Future Lab, Shanghai – Workshop

Future Lab project 25.11.19 – 01.12.19
Creative thinking: A City in Seven Days

The Futurelab project was part of the Shanghai International Arts fair held at Westbund Arts, Shanghai, in November 2019. FutureLab assembled 30 world-renowned art schools and institutions to discuss the future of art education and also to provide a unique platform to exhibit artworks from students. It showcased pre-eminent pedagogies, as well as highlighting new and contemporary approaches to art education.

In response to my ongoing research into knowledge and skill-based learning and acquisition, I was invited, along with fellow academics from the RCA, to contribute and develop a specific project for the event. The project enabled the bringing together of current research strands in student-centred learning in primary and graduate education. 

The project engaged primary level learners and educators to respond creatively and curatorially to the potential of a space and the notion of the way we interpret and build communities. They engaged with a material led approach to create an environment, a community, a city. Each day had a specific theme which was the building block and canvas for the following day and culminated in an intuitively built environment. The project’s aim was to observe and record the development of this fictional city, focusing on the differentiation of learners and their three-dimensional responses to communities, histories and mythologies. Each of the seven days was designed to celebrate the shared different approaches and images relating to Eastern and Western cultural histories and different creative approaches to skills and material development. 

Day 1: Creating place and space, building landscape
Day 2. Settling the environment
Day 3. Myths, stories and legends
Day 4 Communication and trade
Day 5. Industry and trade
Day 6 Community and culture
Day 7. A sustainable future

The overarching aim of the project was an action learning-based approach to student-centred learning in order to develop new approaches to shared notions of learning, knowledge and skills acquisition through individual and shared experiences, challenging the notion of a taught lesson with ridged approaches and outcomes.

The project was recorded through time-lapse video, creating a moving archive and record of the changing and evolving landscapes, environments and communities created. In addition, short interviews with participants, teachers and visitors were collected and used to edit a short documentary film of the project.

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