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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Bringing the Olympics to Maryland Primary School

It was a busy and exciting week last week, with three people representing the Building Exploratory – Lizzie, Rosie and Evi – delivering six workshops at Maryland Primary School to explore how the Olympics are affecting the school’s area. Students from years 3 and 4 identified changes in their area through time by comparing maps from 1033, a Tudor map and a map from 1777. They also explored changes taking place as a result of the Olympics, and learnt to identify and describe the function, features and design of the Olympic stadiums. 

Students in year 5 took their design skills even further, by designing their own Olympic Stadium, and competing with their classmates to test how strong it was.

 Lizzie said of the workshops:

“The most exciting part for me was when we looked for all the different factories that we could see on a 1893 map of the school’s area and the Olympic Par. The students were so keen to tell me everything they found – including a Candlewax Factory, an Oilskin Works (although they didn’t like finding out what an Oilskin factory was!), a Brush Works and a Paint Factory – conveniently right next door to each other.

There was a lot of giggling when they imagined what their area might have looked, smelt and sounded like with all the industry that they had identified from the map. It was great. I’m confident that they really enjoyed it because at the end of the session I received a ‘Maryland Firework’, when all the students made crackling and banging sounds to say thank you!”

If you would like to book a tailor made Mapping Spaces Shaping Places workshop for your school please contact us on 02077292011.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Artists benefit from free Age UK training at TBE

As part of our project to embed creative arts practice into our work with older people, we ran a special training day for a group of artists and volunteers.

The training, which was designed by specialist trainers from Age UK, gave the participants information and strategies, and covered working with older people with specific needs including those who have difficulties with mobility, visual impairment, loss of hearing, Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Through a series of simulations participants were able to get a sense of what it feels like to have some of these conditions. Tasks included making conversation with someone wearing silencer earmuffs to experience what it feels like to communicate with reduced hearing; and walking about whilst wearing a range of goggles that mimicked the effect of some of the different conditions which reduce vision. Taking part in these activities helped to give participants a better understanding of some of the conditions many older people live with and to consider how they could respond to these issues in their work and practice.     

The next stage of the project will see the artists using the knowledge they gained from the training to develop creative activities which will allow older people to overcome some of the barriers they face to participating and enable them to engage with architecture and the built environment.

This project has been funded by Arts Council England.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The People's Panorama Project

We are really excited to have got off to a fantastic start with this amazing project. You can follow the progress of our volunteer researchers and find out about the project in more detail by visiting the Peoples Panorama blog.

The People’s Panorama is an ambitious project to create a community heritage resource recording and documenting the six-kilometre stretch of road from Aldgate to Stratford in East London. The project will celebrate the High Street at this historic point in it's development and act as a record of the route from central London to the 2012 Olympic Park. 

The Panorama itself will combine photos of every building along High Street 2012, with fascinating information about the buildings' history and how they have been used through time.

We have a fantastic team of 26 volunteers currently researching the history of the buildings along High Street 2012. Once this feat of research is complete, we will be using the Panorama to inspire an exciting programme of adults learning activities, activities for older people, schools workshops and celebratory events.  Keep an eye on our 'What's On' page from May for information about these activities and events. 


Thursday, 2 February 2012

City Bridge Trust awards funding for new Building Exploratory older peoples project

The City of London’s City Bridge Trust – which uses surpluses from the City bridges to help London good causes - has awarded the Building Exploratory £104,950 over three years. The grant will enable us to engage diverse groups of older people in Hackney and Tower Hamlets with the built environment through social learning activities, improving their health and active citizenship.   

This award was part of £1.73m of grants made to London charities at the last City Bridge Trust Committee meeting on 12 January 2012.
Billy Dove MBE JP, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee said:

“I don’t suppose those who donated money for London Bridge 800 years ago expected the £16 million annual surplus to now help the elderly facing such challenges.  Learning about their local community and its buildings, making new friends and being given the opportunity to influence the built environment all help to increase older people’s health and wellbeing.”

Dr Nicole Crockett,  Chief Executive of Building Exploratory said:
 “This funding will make a huge difference to our work with older people.  It will enable us to pilot a new model of working and reach new groups of older people, including those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.  By training the groups to run themselves in the longer-term, the grant will help us to develop our work in a way that is sustainable.”
Last year the City’s City Bridge Trust made 228 grants to London charities, totalling £16.8milion and between 1995 and 2011 it granted over £250 million to London charities.