Schools without Walls
2017 - 2018
Lately my practice has circled around the topic of childhood and play in the city, influenced by writings by the English anarchist architect Colin Ward. In the publication “The Child in the City” from 1979, he introduced strategies for reclaiming and occupying public space, using the term `schools without walls’, about how the city itself can be the grounding for children’s education, with the children roaming the existing spaces of the town and learning within an open environment. I have started a series of projects involving both theoretical studies and explorations with children, with the aim of investigate how these strategies can be reinterpreted in a contemporary context.
“The most important thing is their realisation that they can actively play a part in shaping their surroundings, that what they say about where and how they live will be listened to and that the key to their future lies in their own awareness”
– “The Child in The City”, Colin Ward, 1978: 185.
One of the projects started in August 2017 in collaboration with choreograph and landscape architect Peter Vadim and Urban Skolen, a public elementary school in Esbjerg, Denmark. Together with children in the age 12-14 years old we are making sensorial experiments to investigate the different moods, features and rhythms of the city. We are working with traditional mapping and also mapping of sensory, social and emotional experiences. The knowledge, thoughts and experiences the children have about their local area are the key element. Esbjerg is the town where I was born and grew up, so it is a re-visit in the most literal sense.
In 2018 I will continue to work with the same strategies in two very different cityscapes, Beijing in China, and Bratislava in Slovakia.