Something which fascinated me, in my recent research visit to the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne, was the clear message the students articulated about developing their own practice. Students were using a vast array of resources to explore ambitious ideas and concepts and they valued the autonomy they were given to explore all the affordances of these materials.
As you can see this ranged from creating computer growth codes to embedding autumn leaves in the fabric of garments and many things in between. Christine Egan-Fowler (Artist Teacher) commented that both she and the students enjoyed talking about their experiences as part of a research process:
I felt proud talking about my project with the researcher, she made me feel that my ideas were exciting and she knew we were all interested in each other’s work. I was nervous about being asked to take part at first but I really enjoyed the conversation, it went very quickly! and I like the fact that our work is being tracked. I love talking about my ideas and I am glad I am taking part.
Year 10 student.
I didn’t really know what to expect from the school visit, we were being inspected in the same week! I found that talking about my own early Art experiences with the researcher yielded a pattern I had not thought of for a long time. I recalled being absorbed as a child in making things and in the magic of transforming materials into something different. It made me feel very protective towards early Art experiences and proud that I am able to offer my students an engaging studio environment where we can all enjoy learning and where we regard each other as artists.