for and with staff and students
that would develop new teaching and learning methods for the school.
support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation a social research programme
was designed by Zoe Sujon of the London School of Economics Media &
Communications dept to evaluate the uses of these research methods and
areas of experimentation in this educational environment.
Proboscis was keen to explore the question of the kinds of knowledge that
students would be interested in in their local community and how this
connects to the ways they inhabit their local spaces. We felt that to
explore this in depth a highly structured project would be needed and
a school setting would be an excellent way of achieving this structure
and regular development of the work.
School were interested in the methodologies that Proboscis suggested as
they were complementary to the teaching methods employed with Year 7 students
(an extension of the primary school structure where all subjects are taught
by a single class teacher) and fitted well with the physical environment
for these students (a section of the school separate from the rest of
the students& classrooms). Through the intermediary of the local Creative
Partnerships office in Hull, Proboscis was invited to develop a project
in partnership with the school.
social research was designed to complement the work that she undertook
on Urban Tapestries and provide excellent comparison for the uses of these
approaches with students.
- to devise
a series of creative interventions into the school's curriculum that
provide the students and teachers with a framework for gathering, representing,
understanding and sharing different forms of knowledge that are located
within the community. Proboscis collaborated with the Kingswood School
staff to devise a series of activities and student projects that will
enable students to capture, appreciate, play with and share knowledge
about their local environment and community.
- to encourage
the students to map their environment and community in ways which privilege
their own understandings of community and place and to pursue their
own lines of research.
- to work
with students and the staff to find appropriate uses of new technologies
to capture, organise and share these maps of knowledge, and through
the process of sharing these maps give the students new perspectives
on the value of learning and what constitutes 'knowledge'.
- to demonstrate
how these practices can have a positive impact on the way students capture
what they know or discover about their own environment and use that
knowledge to make the teaching of subjects in the school curriculum
directly relevant to their everyday experience, not just abstract tasks
they are required to do by custom and law.
the project outcomes and methodologies through an ethnography-based
Proboscis created a set of tools and activities designed to be incorporated
into the curriculum of the Year 7 students including:
maps with a radius of 2km centred on the school at 1:1500 scale (courtesy
of the Ordnance Survey), printed as a 5 foot square table top map to
be kept in the communal area between the eight year 7 classrooms, and
as a 10 foot square floor map for group/class bodystorming activities.
The smaller map was intended to be added to by the students throughout
the year, gradually becoming encrusted with object as students gathered
material through the year.
notebooks and personal maps for individual students to collect and annotate
the local area. The field notebooks were designed so that the format
was the same for each but the tasks varied according to the subject
(e.g. English, Geography, Maths, History etc) and used Proboscis' DIFFUSION
eBook format. In this way pupils could make annotations in class, in
the field or at home and later transfer the data to either the large
map or to a digital version held on Urban Tapestries.
- A special
web interface to Urban Tapestries specifically designed for the Kingswood
students. Over time the system would help reveal the patterns and associations
built up by the layers of knowledge, experiences and information contributed
by the students.
of each class' work for each subject would be made collaboratively by
students in each class and printed as an A1 poster. The posters were
to be used by the school to distribute within the local community as
part of its outreach activities.
The toolkit and working methods were completed by Proboscis in
August 2004 (with additional improvements continuing through the Autumn)
however the project with Kingswood School was delayed, changed and finally
abandoned in January 2005 due to changes of priorities by Kingswood School
and Creative Partnerships Hull. Proboscis was unable to implement the
project as agreed by the partners in July 2004 with the result that very
few of the goals were achieved and there were no lasting outcomes for
Kingswood School or Creative Partnerships Hull.
remains keen to utilise the framework and toolkit in an educational environment
and therefore completed the design of these elements. Proboscis is currently
discussing opportunities with a primary school in North East London for
adapting the project to suit a primary school setting.
Proboscis is still evaluating the project. Summary to follow.