Rock garden
Inspired by Phyllis Fagell’s ideas of how educators can help students cope with the Covid-19 pandemic and Phil Smith’s lessons of lockdown, Doctoral Teaching Assistants Claudia Blandon and Sue Langford from the University of Plymouth decided to reclaim an unloved and unused part of a home garden.
They documented and explored some of their learning while reclaiming the potential of an unattended area of the garden. 
This project aims to inspire others to engage with the moment, to identify opportunities to be creative at home with available resources, and produce a tangible outcome of which to be proud. It responds to Fagell and Smith’s call to seek tangible opportunities at home to stimulate learning and creativity outside of formal education. 
‘If the recipe for stress includes uncertainty, insecurity, and absence of control, the antidote is to give kids a sense of empowerment. Academically, that might mean letting them pursue a passion project… Find ways to help kids grieve for what they have lost, cope with uncertainty and adjust to distance learning in a new reality.’ 
– Phyllis Fagell
Passion Project site
The site used for the project, later transformed into a rock garden
Japanese rock garden
A rock garden at Hyakumanben Chion-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan
‘Can we extend an openness that has, for some of us, paradoxically, been generated by lockdown; move into the spaces we have too long vacated, left lonely and unattended, in which to contemplate everything new as a sited thing, every new idea or action as having a specific relation to the world?’
– Phil Smith
This project involves the exploration and documenting of the possibilities for learning while transforming a neglected small outdoor space. The project used materials that were available at home and featured recycling and upcycling where possible, allowing others to devise similar projects with ease.
This project was devised and undertaken by Ms Claudia Blandon (Doctoral Teaching Assistant) and Sue Langford (Doctoral Teaching Assistant), University of Plymouth.