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Space, place and purpose in designing Australian schools

Julie McLeod (Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Article publication date: 30 September 2014




The purpose of this paper is to canvass debates arising from encounters between architectural and educational history and to introduce a themed section of four papers exploring aspects of the history of school design and the spatial arrangements of Australian schooling across the twentieth century.

Design/methodology/approach –

This is an interpretive introductory essay that characterizes trends in historical and sociological studies of school space and materialities, and synthesizes the arguments and contributions of the four companion papers.


A case is made for greater exchange among educational, architectural and social historians and key insights and findings from the four papers concerning school space, design and educational ideas are summarized. Themes of community, citizenship and progressive education are highlighted.


The value of the paper lies in introducing the context and scholarly debates framing a collection of four papers that seek to open up new avenues for investigating the history of modern schooling through studying intersections between school space and design and educational purposes and aspiration.



The Australian Research Council, 2011-2013; and 2012-2016.


McLeod, J. (2014), "Space, place and purpose in designing Australian schools", History of Education Review, Vol. 43 No. 2, pp. 133-137.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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