What is ‘oddness’ and how does it circulate and attach to things in school?

The Odd Project: feeling different in the world of education is a research project conducted by researchers and artists at Manchester Metropolitan University and Sheffield Hallam University with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Over three years, the team has worked with students, staff and parents at Alma Park Primary School in Manchester, with partners from Catalyst Psychology, the NCB and the Anti-Bullying Alliance, as a loose research collective.

Throughout this research project, traditional ideas about things in school being fixed were troubled, made more fluid and understood in different ways: children’s identities, behaviours, relationships between adults and young people…school time, and even the building around them.

We understood school as an assemblage, a moving collection of bodies, of matter, of relationships and even of time. Thinking about school in that way, we needed to use different techniques to attune to its movements and energy streams. The Odd Project has used creative methods to feel, think and experience how difference proliferates in the context of a primary school. 

We’ve approached ‘oddness’ in many ways, using stethoscopes for example, to listen to the school’s textures. We’ve closely considered how we work in ethical ways with young people in school, responding to the challenges presented by the interplay of power relationships between young people and adults, and us as researchers. We’ve moved towards the experiences of bodies. We’ve attempted to sense our ways into the flows and systems of school life and sought to open things up – if only briefly. Now our time in school is finished, we want to turn to others, including you. 

The team wants to connect their work to your work; their experiences to yours. Click this link to subscribe to Odd Notes, a selection of highlights from The Odd Project emailed to you in the coming weeks.

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