We are incredibly excited to announce that we have been successful in receiving support from Arts Council England to expand our project. This additional funding will enable us to work more closely with local schools and youth centres through a tailored outreach programme. It also allows us to offer many more activities as part of our festival. Their support is also enabling us to bring in other artists and creatives across the project. Please check back next month when we will be releasing some of our programme information. We’ve also had a great response from the teaching community through our online questionnaire which has been shaping the ideas for the artworks we are creating. If you are an educator, we would love to hear from you, you can respond to our questions here:
December was a busy month for us. We spent much of this month making connections with the local community in Openshaw and those nearby, who we will be working closely with to create our responsive artworks. We met Gorton Visual Arts Group and got to hear about their recent work with All Saints Primary School, we ran a creative discussion group with West Gorton Youth Centre along with project worker Angel Sweeney and visited YPAC Manchester in Ardwick to hear about their young people’s opinions on education. We also spent time developing our own skills through attending a workshop with the fantastic Invisible Flock who taught us how to make digitally responsive artworks connected to the big wide web! See video above for one the prototypes we made in our workshop – a robot who danced when anyone tweeted the word ‘xmas’.
Having completed our research phase, we have finally secured a space for building a series of installation artworks to engage the public! This comes in the form of a disused primary school, the home of Rogue Artist Studios new project space in Gorton, Greater Manchester. We are currently in the process of applying for funding to run a weekend-long festival of activities and an outreach programme with the local community in the spring. This would allow us to bring in 9 other artists to work on the project, from musicians and technologists to poets.
As part of our research we headed to Contact Theatre for WHY! Festival to speak to secondary schools about The Next Term and to collect their ideas for how education could be improved. We also met some fantastic facilitators such as Hattie, founder of The Politics Project: a fantastic social enterprise that works with schools to help give young people a voice through democratic education.
As we look towards drawing our R& D to a close, we headed to the London Design Festival. The weekend included a fantastic talk on education as well as many fascinating speakers in both art & tech.
We conducted lots of hands-on research with face-to-face interviews as well as delivering our workshops. The aim has been to speak to a mixture of people with as bigger range of experiences with education as possible. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support by those we have approached. As well as forming a key part of our research, the interviews are being filed away for use again in our film a little later down the line of the project….
We began our youth group workshops with WYC, based at the Whitworth in Rusholme. We interviewed two of the group with 19 year-old Ruby & 21 year-old Roxanna. We also delivered a set design workshop to start the conversation which was a great tool for getting a conversation about education. The group were full of ideas!
To kick off the project, we delivered a 2-day workshop with Our Lady of Lourdes – a primary school in Partington, Greater Manchester. We spent both days with a year 6 class who had just completed their SATS exams and are about to take the leap to secondary education. The days were based around a series of activities inspired by our research so far and gave us a great opportunity to put some theory into practice. Our time at Our Lady’s also allowed us the chance to talk to teachers about the main challenges they are facing.