Andrea Wheeler

My interest in school architecture is motivated by concern to include in the design processes the views and voices of children, to understand their own ways of being in the world, their own day to day experience of schools, and their educational and social developmental needs from their own perspectives. This takes my more recently work into the realm of sensory experience and comfort (and takes some inspiration from Special Needs education). I am inspired by radical pedagogical approaches (and a history of Maverick teachers that can be seen as belonging to a tradition of education for sustainability) and also participation practices informed by ethnographic theories and notions of emancipatory epistemologies (feminist theory) in social science research. Driven also by the development of innovative participatory research methodologies, such as video-based architectural ethnographies with children, and script writing and theatre practices (inspired by Augustus Boal), I have worked with children not only to elicit opinions to inform architectural designers but also with the aim of how to develop their agency towards building sustainable communities, motivating lifestyle change in their schools and communities. A recent paper in this field“Exploring the use of new school buildings through post-occupancy evaluation and participatory action research” AEDM  (Andrea Wheeler and Masoud Malekzadeh) examines work with school communities in this way.