Focus on District6 – Alex Noble and Daniela Gachago

Download PPT: FOCUS ON DISTRICT 6 Towards Socially Aware Designers

Presentation details

Presenters: Alex Noble and Daniela Gachago

Institution: Cape Peninsula University of Technology


Conference: presented at the 2016 Inter-Institutional ECP Symposium in Cape Town

Host: Cape Peninsula University of Technology


FOCUS ON DISTRICT 6: Towards Socially Aware Architectural Technologists/Interior Designers: Broadening the minds of ECP students

Alex Noble, ECP Architectural Technology, CPUT

Daniela Gachago, Educational Technology Unit, CPUT

One of the challenges in the current Extended Curriculum Programme in general, and the Architectural Technology and Interior Design Department in particular,   is a lack of socio-political and historical understanding by students. Despite the increased global call for critical citizenship and critical thinking as an essential skill and graduate attribute for students, the teaching falls short in this matter due to curriculum requirements, workload, time constraints and the need to work towards industry expectations.

This paper reflects on a project implemented with ECP Architectural Technology and Interior Design students in term 2 of the 2016 Academic Year. The project was run in collaboration with the District 6 Home Coming Centre and CPUT e-Learning. The project aimed at broadening the students’ understanding of the legacy of Apartheid within the City of Cape Town’s town planning. Combining interdisciplinary lectures on the historical context, a workshop with the D6 museum and the development of a digital story to integrate the historical knowledge with students’ lived experience, we tried to unpack the complexities and messiness of living, studying and working in Cape Town today.

Based on an analysis of students’ digital stories, reflective surveys and focus group conversations, we argue that creating spaces where an engagement with past and current history is possible and essential for a broadening mind set, knowledge and understanding of current social issues affecting student today and developing a passion for social change. Through the process students’ personal relationships with D6 were allowed to emerge. What also came up in and through their conversations are the complex dynamics of negotiating race in today’s classrooms.


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