Students in Matthew Brown’s LAN3016 Option Studio “On The Edge” recently returned from a research trip to Newfoundland where they experienced first-hand rural coastal communities' way of life and the complexities that have resulted from outmigration.
The communities of Newtown and Freshwater warmly hosted the students for 3 days and shared with them the unique culture found in rural outports. Students had the opportunity to explore and document resettled communities, local fish plants, tourist attractions, heritage structures, vernacular architecture, and significant cultural landscapes, as well as run engagement workshops with officials and community members to learn from the profound knowledge of the local people.
The two communities will be the subject of student design interventions, the goal of which is to aid in the revival of rural place-based economies. The work from the semester will be compiled into a document that will be given back to the communities as a resource to enable them to undertake their own visioning work while providing fresh perspective.
While in Newfoundland, the students also had the opportunity to tour the Fogo Island Inn and recent work of the Shorefast Organization to better understand the impact of a contemporary vernacular architecture and design on the Island.
The students’ visit ignited an incredible amount of excitement within the rural communities and on the island — their activities were featured on both Newfoundland television and CBC Radio.