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Students splash colour in playground

Fourth year Graphic Design students researched, designed and installed a garden mural to inject some creativity into the playground of city-centre Tollcross Primary School.

Tollcross Primary School mural
Tollcross Primary School, courtesy of Abbie Swan

Zoe Patterson, Director of the Graphic Design Programme at Edinburgh College of Art, was delighted when a parent from Tollcross Primary School got in touch asking for help. 

A group of parents from the school had started to overhaul the playground in an effort to improve the health and wellbeing of the children. With resources being scarce, the parents reached out to local organisations and institutions for creative input.

A project like this immediately appealed to Zoe's desire to facilitate community-based projects for her students.

Getting creative

Abbie Swan, Lucy Martin and Yasmin Serrano Price formed the student trio whose design was chosen by the pupils and parents at the school. The students were delighted at the positive effect of the project both on the pupils and on their own sense of Graphic Design:

Going to the school and seeing the playground made us realise how important this project is. The playground was quite grey, not a very inspiring or stimulating place for kids, but they were unbelievably energetic. We worried they might be shy with us, but they were just such fun.

Abbie Swan, Lucy Martin and Yasmin Serrano PriceStudent designers of playground

Recognising their own characters and ideas in the students’ detailed plans was a real boost for the children and increased their self-confidence. When the teacher asked them how they felt about the designs, they replied ‘I feel really good’, ‘I feel happy’ and one boy said ‘I feel like I can do anything!’

Opening doors

The students spent a week implementing their designs and their mural now takes pride of place in the playground. But the benefits didn't stop there.

It’s been really satisfying painting on this scale. It seemed so daunting, but we all really enjoyed the hands-on nature of it as well as the creative aspect.

Lucy Martin4th year Graphic Design student

This was quite a large-scale mural for our first one so we feel we could take on more next time. It has opened doors. If you’re doing it just for yourself, it doesn't matter so much if you mess it up, but this really has a meaning and a purpose and we’re thrilled the kids like it.

Abbie Swan4th year Graphic Design student

Find out more

Working with schools to improve playgrounds and learning

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