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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Why can’t we have all our lessons out here in the park

“Why can’t we have all our lessons out here in the park?”

This is what Year 8 at collectively shouted as we headed back to school after our latest East 20 workshop. A year ago, these young people were pioneering students, the first year group to enter Chobham Academy, the first school to open in the Olympic Park.   

If the aim of the project is to excite the students about the opportunities in their school’s ‘back yard’, then I think we might have already achieved it.

Our challenge is to support the students in a search to find ‘places’ that are meaningful to them in this huge 560 acre newly formed site.  Four teams: #FishNet, The Great Banter, Anonymous and Banterlona, went where curiosity led them, heading for high points and searching out secret spots.

These are just a few of the lesser-known facts and places they uncovered on the Olympic Park:
  • The landscaped slopes are perfect for rolling down 
  • Tumbling bay playground appeals to people of all ages; there is no upper age limit
  • The rustling leaves of the surrounding trees in fact make Portland Lake the noisiest place in the park
  • You can literally lose yourself in a corner of Victory park… you’ll have to go to find out how.

Start points had previously been provided by a panel of speakers intimately involved in the design and maintenance of the park and its surrounding neighbourhoods. This inspiring panel included Kathyrn Firth, Chief of Design at the LLDC, Caroline Jupp, artist in residence currently based in a moving shed, and Nick Edwards of Fundamental. Even an imaginary alien who has just taken up residence in the park also made an appearance!

The places the students came across will become sites for large-scale viewfinders to be built in the next session. Quite literally watch this space…

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