For whom: Bandırma Marmara Primary School
With whom: 4th Grade Students
Urban Utopias workshop was organised with 164 4th grade students in Bandırma Marmara Primary School during 5th and 6th March 2020.
The purpose of the workshop, which took place in six different classes for two days; to remove some elements on the earth and make children imagine the city they live in a different way. In other words, it was aimed to examine the urban perception by children, by changing its’ current situation.
The workshop had started with the question, ‘What is inside the city?’ A variety of answers created a mind map with quick illustraitons on the board. While all pupils generally were replying as houses, shopping centers, offices or cars; responses connected with nature like birds, flowers, clouds were varied from class to class. Unfortunately, some factories in the center of city Bandırma created negative answers just as fume, dirty air or dirty sea, mist.
After mind mapping, we asked the question, ‘What may happen if some of items in the city were not existed any more or any item increased suddenly?’ Pupils created a variety of utopias with examples like zero-gravity environment or giant forest covering all around.
Some pages of the children book ‘The Best Days’ written by Helga Bansch and Heinz Janish (inspiration book of this workshop), were showed to children on the board and utopian ideas were talked further through the illustrations of this book. While ideas like living in a world without gravity, under the water or into the clouds didn’t easily accepted, the most loved idea for all classes was a world with a colorful shadows.
After brainstorming about cities and dreams, we expected an imaginary city model from children but there was a rule; some items of cities should be more or not exist any more. Students individually or as a group, made a city model into a box with a variety of recycling materials, cartons and different colors. While common materials like a cartons usually used as covering, recyling materials like plastic bottles, rolls or different fabrics motivated creativity.
At the end of the workshop, there were a lot of boxs consisted of different city perceptions. We observed a variety of results and stories. We hope that we have left behind children who continue to think about the city, perceive the environment they live in and believe they can change.
We would like to thank to assistant manager of the school Emre Tozlu and Bandırma Marmara Primary School for their invitation.
Workshop instructors: Cansu Dinç, Emre Gündoğdu, Setenay Kamazoğlu, Yağmur Kutlar
Participants: 4th grade students of Bandırma Marmara Primary School