grass roots symposium

in august last year i exhibited my work. at the time i had such an overwhelming response that i wanted to just absorb the amazing feelings it gave me. sadly, life took over and i forgot to record how i felt at that time.

so i vowed not to let this happen again.

today i attended the ‘from the grass roots’ symposium: Emerging strategies for Art & Design Education Symposium at margaret street bcu. the idea was to consider four key questions

•  What are the challenges and opportunities art educators in the region are facing at grassroots level?

•  How can curriculum structures effectively support the inclusion of contemporary and digital art practices?

•  How can we effectively assess & celebrate young people’s learning in a way that has meaning for them?

•  What would a joined up approach to Art & Design education in Birmingham look like?

we split into groups and worked through various processes to try to answer the questions. my group considered the last question. we decided it came down to time; time to connect with people within our schools, across other schools, across other learning levels, to connect the dots in every which way possible. we need joined up thinking. my table included artists, a BA tutor, a BA student, a NQT trainer, a support worker for an excluded unit amongst others. it was funny how we all came to the same thoughts and conclusions. lots to think about.

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in the afternoon there were 10 minute presentations from 7 different people, including me. the audience had to pick who they wanted to listen to. i was billed as ‘installing a classroom inside a classroom. exploring a different kind of learning space.’

this is not quite how i see my cube, but i understand why carol felt this is what i should talk about this aspect. i had a prepared script and photos, but overall it didn’t quite go to plan. not actually a problem, i think nerves prevented me from speaking eloquently, but there you go.

anyway, the point is about what happened the rest of the afternoon.

to say i feel inspired is an understatement; the speakers we had were fascinating.

first up was chris francis from st peters school in bournemouth

an illustrator by trade who is now a senior leader within a secondary school responsible for art and photography, chris simply talked us through his approach to the classroom. to say that he rethinks the space constantly undervalues the impact he has. the way he speaks about his students is which such high regard and fascination it was impressive. chris writes a blog about the projects they work on, about the mischief they create, the classroom that is constantly adapting and the impact its having on all of them. some of the projects done include ‘photographing a lie’, create a portrait of a stranger, take your own life as your inspiration. he says to not borrow ideas easily as this compromises opportunities to discover by accident; to experiment for ourselves. he instills creating gaps for students to think deeply, play and practice, struggle and persist, and observe.

utterly brilliant teacher. we should all strive to follow his example. i will be following his blog avidly from now on.

the other speakers were very interesting, also giving me food for thought, but i believe this will keep me thinking for days and days.


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