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Active Murals

Encouraging children towards creative play and active learning – mural-blackboard mash-ups provide an engaging site for customisation.

Photo of Meena Kadri
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I've been documenting talented Indian roadside graphic artists for a few years now: http://bit.ly/4JFmIS. Most painters that I've interviewed refer to their declining trade and assignments that utilise their talents fully. This concept proposes that a group of painters are brought together in a given area (eg. Hyderbad has 3000 APS so a painter team could service participating schools that area) The Active Murals co-ordinating team would outline the initiative and appropriate educational imagery – such as animals, nature, occupations, transport and so on. They would supervise the painters in consultation with the school to devise a site specific mural scene. I imagine the murals could contain much more imagery than my quickly thrown together example here. Ideally they would include some locally relevant images – which could feature the diversity of local dress, trades, transport, trees, landmarks, etc.


Silhouettes of certain things would be painted in blackboard paint so that children could ongoingly interact with the mural. Alongside pure creative play, children could also be prompted to participate in more focused activities as part of lessons. eg. Body silhouette: a) write body parts in the correct places. b) write as many verbs as they can think of that the figure could do – run, hop, jump, etc) c) draw clothing then describe in English – 'green trousers', 'blue buttons', etc. Ideas for these activities could be presented as a set of cards / a fan deck / small booklet, etc to teachers. Children would also be encouraged to come up with their own games that extend their interaction beyond pure play.


Corporates (or individuals) nationwide could be engaged via an online campaign to sponsor a wall and would get to have their brand name incorporated into the mural. Sponsorship would also include supply of the activity guide. Possibly a single corporate may want to sponsor a whole area – or even the whole project nationwide (Tata, Birla, Reliance, Asian Paints, etc – are you listening?!)

Who would implement this?

  • A big company
  • A globally-based social entrepreneur
  • NGOs and Foundations

Cost

Sponsorship model (see above)

Distribution & Delivery

Active Murals Team (+ later the Activity Guide)

Adoption

Schools are expected to be willing participants as they will not foot the bill yet will be involved in the planning stage. An School Engagement Session Guide could be created for the Active Murals coordinators to facilitate teacher + principal input on mural content. This would provide a sense of inclusion/ownership for the school.

Local Need. Enterprising Schools has identified key areas of need for Affordable Private Schools. What local learning need(s) does this concept address?

  • English language learning (speaking, reading, writing)

13 comments

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Photo of varsha sharma

I think this is a very great idea and we should encourage our children more to these art forms
https://schulferienkalender.net/
https://graphpaperprintable.net/
https://nswschoolholidays.net/

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Photo of Vishal Jodhani

This is such an amazing idea. I've noticed some of these active murals now in Mumbai (though they seem like they are community initiatives without much support from these larger corporations). It'll be great to see this idea resurface in some shape and form during the Creative Confidence challenge.

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DeletedUser

An additional way on funding this project could be through the creation of postcards or photos of the murals. If companies are to fund these murals, then they could use these pictures as their greeting cards, further increasing the potential of this venture on advertising the funding company. This could provide incentives for firms to engage.
Love the idea!

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Photo of Charlotte Fliegner

I love this concept, and would love to implement it on a project I am currently working - an extension to a pre-school. If anyone has any ideas on specific artwork to create that would be great - the preschool is for 3-5 year olds, in Australia, indoors (using blackboard paint), not too much wall space (600mm high x 4m length just off the ground, at a childs scale), am thinking of using stencils. thanks !!

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Photo of Charlotte Fliegner

+ whilst not in a developing country, (we have a very low budget) and i just think this is generally a pretty cool idea !

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Photo of Meena Kadri

Great Charlotte! Here at OpenIDEO, we hope that folks feel free to adapt concepts shared here to any context, developing or otherwise. We'd love to hear from you if you go ahead with something like this. Let me know here or ping me direct if you have updates. I imagine that something the children could relate to would be good – local plants & animals maybe? Or stuff that they recognise from their local neighbourhood?

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DeletedUser

I love this concept, both for its creativity and its hands-on approach to education. What if the murals were made of a concrete-like material that could also be "painted" on with water, so that kids could use it again and again (the water would temporarily darken the mural, and then dry and disappear), allowing for countless different creative activities, lessons and games?

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Photo of Meena Kadri

Great idea, Lauren – I'm loving your build which allows for even more customisation. And we'd love to hear of examples from anyone out there who's used or is keen to try something along these lines to engage create, young minds.

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Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Great concept, especially if the children are already familiar with murals as a medium for storytelling, information etc. This concept is scalable which makes it really appealing and could even extend to murals for adult learning too, perhaps in health education/HIV prevention etc.

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Photo of sally madsen

What about transforming the artists into art teachers, organizing the students to create murals? Love the concept.

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DeletedUser

Great Idea - love the 'pure play' interaction between the children and the education and community building it can lead to!

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DeletedUser

I also want to connect this with the concept "Permanent, sustainable "Teaching Sculptures"" by Keane Angle, both great examples of using persistent information.

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DeletedUser

I like the idea of murals, it reminds of the purpose these large public artworks used to serve within churches, to teach the gospels before Gutenberg made bibles more available.

I would love to see a mural that taught something like algebra or geometry or logics. Imagine a mural where by walking along it, you see and solve an algebra problem like "how many cookies are in this box if I share five cookies and have five left", or a mural that tells the story of the pauper who asked for one grain of rice one day, and for the king to double that every day, and how soon the king got into trouble -that becomes a mural of what geometric progression looks like.