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Meadow Arts Inspires People

12th May 2019

Our Education & Engagement Officer, Steve Wilson, has been very busy this winter and spring, organising a huge number of school and public workshops across our home counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.

Inspired by Yinka Shonibare CBE’s wonderful quilt artworks at Hereford Cathedral, Creatures of the Mappa Mundi, and our Museum of Royal Worcester exhibition, The Precious Clay, our Meadow Arts Inspires artists have come up with so many ideas! They have responded to Yinka’s artworks and ideas, working with schools to make artworks in multiple mediums. Here’s Steve’s roundup of some of the projects.

Image: One World Mandala by Regency School and Sarah Edwards

 

Voices and Visions

We are delighted to be returning to Worcester Cathedral as part of their annual schools showcase, Voices and Visions.

We have been at Tenbury Ormiston Academy with a new Creative Practitioner Kate Johnson and Blackwell First School with our experienced Creative Practitioner Mark Riley. The feedback for both projects was exceptional.

Kate Kearns from Tenbury Ormiston School said;

Three of the girls involved have had some (separate) difficulties socially with peers and are involved in interventions for emotional health support. They all visibly enjoyed the project and maintained good social contact throughout – a great success. One of the girls came to tell me on day two how much she was loving the experience. I shared this with the artist and it was quite an emotional moment’

As well as the above we will be running projects at Pitmaston School with Creative Practitioner Megan Evans, King Charles School with our Creative Practitioner Sally Harper-Kenn, Charford First School in Bromsgrove with Creative Practitioner Fliss O’Neill and Regency High School SEN with Creative Practitioner Sarah Edwards.

All work will be displayed at the Cathedral from mid-May to mid-June.

 

Other school projects

Greenacres School, Shrewsbury

We have just completed an exceptional project with this small Shropshire primary school, located in an area of high deprivation near Shrewsbury. The school had previously undertaken very little arts activity and we had to work hard to make the project happen. The pupils chose a theme of China because many of them wanted to visit the country, and we worked with Creative Practitioner Fliss O’Neil over four days, creating a huge body of work. The partnership proved hugely successful, as the following quote from the Head of Art explains:

‘’I can't tell you just how fantastic this project has been for the children, our Y4/5 teacher and me. Everyone has learnt so many new skills and the children are buzzing with excitement over the work that they have produced. Fliss is VERY ambitious in her expectations of what the children could achieve and she was totally right to be because they rose to the occasion. ‘’

We ran an excellent project with Shrewsbury Cathedral Catholic School with the Creative Practitioner Lindsey Kennedy-Smith, on a project based on Catholicism and The Sacred Heart. This was a whole school project and again we had some wonderful feedback from the school.

Quote from Teacher

‘It has been a really exciting week. The children have felt inspired by Lindsey and are proud to share their talents and learn new skills. It has been a great way of promoting art in the school and I would definitely recommend Meadow Arts and particularly our practitioner Lindsey to other schools who are interested.” 

We are also looking forward to working with the Mary Webb School and Greenfields schools in Shrewsbury over the summer.

Image: Mappa Mundi project at Whitecross School with sally Harper-Kenn

 

Working with Looked After Children

We are in the process of finalising three projects in Worcestershire with Looked After Children (these children might be in Foster care, for example). Funded by the Virtual Head Teacher for Worcestershire, these projects will be a key development for us in working with children who are both hard to reach and also traditionally find educational achievement difficult. We have also been invited to be part of a West Midlands-wide group of organisations working with Looked After Children.

 

Public Workshops

We have also been very busy running out of school workshops linked to our exhibitions:

The Precious Clay at The Museum of Royal Worcester

The Storymine Portal Project, led by artist Emma Summers involved hosting six different workshop sessions between September to Christmas 2018. There were two family workshops, two schools visits (Stanley Road and Regency) one older person’s group with The West Worcester Live at Home Scheme and one with Worcester Probation Services.

