Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Mapping Student Populations - Displaying Diversity @ Leeds City College

5 years ago, I did an activity to celebrate diversity at our centre. I made a display with a map and country flags and invited students to write their name next to their flag.

The end result captured the diversity of our students and you can read about it here.

On reflection I decided that the display wasn't as tidy as it could have been and that I didn't capture all the students as they didn't all take part. I loved the visual representation and decided to go back to the drawing board.

In May 2012 I got permission to draw a large world map on the wall of a corridor at the building where I work.

I was successful in drawing it and you can read about it here  and watch the video if you would like to know how I did it.

For a long time I tried to get the drawing covered with perspex. Quotes came in at 100's of pounds as the 50kg weight of 8mm perspex (3x2m) was extremely costly. I abandoned that quest.

Finally I discovered a solution; http://www.smartwallpaint.com provided me with a way to protect the image but also make it "editable". I could now draw on it with liquid chalk pens or whiteboard pens.

For my new project I took the data held at College and filtered it out to nationalities. I then created circular flags that (by diameter) represented the population of students from that country.

My class cut out the flags, matched them to the countries using atlases and a big world map in our class. They labelled the flags and checked to see roughly where each country was in the world.

We then went to the map in the corridor and did this;


The display really captures the diversity of our building. It demonstrates what ESOL has achieved for many years - unity through learning.

I'm proud to be able to bring this diversity to a wider audience and hope that you feel inspired to try and do something similar. Whether it's drawing on walls, mapping nationalities or just celebrating diversity in some way... Have fun!
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