The Open Spaces Schools Project (2011, with Michelle Browne) was a participatory workshop programme for secondary schools exploring teenagers’ point of view on the design and management of public spaces in Dublin City. The project specifically looked at the potential for teenagers to input and have an influence on architecture, planning, design and decision-making processes in their city neighbourhoods. Weekly workshops with students included fieldwork, site visits, meeting with Dublin City Council architects and planners and much lively class discussion.
Carried out over three months, the workshop process culminated in an event at Dublin Civic Offices (May 2011) where students from five schools presented their findings to each other and to Dublin City Council planning, architecture and arts office personnel. This event was also the premiere screening of ‘The Proposal’, a series of five short-film documents of works for public space made by the students. In these proposals, each filmed in a single day, the students presented their ideas for changes to the design and management of public space in their locality. Rather than relying on the architectural conventions of proposal drawings, renders and models the use of film enabled the students to temporarily enact and perform their ideas.
Research issues arising from the workshop series included: intergenerational use of public space; noise and shared spaces; self-managed spaces for teenagers; the right to gather in public space; the placelessness of teenagers in public space; the shared needs and uses of public space between teenagers and homeless people; the teenage pack; and stereotyping.
‘The Proposal’ comprises ‘a mobile seating unit’ by the students of Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount, Dublin 8; ‘an elevated point of view’ by the students of Manor House School, Raheny, Dublin 5; ‘an alternative changing room’ by the students of St. Dominics Secondary School, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10; ‘a teenage run skills exchange’ by the students of Trinity Comprehensive, Ballymun, Dublin 9; ‘a protest banner which doubles as a mobile enclosure’ by the students of Maryfield College, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.
Download a booklet produced for the final presentation: link here.
The project was initiated and funded by Dublin City Arts Office as part of the Open Spaces programme. Workshop design and facilitation was carried out by Culturstruction together with artist Michelle Browne. Film documents were recorded and edited by Areaman Productions.
Dublin City Council Arts Office
Initiated by Dublin City Council Arts Office and led by artists and designers Michelle Browne, Jo Anne Butler and Tara Kennedy.
‘The Proposal’ is Filmed by Areaman Productions.
Participating Schools were the Presentation Secondary School Warrenmount, Dublin 8; Manor House School, Raheny, Dublin 5; St. Dominics Secondary School, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10; Trinity Comprehensive, Ballymun, Dublin 9 and Maryfield College, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.