For 18 months, Lucy Stockton-Smith worked with teachers and students to plan, design, build and fully utilise two geodesic ecology domes in the grounds of the school. Each dome now houses a microenvironment in which food crops are grown. The ‘Perma-pod’ is an environment which follows the principles of sustainable land use. It incorporates a wormery and is used to cultivate plants and wildlife which are ‘companions’, and beneficial to each other and the soil. The ‘Techno-pod’ aims to recreate contemporary farming methods, including the use of pesticides and intensive cultivation.
These contrasting environments have served as a platform from which artists have led a diverse range of workshops across the school curriculum, in science, art, design and technology, geography, music and history. The project has seized upon areas where science has overlapped into other subjects.
Students have been growing a huge variety of fruit and vegetables both inside and outside the domes. They conduct wildlife surveys, document the plant life and use it for inspiration for poetry and writing. Others are currently researching and designing a medieval garden.
Other artists have come in to work on the project and lead workshops, including Antony Hall and Marcus Ahlers. Artists’ workshops have included making solar ovens and solar puddles; a bio-acoustic project; and the building of a rain water harvesting system and an automatic irrigation system for the domes.
The project was developed with Creative Partnerships Kent and is supported by Pfizer and Wight Salads.