Art Meets Culture: 30 Classrooms Around The World

Julian Germain began his “Classroom Portraits” series in northeast England in 2004, but the project’s scope has since expanded globally.

“By presenting different pupils, different schools, different year groups, Germain asks questions about contemporary educational practices and social divisions,” Archive Magazine wrote of the project in October 2005.

“I never tell the students how they should look but ensuring that everybody has a clear view of the camera requires concentration and patience. Each pupil has to be aware of their place in the picture,” Germain wrote to Brain Pickings’ Maria Popova.

Even after eight years, “Classroom Portraits” is still catching the public eye. A user-curated gallery of select photos from the project rose to the front page of social new site Reddit on Oct. 9. A photo book of the project was released this summer.

With its global perspective, the British photographer’s project might be considered a sampling, albeit a tiny one, of what different cultures value with regards to education.

Is it frightening that a two-grade science class in Oklahoma contains only eight pupils? What does the artist’s choice in highlighting mathematics and natural sciences classes in South American countries suggest about the future of that part of the world?

There are also cultural clues at the periphery of some shots — a shorn corgi in Taiwan, a cardboard Michael Jordan cutout, students dressed in camouflaged clothing in the United States. Each picture provokes questions about the class environment and the society outside of school.

Germany, Düsseldorf, Year 7, Englishclassroom 1 germanyThe Netherlands, Rotterdam, Secondary Group 3, Motor Mechanicsclassroom 2 the netherlandsCuba, Havana, Playa, Year 9, national television screening of film ‘Can Gamba’Classroom 3 ArgentinaArgentina, Buenos Aires, San Fernando, Year 3 SecondaryClassroom 4 ArgentinaTaiwan, Ruei Fang Township, Kindergarten, ArtClassroom 5 TaiwanTokyo, Japan, Grade 5, Classical Japaneseclassroom 6 TokyoNigeria, Kano, Ooron Dutse, Senior Islamic Secondary Level 2, Social StudiesClassroom 7 NigeriaUSA, Oklahoma, Barnsdall, Grade 4 & 5, ScienceClassroom 8 OklahomaUSA, St Louis, Grade 4 & 5, GeographyClassroom 9 St. LouisUSA, Oklahoma, Avant, Grade 4 & 5 Social SciencesClassroom 10 OklahomaPeru, Tiracanchi, Secondary Grade 2, MathematicsClassroom 11 PeruPeru, Cusco, Primary Grade 4, MathematicsClassroom 12 PeruArgentina, Buenos Aires, Grade 4, Natural ScienceClassroom 13 ArgentinaBrazil, Belo Horizonte, Series 6, MathematicsClassroom 14 BrazilBrazil, Cipó, Series 4, GeographyClassroom 15 BrazilBahrain, Saar, Grade 11, IslamicClassroom 16 BahrainQatar, Grade 10, ReligionClassroom 17 QatarQatar, Grade 8, EnglishClassroom 18 QatarYemen, Sanaa, Secondary Year 2, EnglishClassroom 19 YemenYemen, Manakha, Primary Year 2, Science RevisionClassroom 20 YemenSaudi Arabia, Dammam, Kindergarden, ActivitiesClassroom 21 Saudi ArabiaHolland, Heerenveen, Secondary Year 1, Sports DayClassroom 22 HollandHolland, Drouwenermond, Primary Year 5, 6, 7 & 8, HistoryClassroom 23 HollandEngland, Wolsingham, Year 12, EnglishClassroom 24 EnglandEngland, Erith, Year 10, EnglishClassroom 25 EnglandEngland, Washington, Year 7 (first day), RegistrationClassroom 26 EnglandEngland, Bradford, Year 7, ArtClassroom 27 EnglandEngland, Keighley, Year 6, History Classroom 28 EnglandWales, Felindre, Reception and Years 1 & 2, Numeracy Classroom 29 WalesEngland, Seaham, Reception and Year 1, Structured Play Classroom 30 England

Credit: Julian Germain

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6 thoughts on “Art Meets Culture: 30 Classrooms Around The World

  1. Interesting concept. It’s interesting to see how culture is highlighted in education across the world. Very nice!

  2. This is nice. I wouldn’t have thought schools would be similar yet this different across the world. Thanks for posting.

  3. Hey, this is real’ cool. The classrooms in some of these countries have less learning materials on their walls – just something I observed. Cool…thanks for posting.

  4. Pingback: Art Meets Culture: 2013 Sony World Photography Awards | KolorBlind Mag

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