Religion and Place in Tower Hamlets: A Creative Engagement Project for Schools by the Building Exploratory
The Building Exploratory
The Building Exploratory based in Hackney helps people to discover the secrets of their local area, past and present. Our exhibition, workshops and learning programmes for schools and lifelong learners aim to help people develop a better understanding of the buildings and spaces that surround them. The Building Exploratory is delighted to offer schools in Tower Hamlets an opportunity to participate in a unique project funded by Arts Council England and English Heritage.
Religion and Place in Tower Hamlets
'Religion and Place in Tower Hamlets' is a creative education project about one hundred and sixty-seven extraordinary places of worship in this diverse east-end borough. Everyone the project touches, both locally and further afield, will be engaged by these extraordinary buildings and inspired to learn about the built environment.
The project has been developed as a response to research by English Heritage into the architecture of religious buildings of all faiths and denominations and begins with a unique experience for five artists and 150 Tower Hamlets secondary school students. It then reaches across the diverse Tower Hamlets communities through 20,000 printed publications and an exhibition, and further afield via a virtual guide.
A pilot project, funded by English Heritage, to test the feasibility of the proposal was completed in Spring 2004. Two artists explored a Sikh gurdwara and a Church of England parish church with students from Mulberry School for Girls. The girls, all from Bengali Muslim families, were challenged in their understanding of the practices of other faiths. They learnt new creative skills and used these to develop their own responses to the buildings and their users. The artists interpreted their responses through three-dimensional faith chests.
This remarkable pilot has resulted in widespread support from English Heritage (EH), the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Arts Council England (ACE), the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and the Architecture Centre Network (ACN). All agreed that this project offers a timely and innovative opportunity for learning about religious beliefs and practice.
The project aims to be an exemplar and a national strategy for dissemination of the methodologies and outputs via the Architecture Centre Network, EH Education & Outreach teams and the DCMS’s built environment learning initiative Engaging Places, will be developed.