Schools in Helsinki familiarize learners with design through PechaKucha presentations with a toolkit produced by Helsinki Design Week. Helsinki is a pioneer in architecture and design education, says city’s Chief Design Officer Hanna Harris.
Learners at Helsinki comprehensive schools follow a Culture Path from one grade to the next. The path includes suggestions for cultural contents for each grade, and every learner should make at least one cultural visit in a year.
“Culture Path ensures that every learner has an opportunity to be familiarized with various cultural contents and cultural operators during their basic education,” says Pedagogical Specialist Panu Hatanpää of the City of Helsinki Education Division.
“Familiarizing learners with culture through Culture Path visits is part of new creative learning at Helsinki schools, and it is closely linked to familiarizing learners with design and design thinking,” Hatanpää emphasizes and points out that design is included in Culture Path contents.
There are no visits by school groups to Helsinki Design Week events this year. Visits are replaced by a toolkit produced by Helsinki Design Week for organizing PechaKucha presentations, one of the Design Week’s key programme items. PechaKucha is a form of storytelling, in which the presenter talks about a topic with 20 images, 20 seconds about each.
Photo: Helsinki Design Week / Aleksi Poutanen
“PechaKucha is a good method for learners to practice making a presentation in front of an audience and to talk about topics of importance to them. For the audience, PechaKucha is a good method to practice listening,” Hatanpää says.
Design education in Helsinki
Design education is also in focus at Design Museum: A&DO Learning Centre for Architecture and Design organizes DesignLab: Mini Jam at the museum and online on 11 September. Talks by specialists and design-themed jamming shed light on future architecture and design learning and on the tone that public participation brings to urban design. The event is supported by the City of Helsinki.
“Helsinki has been a pioneer in architecture and design education for many years,” says Chief Design Officer Hanna Harris of the City of Helsinki. “We have several teachers and schools in Helsinki dedicated to the theme.”
For example, the Arabia Comprehensive School teaches design as part of creative problem solving that crosses subject boundaries, and the methods of design education are used in all subjects on grades 1–9. The Kruununhaka Comprehensive School for grades 7–9 offers a design track for local students.
“The City of Helsinki has joined forces with design organizations and projects to develop contents for architecture and design education for use by teachers, and we have participated in varied design collaborations. Our next step is to develop long-ranging activities within the City organization,” Harris asserts.
“I consider the following to be of very high importance: architecture and design education provides children and young people with means for creative problem solving and for the development of their identity. They learn to comprehend their neighbourhoods, to understand planning and various materials, and they obtain tools to participate in building our joint future.”
Helsinki Design Week’s PechaKucha toolkit is freely available to all. (Please note that the toolkit content is in Finnish and Swedish only).