Curating the Ground

Our first exploration of the new allotment was with the help of Year 6 children from Vickers Town Primary School, in a workshop led by Armelle Tardiveau of e.c. Architects and Maddi Nicholson of Art Gene.

We began with site exploration with close looking and recording, continued with a discussion about shelter, shed and hide building/design and culminated with a full day of hands-on innovation and building.

The project sought to engage Year 6 children in valuing what is present in this field near their school, and engage them in a place making process and construction space with found materials. It focused on valuing the field as found and identifying items that illustrate the ecosystem in which we live and establish a set of relationships between the elements, things and people (exploring / place-making / revealing).

The den building was intended to provide a space that would help to express the meaning of the item and the experience of the field.

Mapping / measuring the ground

The first exercise consisted of reproducing in the field the grid of 5 x 5 meter drawing. Children measured and using tools, but also learn the dimensions of their body as a supportive measuring tool.



We then chated about the definition of curating: how a small found object, on closer exploration, can reveal itself to be part of a larger ecosystem, and reveal a series of relationships with other objects. Each child selected item in the area chosen, drew it, and wrote about how it connects to a larger ecosystem or a set of relationships with other things or people.


Discussion in the group – ranking which out of 5 items extracted from the ground, is:

  • the most interesting, and why
  • tells the most about the world we live in and its many relationship with living and non-living things.
  • The choice of the item to exhibit can also relate to:
  • the beauty of the item, to its relevance of an ecosystem, to the fact that item lends itself to exhibition and might be part of the construction…
  • The items not chosen for exhibition will be kept as part of the archive of the exhibition den.


Designing is Choosing and Assembling

We reviewed, listed and drew all items available to build an exhibition den, then sketched out the materials chosen and the construction method.

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