Students’ close encounters of the public architectural kind

Jane Anderson, Programme Lead for Undergraduate Architecture at Oxford Brookes University

Jane Anderson, Programme Lead for Undergraduate Architecture at Oxford Brookes University

First published in News

ARCHITECTURE students designing and building with local communities benefits both town and gown says Jane Anderson, Programme Lead for Undergraduate Architecture at Oxford Brookes University.

It is more important than ever for students of architecture to experience the real world, to meet people and vitally, to understand the places where they will live and work.

When today’s undergraduates were children, playing in the street was thought too dangerous for most. When they became teenagers it was frowned upon for them to hang around on street corners. By the time they reach adulthood many have had very little involvement with their neighbourhood. This is one reason why I co-founded OB1 LIVE, a programme of live projects designed for local people by students at the Oxford Brookes School of Architecture.

I was recently awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship which recognised my work to develop live design projects as part of the university curriculum. This has proved very successful, with one student commenting: “My involvement in Live Projects has always been so different from other educational experiences. Fundamentally because they’re real and physical. Something that affects people, their lives, often having political and social impact.”

Oxford Mail:

The main gallery at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. This year students worked with Archeox, the East Oxford community archaeology group, to design an exhibition of their historic finds in the Pitt Rivers Museum

It has also been very beneficial for Oxfordshire as students have helped to deliver a number of innovative projects locally.

Past collaborations with local people and organisations include a public consultation for improvements to Mount Place in Jericho, the building of a moveable ticket booth for Creation Theatre Company and several temporary projects for The Story Museum while they were renovating their building on Pembroke Street. This year students worked with Archeox, the East Oxford community archaeology group, to design an exhibition of their historic finds in the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Archeox, working at Bartlemas Chapel, Cowley and Minchery Farm near Oxford United’s football ground with Oxford University Department for Continuing Education, had uncovered many historical artefacts including a prehistoric flint arrowhead, a medieval bone toggle, possibly used for making nets and a gambling piece from the time of the Civil War.

Our Oxford Brookes students’ exhibition design rejected the usual “glass case” museum approach and instead offered members of the public a unique opportunity to come into close contact with the material qualities of the objects and experience some of the ways that they would have been used by their original owners.

As a teacher I support educational experiences that help students to see themselves and their communities in a new and more positive light. Live Projects involve students, academics, practitioners and the community in real projects. It’s a highly collaborative process and I owe a great debt of gratitude to all who have participated over the years.

I believe my work has also helped to put Oxford Brookes on the map as an innovator in the field of live projects by co-founding the Live Projects Network. This online resource connects clients, students, academics and practitioners involved in live projects across the world, promoting best practice and sharing ideas.

Live projects are a collaboration between both student and client and they always work best if both parties will benefit and learn something from the encounter. If you have a potential project that needs the inventive and energetic students at the Oxford Brookes School of Architecture, please don’t hesitate to contact me on j.anderson@ brookes.ac.uk Further information is available at liveprojectsnetwork.org/ and architecture.brookes.ac.uk/galleries/ob1/

Our top stories:

Delays on M40 near Bicester after vehicle fire

Oxford Mail: Lorry jackknifes on M40 causing traffic tailbacks

7:18pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

THERE are delays of up to half an hour on the M40 after an earlier vehicle fire.

Woman sexually assaulted in pub car park in Kidlington

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

6:21pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

A woman has been sexually assaulted in a pub car park in Kidlington.

Horse killed in crash near Steeple Aston

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

2:26pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

A HORSE was killed after it collided with a car near Steeple Aston yesterday.

Gritters out tonight as mercury plummets across Oxfordshire

Oxford Mail: Gritter lorries get ready to set out last night

2:17pm Sunday 23rd November 2014

OXFORDSHIRE is set for a cold snap tonight and tomorrow with temperatures as low as -2C expected in some parts of the county.

Have you seen missing 23-year-old Kerri Hutt from Witney?

Oxford Mail:

11:51am Sunday 23rd November 2014

A WOMAN from Witney has been missing since Friday.

Attack in Oxford city centre leaves two men needing hospital treatment

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

6:24pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

TWO men were assaulted in Oxford city centre last weekend.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:25am Fri 8 Aug 14

SailorJerry says...

Its ironic that the title of this article states 'students encounter', yet the article discusses nothing but the leaders point of view. Having now completed the course, I will offer an actual students opinion. Brookes architecture operates largely on a fantasy and impractical level, whilst this was fun and explores creativity, it is naive to think they have a vested interest in 'real' architecture. What did I just spend £9,000 learning? It's definitely not the architecture in the real world, thats for sure.
Its ironic that the title of this article states 'students encounter', yet the article discusses nothing but the leaders point of view. Having now completed the course, I will offer an actual students opinion. Brookes architecture operates largely on a fantasy and impractical level, whilst this was fun and explores creativity, it is naive to think they have a vested interest in 'real' architecture. What did I just spend £9,000 learning? It's definitely not the architecture in the real world, thats for sure. SailorJerry
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree