Creative Partnerships invited Studio Baum to take part in an eighteen-month long education project with St. John’s School in Epping. The focus of the project was the environment and sustainability. Taking the school’s surroundings of the beautiful, ancient Epping Forest as a starting point, and setting up a micro-design studio in an empty corner of a classroom, we worked with Years 7 and 8 students towards a two-fold outcome: to help them challenge and change the way their school runs, and to create a resource book.
Working with the students and teachers, we:
• Ran branding and marketing workshops, using visual references and our own eclectic library of books, where we discussed brand identity and systems of marketing to young people. Here, the students created a brand identity and logo for the eighteen-month project.
• Created installations and signage using found objects.
• Organised a recycling day to encourage the students and their parents to bring in old objects from home to be used to make the installations.
• Looked at the natural surroundings of the school, the plant and animal life that live within the grounds and how we can live symbiotically with them.
• Grew herbs and went foraging with a professional forager from the National Trust.
• Ran cooking sessions using foraged, home-grown and local-sourced ingredients.
• Designed posters that promote eating seasonal food.
• Created quirky marketing campaigns to encourage people to turn off the lights around the school.
• Analysed the school’s energy consumption, looking into recycling, reusing and energy-saving.
• Initiated a 10-minute, school-wide ‘black out’ (every student and teacher turns off all lights, computers, printers, projectors, radios, televisions etc) for the last day of every school week – the school’s energy supplier estimated that in the 10 minutes the school ‘black out’ managed to save enough power to run a laptop computer for 2 months!
The outcome of all of the above was then collated and used to create a book with the students, which they named ‘E.G. – The Eco Guide: St. John’s School Leading by Example’. This book is a testament to the students’ passion for their environment and their school, and is an inspiration for other schools to reflect on the way they co-exist with their surroundings.