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Tuesday 5 February 2008
On this day-long workshop, key stage two pupils and their families worked alongside artist Janetka Platun to create their own models for a fantasy home, inspired by the exhibition Blades House by Matthew Darbyshire.

Families worked together to create individual maps of their collective journey to Gasworks, including symbols and references to landmarks that they each noticed on this familiar route. The resulting maps highlighted the varied recollections and interpretations of mapping that each person brought to the workshop.

Taking some time to explore the details of Blades House, families entered the installation in small groups making their own observations of the design and interpretations of the fictional occupant of the flat. A detailed discussion around the use of colour and the perceived character of the home-owner informed families ideas further, who went on to create their own models of domestic spaces using similar materials to that which Darbyshire used in his own scale model.

It was a brilliant day - I learnt alot! When do we come back? Family comment.

Photographs of these models will be on display as part of a forthcoming exhibition in October 2008.

Friday 14 March 2008
Key stage one pupils and their families worked alongside artist Janetka Platun to explore ideas around colour, text and inhabited environments using sculpture and photography.

You learn a lot and it’s very good for young minds. Family comment

Families began by exploring personal associations with colours, taking turns to depict their responses to projected coloured slides in patterns and words. The poems formed from the collaborative process produced some intriguing contrasts: ‘sunset prawn cocktail bluebell traffic light calm evening glow get ready’

Spontaneous associations from both children and parents continued during the screening of an animation by Abhishek Hazra, on residency at Gasworks at the time. Hazra’s abstract three-dimensional shapes inspired the construction of cardboard costumes in the afternoon, creating environments to be worn. Wearing their constructed environments, children worked together to stage them against coloured lights, reflecting their chosen moods. Photography captured the process, and the group sat down to view everyone’s work in a slideshow to end the afternoon.

It was very interesting and it makes you realise how important it is to work together with your child and with others. Family comment

Friday 25 April 2008
Gasworks invited residency artist Andrew Esiebo to co-run this session alongside Janetka Platun. Drawing upon Andrew’s expertise in photography and interest in how communities adapt to environmental and social conditions, the workshop explored ideas around the un-posed photograph, and using the internet as a resource to find locations we wish to project ourselves into.

As an introductory exercise, families took part in a drawing game. Sitting in adjacent rows facing each other, they had 30 seconds to make a portrait of the person sitting opposite before swapping seats to start a new drawing. Through time restrictions and the element of surprise, families discovered hidden talents in spontaneous drawing, and the potential of happy accidents in the creative process.

Helps me and my aunty to let out our feelings and spend some time together. Because usually people are really busy, my Mum can’t even come because she had to go to work. Family comment.

The workshop turned its attention to Screen Tests by Ben White and Eileen Simpson, screened as part of Disclosures. The film is made up of archival footage of screen tests which, now out of copyright, have become adapted and interpreted by White and Simpson as source material for their own practice. The screen tests depict actions, movements and facial expressions, which never intended as the usable material, capture a side to the on screen performers which is both playful and un-official.

How to pose without a care, how to pose without notice but you are actually posing. I’ve learnt how to do that. As in you are acting like you didn’t notice but actually you did notice. Family comment.

In response to the film, families worked in small groups to take polaroids of each other, and worked with Esiebo to produce digital portraits that reflect spontaneous movements and actions. Families explored ideas of abstraction and accident, some made blurry, out of focus or overexposed pictures, while other groups experimented with composition. Using the internet as a resource, families considered what context the photographs could be seen and in, and used simple collage to complete their images.

Friday 6 June 2008
Archbishop Sumner Primary school pupils and their families with siblings aged 4 to 11 years old worked with artist Janetka Platun on a day long workshop. Thinking through the use of text to communicate provocative and sometimes sensational meanings families began by writing their assumptions about the day’s activities onto balloons that were filled with helium and floated near the ceiling above our heads.

We worked together, being able to express our opinions to each other, that’s quite a new thing for me. Family comment

Viewing the work of Barbara Kruger, and Jenny Holzer families considered the implications of slogans and messages at times universal and at others highly personal. The afternoon was spent carefully thinking of our own messages to present to the world, using a variety of stencils to print the texts onto t-shirts.

If you left your child to do their own thing and they put their mind to it, they came up with their own ideas and watching them enjoy it and wanting to do it by themselves was really good. Family comment

The day culminated in a walk to the local park, each member of the group wearing their designed t-shirt and clinging tightly to a helium balloon self-portrait and dangling tag with their personal message. We released the balloons into the sky, wondering where they would end up and who would be the recipients of our communications.

Families were photographed in the park wearing their t-shirts, these were exhibited at Gasworks as part of Even Better Together - An exhibition of artworks by families and artists, 8-12 October 2008.

Archbishop Sumner Primary school is partnered with Gasworks for Even Better Together, Gasworks’ 3 year programme of family workshops funded by the BIG Lottery Fund.

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Archbishop Sumner Primary School