13th February 2002
Students at the Hull School of Architecture are working on a masterclass project that could affect the lives of half a million Africans.
Today and tomorrow Museum and Exhibition Design students are attending a masterclass with leading professional Richard Fowler, who is currently working on the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum at Temple Meads in Bristol.
The students were presented with a ‘live’ two-day project to plan the development of a key township tourism attraction at Lookout Hill in South Africa. The site is close to Khayelitsha, a township of 500,000 black South Africans who suffered under apartheid and still live in poverty with a 90% unemployment rate.
“This project is something the students have never experienced before,” said Richard. “I wanted to trigger a social conscience within the students and make them understand that design is not always about large budgets and smart creations.”
The students will be considering how the Lookout Hill tourism facility can benefit Khayelitsha by involving local people in the project, creating jobs, improving their economy and giving them something they can be proud of.
Khayelitsha is an area of natural beauty, rich in culture, crafts, song and dance, and has a lot of potential as a tourist attraction. Being close to Cape Town, Lookout Hill is set to become an attraction for foreign tour buses and local visitors.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the students,” said course leader Dr Geoff Matthews of the University of Lincoln. “The university has run masterclasses for the last five years but this is the most extraordinary. The students have been given a ‘live project’ which Richard will hopefully be working on in the near future with a South African architectural company.”
In dealing with the project students will have to consider global views, address a very difficult cultural and political situation and cope with a large project in a short space of time. “It is a real challenge for them,” said Geoff.
“The students really understand the aims of the project and are very focused,” said Richard. “It is very rewarding to involve students in a project that is entirely worthwhile and will hopefully help impoverished people.”
The students will be presenting their work at 4.30pm tomorrow (Thursday) in the Saville Lecture Theatre, Hull School of Architecture.
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