Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Week 5: The National Curriculum and Masking Tape Labels


This was my final week at the Building Exploratory and I was determined to finish the library. The last thing to do was to catalogue the remaining books- by selecting a dewy number and labeling them with little bits of masking tape. A simple task you might think, but remembering six digit decimal numbers from the time you look at it on the shelf, to the time you come to write it down on a label, is not as easy as you might think.

My next task was to research the national curriculum to support an advertising campaign promoting the Building Exploratory's childrens workshops in schools. The idea was to tell the teachers how the workshops related to their syllabus and explian how they would expand the children's learning in the classroom. It was interesting for me to see how little the syllabus had changed from when I was small. I still remember making countless Tudor houses from cereal boxes and sugar paper portcullis castles.

From my Experience at the Building Exploratory I will take:
  1. The People: All highly educated laid- back Londoners who appear to enjoy a completely different way of life to me.
  2. The Enthusiasm: Who knew I could become so inspired by maps, historical photographs and the national curriculum?
  3. The Location: To outsiders Hackney may not sound like a cool new up-and-coming part of London - I learnt not to go on other people's misconceptions.
  4. The Independence: Yes  the 1 hour 45 minute journey was laborious, (it doesn't help when a rather heavy guy takes up half of your seat on the coach), but I travelled through historical parts of London on my own - a big step for someone like me and one which has given me a giant boost in confidence.
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Building Exploratory team for all their help and kindness in giving me this fantastic insight into working life.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Week 4: Researching Hackney


On top of sorting the library this week I was given the opportunity to do some research into the history of the built environment in Hackney. 

I was contributing to a new project run by the Building Exploratory in collaboration with Hackney Museum and Hackney Council, working with local primary school students. The purpose of which is to promote the regeneration of Dalston Square by involving and educating the local community with the intention of creating a time capsule.

My job was to use the Building Exploratory’s resources including photographs, the library, historical maps, the bomb damage database and Google maps, to support the Building Exploratory’s role in the project. I’ll admit, I am not the best person to ask about maps (as demonstrated in week 2!), I can barely navigate my hometown; my sense of direction is poor! I soon discovered, however, that maps are not instructions for getting lost; they are in fact objects of historical fascination! 

Using all these resources I managed to find roads around Dalston Square which had been damaged by bombs during the war, Google maps was especially helpful in discovering how the area had regenerated itself since then. It was interesting to see that on some roads one side was Victorian architecture whilst the other was 1950’s housing. It was fascinating to realise which roads had been there for centuries, which buildings had survived bomb damage and the areas where most people had died or suffered poverty and comparing this to the modern day Hackney. I had successfully formed an overview of the history of Dalton’s built environment. This in itself was fascinating; the architecture in my own town now intrigues me even more!

Week 3: The Library and Looking Smug


Today I travelled with new oyster card. Impressed by my newfound compatibility with city life, I struggled to mask my delight when I practically glided on to the bus!
The main task ahead of me today was ordering The Building Exploratory library. As the daughter of a librarian I was unphased by the Dewy decimal system, my real problem was the number of books! Hundreds of non-fiction texts on architecture, building history, Hackney, Greater London, the natural environment, business methods, craft books, planning advice, building techniques, map books, exhibition pamphlets and a number of DVD’s awaited me, all covered in a thick layer of dust. I spent all of 2 ½ hours ordering, sorting stacking (and sneezing!) before heading back to Kent.