International Journal of Art & Design Education

Connections: A Collaborative Design Project

Volume 22.1   2003



This is a study of the Connections project; a collaborative design exercise between Birmingham School of Architecture and Landscape, and local primary schools. It explains the processes and outcomes of this annual collaborative design exercise, in which students of architecture join forces with primary school children, to explore connections between architecture, and various subjects of the National Curriculum. It shows how graphical learning methods, from architectural education, have been adopted successfully across the curriculum at primary level. Three phases of the project, and their different kinds of graphic communication, are identified. Learning in each of these is explored with supporting evidence from students' diaries and interviews with teachers. Two examples of recent project work are used to show processes and outcomes. The first, a Science and Architecture project, demonstrates how methods of working gave a clear relationship between abstract ideas, and representational models and drawings. The second illustrates quality of outcomes, and depth of understanding in an Art and Architecture project. Finally the study introduces ongoing research, based on the Connections project experience, which addresses the scope of learning at both curriculum levels.