Image: Portal workshops with Emma Summers, photo by Peter Summers

Other engagement activities included:

  • The Precious Clay Museums at Night event on 9th Jan, including spoken word poetry by Emily Wilkinson, an artist’s tour by Bharti Parmar, a performance of National Treasure by Neil Brownsword’s colleague Tony Challiner and the opening of the Portal Project artwork.
  • A Christmas holiday family workshop, led by Creative Practitioner Jon Williams and a February Half Term workshop, led by Creative Practitioner Fliss O’Neill. Both sessions were sold out and deemed a great success with many repeat attendees from previous workshops.
  • Steve gave pupils at Stanley Road Junior School (one of the more diverse schools in our area with 50% BAME pupils) and participants from West Worcester Live at Home Scheme a curator’s tour, in addition to them attending the portal workshop. Neither group had visited MoRW previously, despite their close proximity to the site.

 

Yinka Shonibare CBE at Hereford Cathedral 24 Jan - 1 June 2019

Our Creatures of the Mappa Mundi exhibition at The Hereford Cathedral has enabled us to deliver a considerable body of engagement projects in addition to working with the three making-groups before the exhibition opened. The project was made possible thanks to funding from Hidden Gems. In March we ran two Meadow Arts Inspires projects that included visits to the exhibition. These were with Barrs Court SEN High School and Whitecross High School. Barrs Court worked with trained SEN practitioner Fliss O’Neill to create the school’s own Mappa Mundi and Whitecross worked with Sally Harper-Kenn, creating a huge body of work, which they exhibited in school. Both artists worked incredibly hard and created masses of artworks under difficult circumstances, with both schools having reduced staffing and in the case of Barrs Court, a dual site.

In April and May we worked with Aconbury School (a Pupil Referral Unit) using creative practitioner Emily Wilkinson on a project looking at the schools response to the Mappa Mundi. Emily had a fantastic time with the school. We are also planning to complete our Shonibare work with Hereford Academy Secondary School, with Creative Practitioner Jaime Jackson and with a community group from Staunton-on-Wye via Staunton Primary School, a small rural school who want to organise a Mappa Mundi street parade.

In addition we applied to the Sylvia Short Trust, to get funding to support Blackmarston Special School to work on a Creatures of the Mappa Mundi project. This school supports 87 disabled primary school aged children.

There will be two family workshops on 18 and 25 May, hosted by Hereford Cathedral and using our creative practitioners.

 

RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2019

Our engagement work is becoming increasingly recognised and we have been approached by the RHS Malvern Spring Festival to run a stand at the arts, health and wellbeing area this year. They will provide a bespoke marquee venue, for free, in return for Meadow Arts providing 4-days of workshop activities in the ‘Live Well’ area. This is a brilliant profile-raising opportunity for Meadow Arts, with huge audience footfall (older people on the Thursday /Friday and family audiences at the weekend) and the perfect chance to work with our network of ‘creative practitioner’ artists to deliver the activity. We will be working with Jaime Jackson and Emily Wilkinson who are running a two-day project and Fliss O’Neill who is there for the first two days of the festival.

Decorated natural materials from Fliss O'Neill's workshop

Creative Practitioners Network

We are organising quarterly meetings of the 28+ creative practitioners in our network, and as we get to know each other, the group’s potential is becoming increasingly exciting. The artists in this group present a fantastic resource, when individuals’ knowledgeable, experience and creative ideas are pooled, and we are exploring ways to extend our work for mutual benefit, including shared training and working more closely as an artistic body covering the West Midlands.

 

Ruins

Look out for our engagement work at Wiltey Court from July to September, where we will be running a series of family workshops with families based on our forthcoming exhibition.

 

Other Education and Engagement Updates

Herefordshire Discover in a Day: we have agreed to join a group of Herefordshire-based Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations (2Faced Dance, the Courtyard, Ledbury Poetry Festival and Hereford Music Pool) to organise multi-artform Arts Award, Discover in a Day events, with the aim of getting up to 10 schools in the county involved over the next year.

 

Meadow Arts Inspires branding

We have met with students and the Course Leader of University of Worcester’s Graphic Design team to look at the rebranding of the Meadow Arts Inspires programme. The students produced some fantastic design ideas for us to use in the future and the exercise was mutually beneficial.