At the start of 2018 BA Drawing students took part in a project to provide and run external workshops with students at Leytonstone School, East London. This was initiated and organised by Drawing lecturer Annette Robinson who told us more about the project.

In second year of the BA Drawing course the students are asked to explore various contexts and audiences for their work. Annette met with Leytonstone School last summer to set up the project and at the beginning of the academic year reached out to the Drawing students. This project was a unique context as it offered experience of teaching and hopefully building the students confidence to translate their own ideas into a workshop suitable for the age group they would be working with. Prior to the first workshop Annette met with the students on numerous occasions to discuss their ideas for workshops to run with the pupils. Camberwell Chelsea and Wimbledon’s Outreach Manager, Ian Thompson came and met with the students and discussed safeguarding issues to fully prepare them before the first workshop.

The Leytonstone pupils are at the beginning of their Art GCSE studies, this project introduced them to new approaches to making work and gave them an opportunity to experience degree level thinking and making. There were a number of workshops organised at the school as well as other sites. One of the workshops took place at Camberwell, it included a guided visit of the ‘A History Of Drawing’ exhibition at Camberwell Space, tours of the BA Drawing studios, and a drawing workshop. The final workshop was a site specific one held in the Fill the Gap gallery in Leytonstone. The gallery space is owned by TFL who were keen to support a project that supported the local community and encouraged links further afield particularly to UAL.

BA Drawing alumnus Rhian Spencer was also included in the project; as he is also an alumnus of Leytonstone School, he provided a really positive link. He presented his work and talked through his experiences since being at the school and post graduation.  He also ran a workshop on the second workshop day at the school as well as being an active presence throughout the whole project.

Annette is a governor at the school and over the years has heard and seen much about the choices kids make ages 12-13 when they have to choose options. Art is one of the subjects that – thanks to the governments funding streams and bias to the Baccalaureate – suffers as it is not seen as a viable choice. She wanted to get the kids right at the start of their GCSE’s and introduce them to a broader approach to art than they get through the curriculum and the restrictions of timetabling.

“The school was great in agreeing to take the kids off timetable for four days.. an organizational nightmare for them, art all day and no other subjects!”, Annette.

Tess Reedy, Art teacher at the school said

“The project between Leytonstone school and Camberwell College of Arts was incredibly beneficial for both sides, Leytonstone students learnt new skills and it enabled them to really understand what art outside of the classroom and post GCSE’s has to offer. Overall an incredibly valuable experience for our young people culminating in a fantastic exhibition showcasing the work from both sets of students.”

Overall this was a positive and creative learning experience for both Camberwell students and the kids at the school.

Annette is hoping to continue the project by returning to the school when the pupils are in year 10 and the Drawing students are third years, then again when the pupils are in year 11 and the Drawing students are Alumni… to follow through and explore the long term impact on both sets of students.

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