City Detective. Istanbul, Turkey

Education has different aspects in different cultures, but it is materialized in a very similar way. Education has always been a topic between different economic classes, ethnicities and religious beliefs, that is never easy to reach in a just way. 

While struggles continue on equal access to traditional education, there are some people working on alternatives to the common approach of learning. City Detective from Beyoğlu, Istanbul is one example where we see a broader range of tools to get information, focusing on “ways of learning” instead of “ways of educating”.

City Detective takes the city as an educational platform and takes children outside of the classroom to perceive real life by using all of their senses, learn by experience, observe, and remember by their priorities. What makes City Detective special is that they give the freedom to children to decide what they want to learn. 

Maps are one of their tools where they can record the experiences; but they are not created by considering geo-political economies, and especially, they are not created by grown-ups. The maps are designed after several site-walks where the assistants take the children, and leave them to be “the city detective”. After the walks, several workshops are arranged to understand what senses were triggered in which locations, how children express or visualize them, and how they communicate about their experience. The focal spots get marked after these workshops and meetings, and the maps get created. Via this participatory way of mapping, the experience becomes a tool that can be re-produced for other children from other locations, who are willing to learn and experience their cities. 

These different approaches are vital for most of the children, who are actually very different characters with different interests and capabilities, but collected in the same room, “to learn” the same things in the same way. City Detective wants to fill this gap in the traditional education system, where there is no space for differences. As their priority is to give space to “different”, the tools of City Detective open a new alternative to the new ways of learning.

Liana Kuyumcuyan from c-r-a-c-k-s talked with Gizem Kıygı and Nur Akdemir from City Detective

Video by Volkan Işıl
Subtitles and translation by Barış İne

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