Exploring and Visualising space

Artist: Katy Connor

Participants: 9 children aged 4/5 and 9 young people aged 9/10

Date: 2nd March 2017

Venue: Haytor View Primary School, Newton Abbot, Devon

Museum Objects: 3 objects from RAMM’s World Journeys Handling Collection:

2 Hand-painted maps, 20th Century, made by a local man representing British colonies. Donated in 2005/6.

Nigerian/Benin bird, brass cast, contemporary example of traditional cockerel produced in Nigeria for over a millennia.

Aims of activity: Using the museum objects as the initial inspiration, the aim of the sessions was for the children to explore ideas around journeys and mapmaking, and make their own creative work on this theme.

Activity: Katy led the children through a series of creative experiments using GoogleEarth, digital photography and GPS drawing to introduce ideas around perspective, scale and viewpoint. The hand-drawn RAMM maps were used to discuss different ways maps are created, how space and place are visualised using traditional and satellite mapping techniques.

In the workshops the Benin Rooster became a travelling ‘character’ and a signifier of location as well as being used to illustrate the concept of a ‘bird’s eye’ view.

The children created their own maps and models of satellites using drawing, painting, projections, sculpture and photography.

Creative processes used: drawing using traditional media, modelling using traditional materials, digital photography, GPS drawing using GPX Master app on ipads


  • Having physical objects from the museum gave the young people an accessible entry point into the project –they were able to trace pathways and journeys and explore how mapping has changed as a result of digital technology
  • The young people used the museum objects to work in new, innovative ways using new digital media to create their own digital artwork.
  • Hatyor View Primary School has been supported to engage with RAMM collections


  • Concepts around mapping, space and geo-location were new and exciting to the young people and creating artwork around this theme was new to them.
  • The artist’s introduction of the theme using both the historic maps and the digital maps such as Google earth to describe different ways of visualising and describing space and location was innovative.
  • The artist was able to excite and inspire the young people by using familiar technology in unexpected ways, encouraging them to think about aspects of technology that is ‘unseen’ or ‘hidden’, such as satellites and GPS.


  • Equipment was an issue as the school doesn’t have any mobile devices such as ipads. Equipment had to be borrowed from other schools, the artist and Daisi.
  • Processes around loan of handling collections from RAMM to school need consideration for the future, as transport and insurance of objects was not straightforward


 “The museum maps were essential to the workshops as a comparison means of mapping site and location. We discussed them in relation to how maps used to be made and how we map now using google earth and satellites,” Artist Katy Connor

 “If you just had a map you wouldn’t be able to do all those things you can do now with google earth” Young person 10 yrs

 “I like the way Katy works, she is very allowing, if I have an idea she lets me try it out” Young person, 9 yrs