Cass students host a timber workshop in Freetown

Students involved were Joe Davis, Alex McClean, Dominic Dudley, Stephane Chadwick and Imran Sabur.
Date: 03 August 2013

Researchers from the Projects Office at The Cass have been collaborating on a live research project in Freetown, Sierra Leone since 2008 with local NGO, CESO.

Students, Joe Davis, Alex McClean, Dominic Dudley, Stephane Chadwick and Imran Sabur from Diploma Unit 6 together with The Cass furniture student Tom Harvey, travelled to Freetown with Professor Maurice Mitchell and researchers Bo Tang and Shamoon Patwari in July 2013.

Investigations were based around cultural and physical surveys of two urban neighbourhoods alongside a furniture-making workshop at the Ivor Leigh Memorial School in Kaningo, constructed by Projects Office researchers in 2011.

Working with community carpenters and apprentices, the team used locally sourced timber to prototype classroom desks, benches, blackboards and shelving. Learning from existing techniques, the group adapted and refined the sole use of hand tools and timber to develop appropriate furniture.

An exhibition of live research to date was also showcased at the British Council Sierra Leone HQ, as a celebration of the rich architectural heritage of Freetown.


Planing timber

Making battens

Notching blackboard frames

Trainee carpenters

Classroom in use

Workshop: tablets and blackboard


Map of Kaningo: Student survey

Bridge at Kaningo: Student Survey

Student survey: Measuring levels

Presenting a resident with the surveys of their home

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