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Artists in Schools Project: Visual Arts and Language

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Artists in Schools Project ELTCampus Frameworks Education Group Fawcett Primary Emma Louise Pratt

What is the Artists in Schools Project?

Many years ago, I worked on a programme to encourage schools to invite artists into the classroom. They would to either do workshops with children, make work on site, or have a longer stint as artist in residence. I believe children learn a lot from simply being around adults who are working on projects. These adults are comfortable with children being present, picking up tools and getting involved, or watching, observing and learning. It's an informal space, an informal way of learning and a very old one too.

I asked a local school if I could make a new body of work at the school in a temporary studio.

The objective is twofold. First, to make the work (I am an artist). The visual work I am making is a response to the landscape around us in our local area.  And second, to make it in an environment where children can come and see me informally. They are free to sit with me, pick up a pen and draw beside me, or chat about the work with me as it develops. They may even want to help. They may want to create their own visual response as a result. The key for me is that it isn't a formal class setting. They get enough of that.

I have no idea how it will go. I have no idea how my work will develop, but I trust the process. I believe that if I approach the work, the shcool, teachers and the children quietly, slowly and with patience, like a good slow cooked meal the results will be delicious.

Notes from day one

These notes will be more of a #workaloud.

Teachers are popping in to see me. Curious. But I can see I'll have to write material to help teachers know what to do with me. They are so used to people being in the school to "teach", but don't know what to do with an artist being at the school just to be themselves and do what they do. I tried to explain to a friend that it would be like him setting up his lab and doing his research on fly brains with the lab being open for kids to pop in. This is how children have learned for millennia. Being and playing in and around adults getting on with their work.

emma louise pratt

Emma L Pratt - Eltcampus Director and a visual artist too 🙂