A packed room of 30 dutch language students, who all spoke better english than me. A lively chatty group who got stuck into drawing and making which was inspired by some of the masks in the Sainsbury Centre collection.
These photos are from a session at SCVA working with the handling collection (my first time) and with a group of young people with special educational needs. The group had a very wide range of needs and abilities and I learnt a lot from working with them. I also learnt a lot (i.e what I won't do next time) from working with the handling collection and the brilliant practitioners in the Education Dept. there.
Working with teenagers can be challenging sometimes, you either get a lively bunch who won't stop talking or, you get the groups who literally do not say a word. This group was of the second variety. So it was pleasantly surprising that, when asked to choose artefacts in the Sainsbury Collection which they then had to mimic with their bodies, they all got stuck in and gave it a go!
This activity was designed with looking in mind. We get bombarded with visual language all the time and rarely get the chance to stop and look, free from pressure to make judgments or criticisms.
Participants are asked to work in pairs, one stands facing the object and tries to mirror the object using their body. The other participant, has their back to the object and is looking at their partner, uses the opportunity to do some quick life drawing. The pairs then swap a number of times so each gets a chance to be model, drawer and to look at a number of objects they are attracted to in the collection.
As well as looking, the other result from this activity is the energy it generates especially in a gallery setting. There is lots of movement, stifled giggles and curiosity from passersby. It can turn an otherwise uninterested group into a lively, moving, autonomous, enquiring and chatty bunch (temporarily at least!).
Working in the gallery space in the Sainsbury Centre is always fun, you are surrounded by inspiring artefacts that can feed your imagination whilst you are working . This middle school group had been looking at masks in the collection including some paintings by Francis Bacon and Modigliani. We used cardboard and tape to build 3-d forms with the tape also used for decoration and adornment. The students could then see their masks in the gallery setting and create their own juxtapositions. There were about 20 or so in the group and each worked energetically and purposefully to create individual responses.
These are from a session at the Sainsbury centre yesterday. We were looking at the face and its character, expression and emotions. By limiting the materials and time, we had to work quickly and intuitively. Some emotions were easier to convey like happy and angry. Others, like unsure and proud were more subtle and harder to get across.
Here are a few photos from a workshop session with myself and Manga artist Chie Kutsuwada. The children had great fun dressing up and creating magical characters with intriguing names and super powers. We had the delightful "Tractor GIrl" whose special power was mowing lawns really fast, "Rainbow Girl" who could magically create rainbows and "Invisibella" to name but a few.
It was a real privilege to work along side Chie whose tireless dedication meant every child (all 17 of them) got to take home a beautiful Manga drawing of themselves in character.
This workshop was part of a series at the Sainsbury Centre for the JAPAN: Kingdom of Characters exhibition which runs until the 24th June.
Yesterday I was working with two schools groups that hadn't met each other before. They are going to be working together on a science and citizenship project about identity and diversity. There were thirty 14 year olds in the room and the energy was quite spectacular! We did loads of icebreakers and drama warm ups to try to get the groups to mix up and to be honest I think we could have done this for the entire session.
But we moved things along and got everyone working together to create an enormous paper canvas, then draw, write and ultimately make connections between each other using coloured tapes. The result was magnificently chaotic and reflected the energy that had been in the room and I think some of those initial 'first meeting barriers' had come down. It also looked a bit like a london tube map after a heavy night.
Had a really exciting morning yesterday running the Mini Studio at the Sainsbury Centre (SCVA) in Norwich. I wanted to create a magical, playful space for under 5s to come into to explore, play and create. I started the session of with some songs and some giggling and then let the 20 or so under 5 yr olds loose in the education room of the SCVA. As the morning progressed it became apparent that we would need to go on some sort of procession as a celebration and an ending to the session. So, me armed with my ukulele and the shakey eggs passed around, the children and parents gathered with their objects they had created and we paraded and sang our way through the SCVA and out into the autumn sunshine.
I am loving doing this sort of work and Mini- studio is such a great platform to experiment with new ideas partly because the participants are all really open minded and willing to give things a go. These sort of experiential sessions are really inspired by Charlotte Arculus and the Theatre of Adventure. I went on some training run by Charlotte about a year ago and my workshops have never really been the same since!