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In 2008/9, working with The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, and three secondary schools in Lewisham (southeast London), I developed a programme to engage 2nd Year architecture and design students with year 9 and 10 pupils to explore design and open opportunities for young people to engage in design.
Twenty architecture and design students, from Central Saint Martins (CSM), along with 60 secondary school pupils (from Deptford Green School, Forest Hill Boys School, and Addey & Stanhope School) were set the project to examine their schools, identify problems and develop design solutions. For some pupils, this was their first opportunity to be involved in a design project. For the HE students, this was an opportunity to engage with a diverse team and to take on the role of ‘tutor’.
Initial meetings were held across a 3-day block at the Stephen Lawrence Centre, allowing teams to work intensively on initial research and concept designs. After this initial phase, pupils became ‘client teams’; with the CSM students working as design teams to meet the needs defined with the larger teams. Over the next 8 weeks, CSM students visited their different schools to meet with pupils teams.
The culmination of the project was two exhibitions. The first, held for staff and parents, afforded pupils the opportunity to present the work of their team to their parents and teachers. The second exhibition was part of the official opening even of the Stephen Lawrence Centre.
In conjunction with the student project, I was awarded research funding by University of the Arts London (as part of their ‘Creative Learning in Practice/Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning’ (CLIP/CETL). My research, working with the CSM students, explored the way that socially engaged curriculum effected student motivation.