Plastic with Louisa Penfold

In this episode, Anna chats to curator Louisa Penfold about one of the materials which she uses in her research, plastic. Louisa studies the use of materials-based learning for children, compared to other traditional teaching methods which tend to focus on words and numbers. Louisa shares her top tips for parents and teachers on how to use materials for learning at home or in the classroom.

About Louisa

Louisa is a curator who works with children in art museums. She is currently undertaking her PhD in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham in partnership with the learning departments at Tate and The Whitworth Art Gallery in the United Kingdom. Louisa has previously worked as a children’s curator at the Ipswich Art Gallery in Australia and as a Research Fellow on Serpentine Galleries ‘Changing Play’ program. She created the blog ‘Art Play Children Learning’ to support artists, curators and educators developing children’s creative learning environments. The blog features a variety of practical resources including interviews with education experts, tips for designing material-based learning environments and strategies for facilitating enquiry-based learning. 

Louisa recently had her essay ‘Material matters in children’s creative learning’ published in MIT’s Journal of Design and Science. The essay looks at the importance of materials in children’s learning. In particular, it talks about how the coming together of a new materialist approach to education with the experimental practices of artists and designers can open up expansive possibilities for children’s creative learning. In this podcast, Louisa discusses these ideas and how they relate to topics such as the development of school curriculum, the assessment of learning and the epistemological differences between science and the arts.

Read more about Louisa’s work on her website, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.