Freshly arrived to London from Belgium, everything seems different just because it sounds different. Though sometimes it actually is.
Yesterday, I got to join a colleague of mine to Mayflower Primary school, whom Bow Arts has been working with for quite a while, judging by the numerous art projects disseminated around the school.
This was the very beginning of the project. Five kids, between six and eight years old, have the opportunity to imagine something, anything, to improve their courtyard. This might seem a bit daunting for such young children, but the artist asked all the right questions. She helped them to see what could be improved “is it gloomy? How many colours can you see?”. I was amazed that such young children really seemed to grasp the point of the project.
What struck me most, is the total freedom given to the kids. They developed their own ideas for what they would like the commission to look like.
I used to be a teacher in Brussels, and the school I worked with did propose an Art project to improve the courtyard and the hallway. But the students were only involved in the making, never in the thinking. So they never really owned the project. Mayflower Primary School's pupils will be the author of whatever happens in the next few weeks. Of course, they will be guided, but not imposed upon.
In the end, this project will have been imagined and realised by children, and for children.