14 SES 12 B, Schooling in Rural/Urban Settings
This paper is concerned with ways in which the discourses and practices of school design produce educational spaces which mediate and shape the discourses and practices of teaching and learning when the building is occupied. This investigation involved the development of a methodology for systematically analysing the relationship of school space to the experiences of students’, teachers’ and parents’. It expands notions of post occupancy evaluation (POE) research by exploring how the intentions of an educational vision which informed an initial school design, the intentions of the final build, and the intentions of those people who occupy that building interact in a way which influences experiences of the end users. Our work is based on the assumption that these intentions will be influenced by wider social and cultural histories.
In an earlier paper we analysed how an educational vision was developed and translated into a material space in one new build school. We found changes to motives depended on aims and objectives at particular points in time and that when the motives of different professional groupings differed at particular stages this caused tensions which, in order for the design and build process to move forward had to be resolved. By developing a model which explores the design, build and occupancy process both within and through time notions of conflict and continuity are explored further in this paper. We have developed an account of the extent to which the design, build and occupancy of a school was a continuous process through time described here as the horizontal process. In order to understand where and why continuities and/or conflicts arose in the horizontal process we also explored what we called the vertical relations within this process; we were interested in understanding the dynamics between different actors involved in the design, build and occupancy process and particular moments in time when these relations created conflict in the horizontal process, or facilitated continuity.
Here we report findings from an examination of the vision, design, build and accupation of four schools commisioned by the same Local Authority in the UK and bulit by the same construction company. We examined the process of occupation which in 3 cases involved changes of leadership.
We identified significant discontinuities at particular phases in relation to either the intended physical structuring versus what was built, and/or in relation to how space was intended to be used versus how it was actually used in practice.
Numerous different agencies are involved throughout this process, e.g. the school, the Local Authority, the Architects and the Contractors. Of interest is the extent to which, and reasons why the motives of all of these individuals aligned, and the extent to which this impacted on the shaping of the artefact, and the perceptions and actions of teachers as they appropriate spaces through a process of occupation (the vertical process).
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