2006 to 2007: ‘The Cabin’ was a portacabin situated at Valley House Children’s Centre in Coventry.
Matt Shaw, Barbara Jones and I were invited by Baljit Gill and others to develop this space as a creative learning environment for young children, families, practitioners, visitors, professionals and others. This followed ‘The Flat’ project which was a temporarily empty home we were invited to develop for a similar purpose.
We used many different types of materials including recycled objects and resources, mechanical items such as typewriters and an old film projector, fabric, natural materials, metal, lighting, overhead projectors, mirrors and resources in an adjoining small space for people to use for developing ideas.
Later on we came back and developed the small outside areas – mostly making sounds for people to explore.
The Cabin was used for those at the children’s centre as well as the practitioners and it was also offered for use by visiting practitioners and families – for instance, I brought a group of parents and practitioners from a project I was working on in Leicester in order to stimulate imaginative thinking about creative learning.
Many different groups used this interesting space before it was dismantled a few years later. We kept a journal and documented much of the process, exploration and development over a couple of years which was continued by the practitioners.
Both ‘The Flat’ and ‘The Cabin’ happened as a direct result of our work on the Coventry Creative Partnerships Early Years Project ‘2nd Skin’ which involved 11 artists (including the three of us) building ‘The Lab’ – a multi-sensory, creative learning environment in Charter Primary School (now demolished). 2nd Skin was a Coventry-wide project working with several schools and serving to inspire practitioners to develop their own spaces more creatively for early years children and beyond. It was based on the ideas of the Reggio Emilio nurseries in Italy.
These two creative learning spaces developed many of the ideas and research started with the 2nd Skin project.