My name is Julie Potter and I'm an award-winning artist and designer, specialising in enhancing school environments to maximise student and staff performance.
I got an honours degree in Textile design at Galway, Mayo Institute of Technology. I then went on to do a Honours Diploma in Art and Design Education at the National College of Art and Design.
After graduating, I worked as a secondary school Art teacher for 11 years at Greenhills College, Dublin.
And if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that the school experience, centres around the clock. You are performing within a time slot, usually 40 minutes, and how you use that time is a very personal thing. There are so many variables at play, the subject you teach, the time of day, what students are in attendance and what students are not, the time of year, the weather, etc.
The one constant, on entering a school, whether as a principal, a teacher or a student, is the building. And how that building makes you feel, matters.
Think about it. Staff and students spend up to 30% of their day in school.
The importance of the school environment as a teacher, became apparent to me when I was given an old, converted, metalwork room. It was big, it was empty and it was now our art room.
Keeping the attention of a group of somewhat hyper male students was no easy task. Instead of relying on them to listen to my instruction only, I wanted the physical environment to become like a teacher in itself. After learning more about ‘The School Environment as the Third Teacher’, my classroom slowly became like an Aladdins cave of creativity. I go into detail about that in my Blog.
Teachers and students began experiencing and expressing, an emotional response to the now transformed room. Their relationship to the space, changed. They never said, ‘I like that orange desk, or that yellow storage unit, it was always ‘I love the feel of this room’ or ‘I love spending time in here’.
We enjoyed spending time there. It mattered. Environment, matters.
Environment Impacts Mood | Mood Impacts Performance
After our artroom makeover, word began spreading throughout the school. Soon, the corridors and doors were being painted. The staff room was transformed overnight by a group of teachers. We were amazed at how quickly we could make an impact. It was often remarked on by visitors to the school, most notably school principals.
So, why am I telling you all this?
Because this is how ‘Julie The Genie’ was born. Since 2017, I now work with schools on a full time basis, transforming their physical environments and it the most rewarding experience. Walking away from a space and seeing how it has changed physically is one thing, but then to hear the responses from the students and staff upon seeing it and from there living and learning within it. I really couldn't ask for a more rewarding job. It is job satisfaction at its best!
It can be a revamp of an everyday space such as the reception area, the staff room, the canteen. Or these transformation may include designing spaces that give them new life and purpose. For example, a space that was once used for storage is now a space for students to relax, connect, and communicate, a place for everything.
As schools are so busy, decorating the school can end up at the bottom of a long list of priorities. I can take on the challenge, taking it off your to-do list. If you like, you can have a look at what I do here by looking at the 'Before and After' photographs. You do this by sliding the white line over and back. .
If you feel that you’d like to know more, you can arrange a chat at a time that you feel ready. There is no obligation to commit