Artist Educator Albert Potrony worked with Stephen Kilgour at Cherry Garden School to plan and develop a project to celebrate their move from their old school in Bermondsey to a brand new facility in Peckham. Sessions were experiential in focus, offering pupils and staff the opportunity to make and experience art using a range of new media, materials and creative processes. The project was a continuation of an approach that saw Albert and Stephen bring together pupils, staff and other members of the school community to work collaboratively as part of a team in 2016.
The project saw Albert work closely with class teachers to provide support and guidance with the processes behind developing and facilitating arts-driven creative experiences for children in the classroom. Albert explains how the project came about: ‘I met with the Key Stage teachers to develop the plans and tailor them to individual children's needs as much as possible. Stephen adds: ‘The teachers were able to liaise with Albert after each session, to adapt strategies and techniques to ensure that the children were able to access the activities in the most productive way.’
The project was linked with the spring term topic of ‘People Who Help Me’. Members of the school community, who would usually work outside of the classroom, were again invited to participate in the project. This year saw Blossom (Cook), Ros (Caretaker), Pat (Cleaner) and Rebecca (School Nurse) join a session and demonstrate how they use their tools and equipment within their roles each day. Blossom, Ros, Pat and Rebecca each shared insights on how best to use rolling pins, drills, mops and stethoscopes – before joining the group to create artworks by using the items in unconventional ways.
Albert and Stephen acted as ‘learning mentors’ across the project – sharing their expertise and leading reflections on new skills with class teachers along the way. Albert brought a ‘knowledge of art practices and more of an ‘out of the box’ approach to exploring ideas’ whilst Stephen provided a ‘knowledge of the class groups, the children, and the project aims’. This dual perspective ensured that there was a long-term impact on teaching in school. Class teachers were encouraged to consider how they might incorporate these techniques into their planning for the summer term.
The collaboration was also beneficial for both Albert and Stephen. Albert explains: ‘I gained a deeper knowledge of the group and of individual children's needs’ adding, ‘I always learn a lot just by seeing how teachers and TA's work with the children.’ Stephen also tells us: ‘Albert gives teachers the confidence to be more daring with their creative development sessions with the children.’
One of the most successful achievements of the project for Albert was the ‘moments of excitement where both children and adults were lost in the large-scale activities, having fun and working together’ and for Stephen it was the ‘impact on the children and impact on the teachers in terms of forward planning’.
It was amazing using the harnesses and cranes for the children with mobility issues to be able to participate on the large-scale paintings with brooms, dusters, spray bottles... they loved flying over the artwork and spraying paint as they moved along.
Albert Potrony, Lead Artist
The project resulted in an exhibition where the work was shared with pupils, staff and family members. Among the artworks created were a large collaborative watercolour painted with mops, UV painted sculptures using cotton wool bandages and syringes, dough sculptures baked in the school kitchen and large-scale structures built using drills, saws and screwdrivers.
If you are interested in working with us to develop a bespoke project for your school, please contact email@example.com or 020 8980 7774.