Respect and friendship

I knew something must be wrong when small groups of staff stand at the edges of your working area looking at what your doing with shaking heads and folded arms obviously horrified at the delivery of your workshop.

To cut a long storey short we were playing musical chairs with a twist and blind mans buff with 30 secondary school students, followed by falling backwards into trusting arms, all activities designed to place participants in positions where trust and respect and friendship are highlighted.

The expectations of the school were so very different from what we were trying to achieve and a quite word in my shell like made me feel extreemly awkward and that this was inapropriate free form woolley liberal nonsence that did not fit into this school of artistic exellance where teachers at the top of their game taught students who learned things!

Oh……..we were trying to demonstrate the values of respect and friendship as the project was designed to include participants in experiencing the core Olympic values and this afternoon we were going to write some thank you cards make some friendship bracelets and do some art and craft stuff you know watch an instruction video showing you how to make some paper flowers and that out of crepe paper, possibly read a poem make little gift holder simple origami sort of pyramids, whatever you want to do really.

I felt pretty humiliated and that how could we be this far into the project and have missed the target so completely. I found myself being shown a display of wildcat sculptures from lce cream tubs and paper mache with leopards painted on them. All 20 of them were formulaicly painted and constructed, obviously a lot more art was involved in creating these sculptures which had shown how to research something and make it.

Fair enough.

Our values project has a budget of £20 materials per day and is not being marked for exam criteria and we send a gift onto the another school as indeed will receive one in turn from them.

I am delivering this with a new collegue and we both have the full support of our project manager who assured us we were doing exactly the kind of thing that was expected of us.

We have three more workshops to deliver and as it happens determination is another of those Olympic values. A quality which we undoubtedly need to reach the end of our programme!


I have decided to switch blogs?

Promted by: Annabell Tileys last post.


And this is because working with other people is really what I am doing all the time and will be for a while. It is also what my professional world is all about. Pooling resources, sharing knowledge, combining skills and ideas to move things forward.

This way of working has become essential for me to survive as an artist and gone is that notion of a discovered tallent with singular recognition as an artist, in the manor of ‘celebrity status’ Annabel describes. This is the model that art education still persists with (in my experience) and is out moded, when was the last time a collage lecturerer rewrote their lesson plans and course objectives? Are they like Norton Motor Cycles and we’ve built them like this for years and they work so why change them…..while far eastern industrial powers launched Honda, Yammah and Suzuki and Norton’s bikes did not survive, neither can our artists now!

Could artists be trained for the world so they work with Head School Teachers, Church Leaders, Landscape designers, Programme Managers, Maths Teachers, Architects, Planning Officers and Wildlife Organizations, Builders and the General Public. Surley the invention and skills of artists is better utilized in the world than put in a don’t touch box. I dont get that.

Anyway another rant over…..and to end I decided to post a picture of the catapult / trebuchet type machine we used in the school hall for a game with secondary school students…a bit of light relief and a really good laugh.

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