Story Boxes and Sense of Place


Date: 2004
Team: Febrik, Seki Hirano, Sophana Sophanpanich
Location: Tate Modern
Partners/Donors: Thomas Abney Primary School, Kid’s Company, Tate Modern 

Project Context

“During the Summer, over 1,000 children aged between four and twenty attended a series of workshops organised by children’s charity Kids Company in collaboration with Tate Modern. For the Shrinking Childhoods exhibition, the work they produced is displayed in a series of Portocabins situated on the South Lawn outside Tate Modern.
In these works, the children aim to communicate their experiences of life in tough inner-city neighbourhoods through replicating their own everyday environments. The exhibition offers a thought-provoking insight into the valient struggles that these young people have been through, in order to cope with daily lives which are dominated by violence and poverty” 
The Story Boxes project looked specifically at the architectural context surrounding and enabling childhood in London, as part of the bigger ‘Shrinking Childhood’ exhibition exploring (the absence of) childhood in the city today.

Project Brief

Through a 3 month residency at Thomas Abney Primary School, Febrik build upon work developed with year 5 and 6 students at the school the previous term, through the project ‘Sense of Space’. The two linked projected, explored ideas about space, childhood and the city at different scale and using different mediums.
The aim was to develop a critical and imaginative perspective on public space and the presence of children within it. The project helped children to reveal the tangible elements behind their emotional responses to spaces. They used a variety of mediums, concluded through photography to document and analyze spaces they enjoy and spaces they would like to change within their direct environment. They looked at impactful social events, characters and spatial elements that contribute to their responses, creating a new map of childhood in the city, which rearranged parts of the spaces to visit with spaces to avoid.

In addition to their personal portfolios for Sense of Place, the children in pairs, created 15 story boxes lined with written and visual stories of change. The boxes were used to construct a playful 1:1 installation and used as the basis for a 3D puzzle game, which mimicked the complex process of searching for childhood spaces in the city. Playing the game established the importance of children’s imaginations and propositions in creating a safer and more child-centred urbanity.    

Reem Charif:
United Kingdom +447879493527

Mohamad Hafeda:

United Kingdom +447583411395