Architecture Conference: The Decorated School

The Decorated School Research Network is an international project that researches the relationships between architects, artists and educators in integrating artworks as part of the fabric of the school environment. The network organizes conferences, publications, and supports a web-based archive for collecting material and documenting those aspects of the school building and grounds that contain integrated artwork produced by artists, craftsmen and sculptors at or near to the time that the school was constructed. Recovering the ‘decorated’ dimension of the school is aimed at enriching scholarly knowledge of educational, architectural and art histories, and raising public awareness and interest in the cultural value of school environments which are most vulnerable to alteration or destruction due to neglect, renovation or rebuilding.

The conference at Northeastern University School of Architecture is planned as a workshop for presenting research papers on the integration of art into the architecture of the interwar and postwar school in North America (Canada, United States and Mexico).

The aim of the conference is to explore interdisciplinary frameworks for analyzing those elements that were added or applied to the school’s architecture such as murals, ceramics, sculptures, paddling pools, furniture, fountains, landscaping and planting, name panels, color schemes, aspects which have often been considered merely ‘decorative’ or secondary to the primacy of architectural design.

While the integration of art into the fabric of the school is part of a broader project of integrating art into everyday environments, the aim of the workshop is to conceptualize the specificity of children and education as privileged audiences and institutions for implementing such a radical cultural policy.

The event will host keynote presentations by the leaders of the Decorated School Research Network, Dr Catherine Burke, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and Dr Jeremy Howard, Art History, University of St Andrews.

Conference Schedule

  • 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Registration and orientation
  • 1:30 PM –  2:00 PM: Presentation of the Decorated School Research Network
  • 2:00 PM – 3:30PM: Presentations of research papers
  • 4:00PM – 5:00PM: Response of moderators Dr. Roy Kozlovsky, Dr Catherine Burke, and Dr Jeremy Howard
  • 6:00 – 7:00 PM: Keynote lecture by Dr Catherine Burke or Dr Jeremy Howard at the West Village Auditorium

Call for Papers

Proposals of no more than 500 words are requested by 15 January 2012. Acceptance notifications will be sent by January 31, 2012. Please submit abstracts along with your name, educational status, and institutional affiliation, to

Papers are invited on issues related to (but not limited to) the following themes:

  • The specificity of art commissioned for the schooled child
  • Public programs and organizations sponsoring art in school buildings
  • Art and community building
  • Politics of memory, identity and representation in school art
  • Modern architecture and the plastic and decorative arts
  • Furniture design
  • Aesthetic education
  • The construction of modern childhood
  • Child development theories
  • Children literature and the visual arts
  • Preservation and conservation


Dr. Roy Kozlovsky
Northeastern University School of Architecture
Ryder Hall 151
360 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115