Getting to know Strand Campus and its people: 45 minute creative challenge

King’s, Tuesday 22nd September – David Micklem

An unplanned wander across Strand Campus with the aim of starting of five conversations.

choir

  1. I wandered into King’s College Chapel, drawn to the oasis of quiet amidst the bustle at the start of term. It’s a peaceful place for reflection in a college thronging with students and staff. I was greeted by Joe, the choirmaster, waiting for the members of the choir to congregate. He’s a Lecturer in Music and Director of Music for the choir at Kings – new to both. He was enthused by the prospect of #EverydayArtists at King’s and would love to keep in touch as the project develops. I have returned to listen to the choir as I write this.
  1. free 30 minsOn the fourth floor there is a mobile phone charging station. I was drawn by a sign saying ‘Free 30 minutes’ thinking how a free half hour could be used to creatively here. Punyaa retrieved his phone and I asked about the machine.

“30 minutes free” I said.

“I think this is the only place you can get that “ said Punyaa.

I pondered his answer and wondered how much I should read into it.

  1. viewI took a lift to the top of the building and at the eighth floor walked through the Geography department. I looked out over a stunning view of Somerset House, Parliament and the South Bank beyond, a rare gap in the rain.

George who works in the Geography Department said “we’ve got the best views up here”.

I pondered this and wondered how much I should read into it.

danger of death

  1. I remembered our conversation with Dr Nick Wilson and Dr Laura Speers earlier this afternoon; about the pressures to meet targets at Kings, about the lack of time, about permission and whether you are granted or take it, and about our collective ambition, through this project, to resist the urge to be sensible.

In the school of Natural and Mathematical Sciences I saw a sign warning of danger and forbidding access. It reminded me of the importance of challenging rules, received wisdom, a sense of there being only way to do things.

I pondered this and wondered how much I should read into it.

map5. Disorientated, I found myself back at reception (having popped out at the security office where we had been issued College passes yesterday). Here I watched Iqbal answering dozens of questions from similarly confused students and staff. Despite the volley of seemingly random questions (‘where can I open a bank account near here’, ‘is there a lost and found’, ‘how can I get the flood in the toilets sorted’, ‘where is room 2.021’ and many many more) Iqbal seemed to cope incredibly, confidently replying like an ace tennis player.

He’s only been here 18 months yet seems to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the building and the institution.

Observations

  1. A very energising exercise that took less than an hour.
  2. I relished the opportunity to explore without knowing where I was going.
  3. Choral music sung live really is powerful and moving.
  4. Jo’s meeting with a student made me think about playful journeys across the college and creative mapmaking. How might journeying across campus become a creative endeavour?
  5. The accreted layers of history across the Strand campus are very present if you take a moment to look around. This exercise encourages me to look up, look around, take a moment longer.

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