Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Invitation

The Invitation

1.5 hours off
9-5-12   9.30-11am

About 10 People

Large disused office space, above Greggs, Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton,  Leeds

I am Laura
I am Liz
Participants are invited to relax in the space and have some cake and a drink.
Participants are asked to play in the space.
Please use any of the materials provided if you wish.
From 10-10.30 please communicate without talking.
Ideas are discussed.
Participants are asked to leave.
Thank you


Some things out of the recycling bin
Digital Camera
Assorted musical instruments
Warm Drinks
Cardboard tubes
Tent poles

Our Work in Progress Questions
What makes a space a creative space?
What makes creativity happen?
How can we encourage somebody to be playful?
What is play?
What is creativity?
What do you need to be able to play?
What do you need to be uninhibited?
Why don’t we play?
What stops us doing?
What in a space stops us playing?
What in a space stops us making?
What is drawing?
What is ‘good’ drawing?
Why don’t we draw?
Why do we draw?
When does teaching flow?
When does learning flow?
How can teaching flow?
How can learning flow?
How do you organise your learning environment?

Laura Robinson and Liz Stirling have invited you to their space.
They share the space with the artist Paul Digby his drawings are on the walls. They also share their space with their children Edith (8), Arthur (8), Frank (6), Martha (6) and Polly (10 months).

Their research is about learning, creativity, childhood, space and play.
The space has triggered a focused period realising how a space initiates creativity.
The activities so far have all been collaborations. Laura and Liz are interested in equality within the learning environment and how we can collaborate whatever our backgrounds, age, profession or physical capabilities…

There is no hierarchy within the space we try to make is as playful and idea led as possible… We try to flow!
It is a free flowing space where we want participants to be relaxed and empowered by their activity.


Below are some interesting aspects of the recent Ofsted study, the study was in 91 schools and colleges all over the country.
On Drawing in education:
Drawing as a form of communication has transcended history and cultures. In arts education it is viewed as central to students’ visual and creative thinking. Drawing is a key skill for pupils wishing to work in the sector. This is reflected in its specific inclusion in examination assessment criteria, in course content and research in further and higher education. Since the last survey, international interest in drawing and the range of accreditation specifically focused on drawing, have increased.[1] Pupils of all ages cited drawing as one of the most important subject skills. Perceptions of their own drawing abilities were often at the heart of their attitude to the subject.

However, inspection findings highlighted that the notion that ‘everyone can draw’ is not being kept alive beyond the early stages of schooling. Discussions with pupils across the primary school age range revealed that many pupils’ confidence in drawing diminished incrementally as they got older. Pupils who had lost interest in drawing usually perceived that they were not good at it, especially in recording appearances accurately.
Teaching all pupils to draw with confidence and creativity was too low a priority in too many schools. If art, craft and design education is to play a full part in helping pupils ‘make a mark’ in the future, drawing can no longer remain a concern without a cause.
This next extract highlights successful strategies in art, craft and design education:

Strong inclusive practice went beyond ensuring that different groups of students progressed at similar rates. Outstanding provision ensured that no opportunities were missed to promote equality and diversity. Strategies included:
·        reference to artists, craftmakers and designers whose work challenged gender or ethnic stereotypes, or showed how disabilities had been overcome
·        clear explanation about the value of individual and collaborative, intellectual and practical, aesthetic and functional work in the context of different times and cultures
·        lessons that took account of students’ prior attainment and their preferred learning styles
·        topics that enabled students to explore their own cultural interests as well as stimulating interest in unfamiliar cultures, past and present
·        use of diverse examples of students’ work that conveyed a clear message about high quality taking many different forms
·        good-quality resources to help students, their parents and carers afford specialist tools and materials for use at home, or information about how to access funding for gallery visits.
Making a mark: art, craft and design education 2008-11, 30 Mar 2012 Ofsted.


 'As direct play is denied to adults and gradually discouraged in children, the impulse to play emerges not in true games alone, but in unstated ones of power and deception: people find themselves playing less with each other than on or off each other.'
Also 'in play one is carefree in a game one is anxious about winning'
Allan Kaprow in The Education of the Un-Artist Part 2 (1972)

To allow children to be completely free to play as much as they like.
Creative and imaginative play is an essential part of childhood and development. Spontaneous, natural play should not be undermined or redirected by adults into learning experiences. Play belongs to the child.
Summerhill Policy Statement

Ernest Schachtel in 'On Memory and Childhood Amnesia': 'The adult is usually not capable of experiencing what the child experiences; more often than not he is not even capable of imagining what the child experiences.' he talks about the newness of everything for the child...

‘I think that it is a mark of mutual respect that all persons involved in a Happening be willing and committed participants who have a clear idea of what they are to do. This is simply accomplished by writing out the scenario or score for all and discussing it thoroughly beforehand. In this respect it is not different from the preparations for a parade, a football match, a wedding or religious service. It is not even different from play. The one big difference is that while knowledge of the scheme is necessary, professional talent is not; the situations in a Happening are lifelike or, if they are unusual, are so rudimentary that professionalism is actually uncalled for. Actors are stage trained and bring over habits from their art that are hard to shake off; the same is true of any other kind of showman or trained athlete. The best participants have been persons not normally engaged in art or performance, but who are moved to take part in an activity that is at once meaningful to them in its ideas yet natural in its methods.’ Allan Kaprow

