My residency at Portway Junior School began with a meeting at the school with the head teacher, art teacher and lead artist from CAS explaining my proposal.
The main aim for this project was to help the children’s confidence, knowledge of art and understanding of identity. After talking through my proposal with the school, they decided the project would be more effective with particularly vulnerable children, so the teachers then carefully selected 10 of those from year 6 who would benefit the most from my project.
The project involved a series of workshops creating posters for an interactive piece about what makes you happy that was put in reception for other children in the school to participate, identity boxes filled with all the things they loved and collaborative paintings initiating from drawing around each child.
I also did a version of the Erasing Meanness project, which aims to teach children about bullying but from the perspective of the choices they make and how others see them. (More can be found at www.erasemeanness.org for those who want to recreate this themselves.)
All of the children made an effort every week to participate in the workshops, even those who were known to be disruptive in other classes. A child who had told me he felt he had no friends and was chosen for his low confidence levels was chatting away confidently to other children by the end. Another who didn’t believe he could do much because of his dyslexia and was known to not try/pay attention in class had created some great pieces of work.
The children were asked what had inspired them most about the project, several of them mentioned just being chosen and making these children feel special felt like an achievement in itself.