International Journal of Art & Design Education

School Students’ Responses to Architecture: a practical studio project

Volume 20.2   2001



This paper focuses on a built environment project with a mixed ability group of learners from year seven attending Deacon’s School in Peterborough, England. The School caters for students aged between eleven and eighteen, from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds (including a substantial minority from the Indian Sub-Continent); it is an active participant within the University of Cambridge Post Graduate Certificate in Education partnership and is a ‘beacon school’. In practical studio terms, the project was concerned with school students making ‘pop-up cards’ based on first hand observation of local architecture under the guidance of the Head of Art. [1] The focus for students’ learning was on their critical responses to their built environment, in and around the City of Peterborough. In particular, students were encouraged to make full use of their sketchbooks and to engage in active oral work. The approach taken builds upon that advocated by Wolff and Geahigan [2] by emphasising the relationship between students’ personal engagement with art and design and their personal response to it through their own art; students were encouraged to learn about art and design objects through the process of reacting, researching, responding and reflecting. [3]