Work that involves participation by way of contribution is there because it has been created collectively. When working with people who are in isolated or vulnerable situations the artwork becomes a catalyst for change. Its linage is of activisim and dialogical art practices.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Accident Prevention Workshop

Lead by artist Dawn Sharkey, this workshop with year 3 pupils from Leeds, focused on raising awareness about safety whilst using the road and whilst swimming in the sea. There were four artists involved in facilitating this fun and informative workshop.

There were four groups facilitated by Dawn Sharkey, Larna Campbell, Louise Atkinson and myself. After introduction games we discussed the aims of the workshop which was to create images for banners that would tell young people how to stay safe. The banners would then be displayed in Bradford Bulls Stadium.
First we made people like us to walk on the footpath from card shapes so that the images could be seen clearly.

Next we made cars and placed these on the road. Dawn had made templates of traffic lights, zebra crossings and as you see above traffic islands.

The young people learned how to use the digital camera to take pictures of the different ways to cross the road. Above is people crossing using a subway. We took a photograph of each scene and on our worksheets we did a drawing and wrote what we did.

Next we cut out some letters from what we had written on our worksheets and arranged these on the road scene.We had a great morning it was so much fun. This is what some of the kids said about it:
'It was brilliant today xx'
'I like the teachers so much!'
'I learnt how to be as safe as possible'
'I think it was a fantastic day'

Saturday, 7 June 2008

World Environment Day 6th June

Oh this was sooo much fun!  I worked with Louise Atkinson to make a shanty town with pupils from six primary schools in Leeds.  Whinmoor, Crossgates, Seacroft Grange, Swarcliffe, and Grimes Dyke.

We gathered up all the things that were lying around our homes and local area that were not in use and created some beautiful artwork in the grounds of Temple Newsom.  Below are some pictures of what we did.

We worked in teams of 3-5 and designed and built our own building.

There were lots of decisions to be made about shape, colour, decoration etc.

We all worked together to make it work.

We painted the outside and made curtains and chimneys.

This is how it looked when we put them all together - we even built a bridge!!  And at the end of the day the whole town was recycled and made back into new card, paper and plastic for us to use again.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Bangladeshi mature ladies goup

I am volunteering on a project run by Artworks, Creative Communities, Bradford who are delivering a project focusing on healthly eating with a group of mature ladies from Bangladesh who meet regularly at BEAP in Manningham in Bradford.

When the lead artist Sarah McHenry and I met to discuss the ten week project we agreed that I would do a session on papermaking. I suggested using herbal tea to introduce this to the ladies in and informal way. After a series of sessions where the ladies used dried foods to make patterns, then draw from these patterns we decided that would be a good point to bring in the paper making session.

Some of the ladies were aware of the process and were really looking forward to giving it a go. I allowed them to lead and they encouraged the others in the group to take part. A problem that we face with this group is that many of the ladies don't speak much English. This session was very visual and I found it easy to demonstrate and facilitate with limited verbal communication.

The ladies all loved this process and were delighted when their sheet came out. They used herbal tea to dye the sheets and plants and dried food to decorate. Here are some images of the process.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Arts for Hearts, Year 3

Year three (7-8 year olds)

After lunch I worked with the year three children. This group seemed much more advanced so I adapted the session accordingly. We started with a discussion about health- foods, drinks, activities, sports, staying clean, etc. This group had a good concept of how to be healthy and where able to discuss this confidently in a group.

I decided to give them more ownership over the banner they would create and I split the class into team of 3 and 4 to come up with designs using the themes we had discussed. This worked really well. I called the class back to the floor after 15 minutes of drawing to discuss what they had come up with. I then explained that we had various colours of large squares of felt and that they must decide in their group what colour would be best for their designs. This was a great opportunity to develop their decision-making and negotiating skills whilst in a team. They responded very well and although some team picked the same colour, they were able to come up with solutions that worked for everybody.

The next challenge for the teams was to decide how each person in their team would contribute to the design on the felt square. Each team took an individual approach to this. Some took it turns to do their own picture, some clearly divided up the square into four of three, some gathered around and all drew at the same time, and some where happy to instruct the others in the group and not take part in the actual drawing themselves.

After some time I demonstrated how to cut a hole in the felt to attached it to the banner and called on a volunteer to demonstrate it also and after they had completed this we decided on the layout of the banner by voting and some of the group helped to attach the squares to the banner.

Feedback: ‘That was good’

Arts for Hearts, year 1

Year one (5-6 year olds):
The children in year one were very excited about the activity they would be doing today. After an initial introduction I played a game with them inspired by a games called nonsense poem to encourage them to think in images about health. The tables were set out with paper and pencils and the children walked around the table until I said a word, such as healthy food, whereupon they would draw the first thing that came into their heads. After a minute or two I would ask them to continue walking and then say another phrase, such as staying active or keeping clean until we had covered a range of health topics. This worked well for some children and not so well with others as they were more comfortable sitting and spending time over a drawing. So after this I let them spend some time drawing their own images of health foods, drinks and activities. I encouraged them to use the images from the big sheets and swapped these from table to table to share the information.
About 15 minutes before their break I demonstrated using the fabric paints which they were going o use to decorate their felt square before it went on their banner. Because of the nature of this technique this would be done table by table so that they could wear aprons and cover the table. The children really enjoyed using the paints as there was a wide variety of colours to use. I was a little concerned about using fabric paints and some of the children found using them quite challenging. Some found it difficult to wait their turn to paint whereas others really enjoyed having more time to draw or play with jigsaws.
After each child had decorated a square of felt I then put these together on the banner. Some of the children helped me with this and others decorated the lettering, which said ‘Healthy and Happy’.

Children: ‘I liked painting’, ‘That was fun’
Teacher ‘I think they really enjoyed this process’

Arts for Hearts at St Stephens Primary School

St Stephen's Primary School in Bradford and Kala Sangam, Bradford commisioned four artists to work with eight year groups to create artwork around the theme of healthly living. I was asked to work with year 1 and year 3 using constructed textiles. Above are some images of the planning stages.

Aims: To create a semi permanent piece of art work using the theme of healthy eating and exercise with each class to be completed and ready for display by the end of the day

Objectives: Each group will be given the opportunity to discuss what they understand about healthy living
Each group will be involved in creative activity, which looks at aspects of healthy living
Each child will have the opportunity to contribute to a class banner to be displayed at the end of the day in school assembly

Outline of workshop: The workshop is to last for two hours for each class. At the beginning of each session there will be an open discussion about health followed by drawing and then a demonstration of the materials that the children will use to create the banner. The technique I will be using is taken from appliqué. Usually in appliqué the shapes are sewn onto the backing fabric. As we are constrained by time and skills I will be using an open mesh fabric as the backing cloth so that the shapes can be tied on at the corners.

Monday, 10 March 2008

March 2008, International Women's Day - A better world in your Hands'

Participants were provided with materials with which to decorate with their plastic bag Hands with words or images of what they have learned about positive effects hey can have on their environment. The Hands would then be displayed with other Hands made by participants symbolising that our personal efforts combine to make a big difference. There was an opportunity at this point for participants to reflect on the creative experience and add to a feedback tree.

International Womens Day 2008

Images from Workshop at Bradford Cathedral.
Clients Bradford Womens Forum and Kala Sangam

The title of the workshop was be 'A better world in your hands'. The Hands symbolise something universal yet personal. We invited participants to make there own hand from the plastic bags they have brought with them. By using recycled plastic bags we hoped to encourage participants to think about reusing as a way of cutting down waste and in turn reduce their carbon footprint.