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Experiment #4: Destroy

Hypothesis: Destruction can be a creative act in the school context.

Initiated by artist Poppy Green and Bow Arts Learning, Destroy explores destruction as a creative act in the school context. Students are invited to destroy a piece of art and then use the materials to make their own work.

By challenging taboos around destruction and with a focus on process, Destroy supports students to take creative risks, develop skills in critical thinking, articulate their ideas, and work intuitively and independently.

For Phase 1 of Destroy, we worked with Bow School in February 2016. A group of Year 10 GCSE students destroyed Poppy’s sculpture, The Big Yellow Thing, at the Wapping Project Space in our Rum Factory studio complex.

During Phase 2, we worked with Year 9 students from Bow School in Autumn 2016 to develop and extend the project. This time, we invited artists to submit work for the students to destroy, and incorporated Philosophy For Children enquiries into the sessions to deepen the groups' understanding of the concepts behind Destroy. The project culminated in the young people destroying artists' Sid & Jim's piece, Is Here Alright? Following the destruction, the students reflected on the project by collectively compiling a set of conditions that they think enable them to be imaginative. 

Destroy has been an exciting and unusual project for the students and so different to the approaches they are used to in school. Away from the restrictions of the classroom  students were given the freedom and space to create their own three dimensional  artwork. They lost all inhibitions as they explored and manipulated the materials taken apart from Poppy's sculpture to construct their own extraordinary artwork. I am hoping the experience will enable them to take creative risks and be more imaginative with their own art work.

Sarah McEvoy, Head of Art, Bow School

My process is about assessing the properties of the object, and imagining a range of responses to it. What I like best about this approach to sculpture making is that there are endless possibilities. Everyone sees things differently. Destroy seeks to mine this, by presenting materials and a process, and allowing participants to explore and experiment, creating a diverse response from a singular starting point.

Poppy Green, artist


We are seeking secondary schools to continue to develop Destroy with us. Contact if you are interested in working with us.