workshop “getting art into schools”

writing

the following notes are for the artists that participated in my workshop “getting art into schools”.  Harare,  8 May

Healthy food posters,
an art project for primary schools

traing session

a look into the future During the morning school assembly the headmaster of the local primary school proudly announces the children’s poster campaign for ‘healthy food’. Thirty-two posters made with black crayons on paper  prominently hang in all the classrooms of the school. Each child that has worked on the artwork for the poster has thought and discussed ‘healthy food’ with their classmates. During the course of the week each class-teacher  will use the ‘healthy food’ poster to talk about healthy food with their class.

Earlier that week a group of artists came to visit the school. Through an active workshop the artists created an awareness of healthy food by telling the children draw and talk as a way to communicate this message. They engaged the children to talk about healthy food in relation to their own health. Each child made a poster using coarse black crayon on paper advocating healthy food and discussed the topic with their peers. We want children to reflect on themselves and on others.

The workshop
During the art workshops in the primary schools, artists will work with several classes to create awareness posters (such as healthy food). They will have approximately 90 minutes per class in which children will make a poster. As an introduction to each lesson the artists will address the class with the awareness theme and allow the children to unfold the theme through a open brainstorm session. After the introduction the artists will focus on the making of the poster. They will not teach children how to draw but rather focus on self-awareness and their own creativity. They do this by asking the children what they think and to use the information that they already know. Paper and crayon (provided by the artists) are handed out and children are given some practical instructions on the making of a poster. The children will have approximately 40 minutes to draw. After the drawing session the artists will ask the children to pair up and tell each other about their posters. Groups of children are then asked to make a very small presentation of the works to the rest of the class. The works  will then be collected and the artists summarise the results of the presentations. After a Q&A the artists will collect all the materials and the posters and go to the next class.

Posters and awareness
The artists may digitize the artworks, and prepare them for display and distribution in the school.

Goal

  • Children and teachers are aware that drawing is an important tool of communication.
  • Children witness their own power of self-expression in the drawings.
  • Children are familiar with the sharing of ideas and feelings through art.
  • Adults witness children’s expression through art.

 

Training of the artists
Giving the right tool to the artists is the key to the success of this project. Teaching and guiding children in the arts takes hours of practice.

During the training each artist presented parts of the workshop to their peers so that we could fine tune their own presentation and work form. In each phase we want to be especially aware of the active participation of the artists and the goals that we have set for ourselves.

This training is set up in 3 phases

  1. Activate the artists through the training workshop.
    Let them practice the workshop with their fellow artists.
    Evaluate and adjust the program
  2. Let the artists try and get results from small local workshops with 15 children
    Evaluate and adjust the program
  3. The artists start the program
    after each school evaluate and adjust the program

Further questions and notes

Summery workshop

  1. Artists and children explore drawing as a means of communication.
  2. Artists and children represent themselves through drawings.
  3. During the workshop artists give direct positive feedback on the drawings made by the children.
  4. Art is collected for further processing.

 

Materials:

  • Drawing paper without lines A3
  • Crayons \ (make this ourselves?)

Participation levels

Using the UNICEF ladder of participation this project will be ‘assigned but informed’.

1. The children understand the intentions of the project;
2. They know who made the decisions concerning their involvement and why;
3. They have a meaningful (rather than ‘decorative’) role;
4. They willingly participate with the project after the project was made clear to them.

 

Evaluate and progress

Artworks

  1. Was the quality of the artworks good enough for the posters?
  2. Was the message clear to others?
  3. Did each child receive their poster to take home?

 

Workshop

  1. Did the workshop start on time?
  2. Could the children come up with ideas about drawing?
  3. Did the children understand what they had to draw, namely themselves?
  4. Could the children work with the material provided?
  5. Could the children talk about their works?
  6. Did they enjoy the activity?
  7. Did the workshop end on time?

 

Follow up with school

  1. Did the school present the work?
  2. Did the classes take time to look and talk about the work?
  3. Was there any feedback from school?
  4. What did the school think of the project?
  5. Would they like to be involved in future projects?
  6. Would they be will to help with costs?

 

Artists

  1. Are the artists satisfied with the results?
  2. Are the materials enough and good?
  3. Are they getting support from school?
  4. Is there something they can do to improve the project?
  5. Are there more opportunities for the artists to activate themselves with in the schools?
  6. Do they think there is a way to generate finances?
  7. If not how long can the project run?
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