‘How does it feel to be in Flow?
1 Completely involved in what you are doing-focused, concentrated
2 A sense of ecstasy-of being outside everyday reality
3 Great inner clarity-knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing
4 Knowing that the activity is doable-that our skills are adequate to the task
5 A sense of serenity-no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of ego
6 Timelessness-thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by in minutes
7 Intrinsic motivation-whatever produces flow becomes its own reward’

Biographies of key references

Allan Kaprow – ‘Happenings’
Kaprow (1927 –2006) was an American artist and a pioneer of the concepts of performance art and "Happening" in the late 1950s and 1960s, as well as their theory. To Kaprow, a happening was “activities engaged in by participants for the sake of playing." There was no distinction or hierarchy between artist and viewer. Kaprow's most famous happenings began around 1961 to 1962, when he would take students or friends out to a specific site to perform a small action. Kaprow developed techniques to prompt a creative response from the audience. He rarely recorded his Happenings which made them a one time occurrence. He has published extensively and was Professor Emeritus in the Visual Arts Department of the University of California, San Diego.

Colin Ward – writings on urban childhood
Author and social theorist, Ward (1924-2010) is renowned as a pioneer in urban education and the founder-editor of the ‘Bulletin for Environmental Education’. He wrote the seminal ‘The Child in the City’ (1978), and ‘Streetwork: The Exploding School’ (1973), with Tony Fyson. His vision was to get children out of school and into their communities, to talk to local people, explore their neighbourhood, and understand how buildings, streets, ­landscapes and social life interact. Ward explored the myriad and subtle ways in which the child has used the street in the past and still does today. Against this background he asks what can be done to make the links between the city and child more fruitful and enjoyable for both. His work raises urgent questions for teachers, parents, and policy-makers.

Nils Norman
Norman (born 1966) is an English artist with a vision of how cities should be used expressed through art and activism. In 2007, his work in Tate Modern’s Global Cities exhibition featured posters displaying ecological and environmental information as a comment on bad urban planning, architecture and street design. Norman’s work reacts to the apparent homogenization of urban spaces in regeneration projects and has been compared to the urban projects of artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Robert Smithson, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Krzysztof Wodiczko. Norman has experimented with theorist Colin Ward's 1973 thesis "Streetwork" and has also referenced Cedric Price, especially Price's "Non-Plan".

Claire Bishop
Bishop (born 1971) is an art historian, theorist and critic widely acclaimed for her writing on socially-engaged art. Bishop is editor of the highly regarded volumes Participation (2006) and Installation Art: A Critical History (2005) and is a contributor to many art journals including Artforum, Flash Art, and October; her essay “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics,” which appeared in October in 2004, remains an influential critique of relational aesthetics. In 2008 she co-curated (with Mark Sladen) the exhibition Double Agent (ICA, London; Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre; and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead). Bishop is associate professor of art history at CUNY Graduate Center, New York. Her previously professorial roles include Department of Art History, University of Warwick, and Visiting Professor in the Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art.

Palle Nielsen. ‘The Model - A Model for a Qualitative Society’
(Born 1942)
In 1968, the young activist Palle Nielsen approached the Moderna Museet in Stockholm with a proposal for turning the museum into an adventure playground. For a month, his ‘Model for a Qualitative Society' offered a space exclusively for children, without parents or educators. In his essay on this project, Lars Bang Larsen analyses the utopia of a self-organized society that aimed to encourage personal freedom and collaboration between individuals. The documentation of this work forms part of the MACBA Collection, Barcelona.

Lars Bang Larsen
Born in 1972 in Silkeborg, Denmark, Larsen is an art historian at the University of Copenhagen. He has co-curated group exhibitions such as “A History of Irritated Material,” Raven Row, London (2010), “Populism,” Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2005), “La insurrección invisible de un millón de mentes,” Sala Rekalde, Bilbao (2005), and “The Echo Show,” Tramway, Glasgow (2003), a. o. His books include The Model: A Model for a Qualitative Society, 1968 (2010) and Sture Johannesson (2002).
Artur Żmijewski
Żmijewski (born 1966) is a Polish visual artist, filmmaker and photographer. He is an author of short video movies and photography exhibitions, which were shown all over the world. One of Zmijewski's many portraits of social exclusion, ‘The Singing Lesson II’, features a choir of deaf teens cacophonously belting out Bach. Rather than giving them the sympathy vote, the artist confronts us with their overwhelming otherness. Zmijewski has said that it is not enough for art to ask questions. Rather, artists need to get real and provide some arguments. His solo show If It Happened Only Once It’s As If It Never Happened was at Kunsthalle Basel in 2005, the same year in which he represented Poland at the 51st Venice Biennale. He has shown in Documenta 12 (2007), Manifesta 4 (2002), and the Museum of Modern Art, New York as part of their Projects’ Series (2009). In 2009, Cornerhouse, Manchester, presented the first major UK survey of Zmijewski’s work.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi born September 29, 1934, in Fiume, Italy – now Rijeka, Croatia) is a Hungarian psychology professor, who emigrated to the United States at the age of 22. He is noted for both his work in the study of happiness and creativity and also for his notoriously difficult name, in terms of pronunciation for non-native speakers of the Hungarian language, but is best known as the architect of the notion of flow and for his years of research and writing on the topic. He is the author of many books and over 120 articles or book chapters. Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, described Csikszentmihalyi as the world's leading researcher on positive psychology. Csikszentmihalyi once said "Repression is not the way to virtue. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason." His works are influential and are widely cited.

No comments:

Post a Comment