OBJECTS & TECHNOLOGIES OF SCHOOLING is a travelling international workshop collaboration between the University of Queensland’s Architecture Theory Criticism and History Research Group (ATCH) and KU Leuven - SRN Texts-Buildings. In this workshop participants set out to discover the very distinct materialities and technologies of schooling as active agents in the making of architectural school.
The last decade has seen a substantial increase of interest in the history of architectural education. In the US and Europe, this has addressed three centuries of educating architects, while in Australasia, many architecture schools are celebrating centennials or gold/diamond anniversaries with a wide range of exhibitions, conferences and book publications. The School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney celebrates its architecture centenary in 2018, while in 2019, the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne celebrates both the centenary of that University’s Architecture Atelier and the sesquicentenary of its teaching of architecture. The University of Queensland hosts a symposium on 100 years of teaching architecture in that state in November 2018.
Despite a growing interest in institutional histories and key educational figures, the complex processes that transformed architecture’s pedagogies in the 20th century are still under theorised. This workshop widens the geographical scope beyond local institutional histories and sets out to discover the very distinct materialities and technologies of schooling as active agents in the making of architectural school. Since the last decade of the twentieth century, scholars in the field of educational history have stressed the potential and the challenges of the visual in the history of education. The sociologists and historians of education Martin Lawn and Ian Grosvenor coined the term ‘materialities of schooling’ in 2005 to explore the physical attributes of the learning environment. Knowledge transmission thus was no longer reduced to ‘software’, the rather easily detectable ideas in course notes and handbooks, but studied in close relation to the ‘hardware’ of for instance globes and wall pictures, desks, chalkboards, slide projectors and the design of the learning environment. As a result, these objects, sites and technologies have come to function as gateways into the black box of the classroom and into past schooling practices. Incorporating these findings in the field of architectural history is a challenging task. The 20th century objects, sites and technologies of schooling show an extraordinary multiformity, both on the level of their materiality and the ideas they conveyed. Moreover, from the early 1950s, architectural knowledge appeared to be less consistent than ever, accommodating many coexisting and even contradictory paradigms.
For this workshop, we invited speakers that study graphic images, studio tools, experiments and events, lecturing devices and material infrastructures by which architect-educators and students produced and expressed ideas in 20th century educational contexts. By focusing on the visual and oral, rather than the textual means by which architectural knowledge was generated and disseminated in the past, these speakers will scrutinise the unstudied link between traditional institutional studies, intellectual or conceptual studies and material/visual culture studies.