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Exploring the relationship between disability and architecture

IO: inside out

Outside In: Uckfield Community Technology College

Introduction

One of Inside Out’s principle aims is to be an educational resource. As part of our commitment to establishing and encouraging creative partnerships our intention is to use the site to place disabled artists at the center of any dialogue around the built environment. Responding to work on Inside Out in August 2006, Tanja Gangar, artist and art teacher at Uckfield Community Technology College East Sussex, initiated a project with Key Stage three students entitled ‘Outside In’: www.uctc.e-sussex.sch.uk/art_project
‘The title of the project, reflected the process of bringing wider issues of disability and specific questions around identity into the school environment. By introducing the web site to a group of students with special learning needs I wanted to address some of the very real issues students faced around questions of access within the school environment as well as supporting specific Art and Citizenship links within the National Curriculum.’ Tanja Gangar, teacher and project supervisor.
Tanja used the work of ‘Inside Out’ artists, Mark Ware and Caroline Cardus as inspiration for working with student Daniel Balcomb on the first first phase of the project. A series of digital images using Fireworks and Photoshop, were produced with the intention of illustrating limited access and the difficulties faced by disabled students. The completed project was shown to staff and students as a PowerPoint Presentation, promoting Daniel’s visual and verbal communication skills. The work identified practical problems faced by disabled students within most schools and older buildings. These included the inaccessibility of some parts of the school and extended routes that wheelchair-users often have to take. It also identified the difficulties in using shared spaces like the canteen, tuck shop and corridors.
“The project was a real eye opener. I enjoyed learning about the work of disabled artists. Caroline Cardus’ amazing road signs gave me ideas to create my own. Firstly, I took photos of my school and put them on a computer. I then found images of road signs on the internet and edited them. I created signs showing the kinds of problems wheelchair-users face.” Daniel Balcomb

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