As I watch my two young children grow up, I am acutely aware of how their creativity is developing. My eldest started school just over a year ago and I regularly scrutinise his school book bag for evidence of anything playful and experimental. He comes home with a lot of colouring in (which incidentally he loves), reading books and spellings every week.
Being a parent of a child in school, puts me in a completely different position than that of an artist, resident in a school or a Participant and Outreach Coordinator working in an arts centre - follow this link for more information. It sounds obvious but I simply wasn't prepared for entering school with my own child. It has been a very dis-empowering experience. I've read umpteen blogs warning of a fast developing crisis of stress and a lack of creativity in our schools and young people. Mummyneedsginsite expresses this succinctly in this blog entry.
Ultimately I want my son and his friends to have the time and space to experiment and play with ideas and the world around them. I'm positive my son's teachers do this for his class on a daily basis. However the constant pressure of assessment has firmly placed failure as a bad thing in my son's mind. This is in spite of the teachers testing the children in an informal way. He is also a very conscientious child. I want my son to find out that failing or getting it wrong is a joyful part of a process of discovering something new. I know art and artists have the capacity to create such spaces, where we don't know and can in turn test out new possibilities.
I want to do something for my son and his friends - to somehow make a difference, and quickly and effectively. So after approaching my son's teachers (who job share), I researched a curriculum resource exploring colour, that they will hopefully use to support their lesson planning. I've suggested art works, provided web links and offered related activity ideas. It's not perfect. I've written it quickly without offering it to anyone to proof read. Unlike articulate, the resource doesn't enable children and staff to directly respond to art works. It's a very, very small temporary sticking plaster.
But it's a start.
Since emailing my colour resource to the school I keep finding more that I want to add - including example Jessica Stockholder, Clare Thornton's DIY Shades of Bristol and also a reference to the Turner and Colour exhibition at Turner Contemporary in Margate. The Start Display, Tate Modern (Boiler House Level 2) is focused around colour; it includes useful information, questions and documentation. I also found Fabricating Color - A Multidisciplinary Conference on Color and Method at University of Chicago Arts to be really useful. The conference schedule beautifully outlines what colour can be through exploring the science of colour, how humans and animals make sense of colour and how colour has come to have social and cultural meaning. I've also come across Worlds Favourite Colour Project, which has been programmed by Hull 2017 City of Culture. Follow the link and take part.
Hopefully I will find ways of making further interventions into my son's school.
Small steps. Small steps.
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