I have been creating teaching packs for a range of galleries and community organisations throughout my teaching career. Seeing art and creative practice as something that is always immersed with and connected to the rest of society, I enjoyed working as a classroom teacher and making links with creative practitioners and their work beyond the classroom. It enabled me to demonstrate to the students that art is a real life discourse on real life matters and not just painting and sculptures by dead people in dusty old books and museums. Taking a group of students to visit an exhibition, studio, or inviting an artist in to talk is one way of binging creativity to life for students. Education packs are another, and are not just restricted to classrooms and schools. They can also be an invaluable resource for galleries, museums and community organisations and enable your project to reach a broader community. With the use of modern technology the possibilities have a much wider range.
My personal aim in creating packs is to extend the users understanding of the work or project. I encourage flexible usage of the education pack to continue dialogue about the subject and to give the users (staff and students) opportunities to dissect, question and explore further the issues that arise.
The projects need not be related solely to visual art. I have created education packs for a food project (see no. 5 below), theatre project (see no. 6 below) and am currently working on a music project education pack called When The Music Hits
My ideas for creating a pack are informed by the nature of the project it is connected to. I like to meet and where possible work with the artists, project leaders and contributors to gain as much understanding about the intentions and values behind their work – what it is they want to be extended into an educational extended learning opportunity. The education pack can keep the project ‘live’ long after the project/exhibitions/workshops have ceased. Therefore it is important for me to know what the legacy the project wishes to leave behind in the form of the educational pack. My intention is for the activities I devise in collaboration with the clients, to present opportunities for in depth exploration of the subject and a way to connect each of us out there with the intentions of the work at hand or project. The hope is that they can then spring-board into limitless possibilities for outcomes and further discourses.
In the packs I create, there are links to other subjects where the activities can be used either as cross-curricular projects, or teaching staff can work together across subjects to extend the theme into lessons beyond just one subject. For example Cinderella stories (no. 4 below) addresses subjects in art, photography, history, geography and languages. Outcomes are only limited by the imagination and resources of the participants. In the packs I encourage investigation, team working, indepenadnt work, dialogue, reflection, research, exploration, problem-solving and imagination. I ensure the tasks are broad enough to meet the needs of all learning styles and can be geared towards meeting the diverse needs of any groups of learners and participants.
As well as creating the packs, I also have planned and delivered training for educators on how to use the material in packs at Pitshanger Gallery; conducted a training day for teachers for the African Worlds Exhibition at the Horniman Museum. On the Cook Like A Caribbean project, I trained a group of volunteer workers to deliver the food workshops themselves with a group of toddlers (6mths – 3 years) and students (12 to 13 years) from a local secondary school. The volunteers were able to gain confidence, network with others in the local community and beyond, improve communication skills and develop their own personal ideas of promoting Caribbean food. Two of the volunteers have since gone on to set up their own business projects based on Caribbean cooking.
I am happy to consult with organisations and professionals to advise and work on education packs for your projects. Also how to extend the impact of the project and educational aspects of it to a wider audience through training staff or volunteers workers and utilising social media platforms.
My formal training lay in art and design, yet my experience and range of expertise is much broader and I am happy to consider working on a range of projects, especially those can bring opportunities for connecting with a wider audience through digital media.
Education packs I create are activity-based, including guidance material for the deliverer/teacher as well as accessible activities that users can work from as a starting point to lead them to: working and researching independently, team-work with their peers and to devise a particular outcome for themselves based on the subject. This can be digital, online – connecting with other groups and projects internationally, music, film, photography, drama, installation and interactive presentation.
1. U Better Know – Encouraging Safety Awareness For Young People. Safety Awareness Education Pack for Lambeth Consortium. The project was run by a consortium of organisations in the London borough of Lambeth that support hard to reach young people aged 13-19 to maximise their potential through the provision of accredited activities, providing pathways back into education. The project helped young people to understand their social positioning through a process that combined exploration of their own life experience with skills gained through the arts. They worked with artist and poets and the team at 198CAL to create a body of work addressing the community through workshops that stimulated discussion amongst them about potentially dangerous places that they inescapably navigate. The education pack uses the creative work that the young people made – photography, personal statements, poetry. The pack can be used not just in Art and English lessons, but also as part of PSHE addressing matters such as personal safety, friendships within the school as well as wider community. The pack guides users through activities that stimulate discussion about safety in their local communities or school, create maps based on their personal experience of their surroundings and develop skills interpreting images and visual literacy through creating maps and staged photographs. The pack presents many opportunities for cross curricular work such as Citizenship, PSHCE (Every Child Matters and SEAL), Art & Design, Photography, English, Geography, History.
2. Social & Critical Practices in Art Education, edited by Paul Dash & Dennis Atkinson. Chapter written about 198 Gallery’s Black Angels youth project. Lucy Davies (Director of 198CAL) and I were invited to write a chapter together detailing the education project ran by the gallery in collaboration with a group of young people in a local secondary school where I taught who were selected to take part in this off-site creative project as part of their extended curriculum. Summary of the book on amazon: “This exciting book shows how children and students can use art to explore personal, social and cultural issues that touch their lives. It covers new ground, responding to increasing diversity and to recent government initiatives worldwide to support active citizenship. That art has a place in this dynamic is clear from the comments of art educators from several countries and working with all ages who write here about their innovative projects with young people………Folami Bayode and Lucy Davies describe a gallery project with disaffected teenagers.”
3. Brixton Studios exhibition, Teachers Pack for Photographers Gallery.
About the exhibition:
The exhibition was accompanied by an education project and resource, in partnership with 198 Gallery in Brixton. Young people worked with Venezuelan artist and muralist Carlos Madriz to paint a backdrop for a portrait photography shoot. They then worked with photographer Faisal Abdu’Allah to take a series of portraits in a makeshift studio at 198 Gallery. A Teachers’ Pack was developed that included background information on Harry Jacobs’ work, as well as activity ideas related to Jacobs’ portraits and those by the commissioned artists and young people.”
From the Introduction to the pack:
“The teaching pack gives students the opportunity to challenge common ideas about visual representation of people, how people have recorded each other through time, how we choose to create records of ourselves in a particular way and the different reasons why we do so. The pack also prompts discussion on how the artists and subject communicate or conceal different thing through manipulating media and visual elements…The aim of this pack is to introduce students to portraiture as viewer, subject and artist. Suggested projects will give students the opportunity to engage in and consider these roles and, consequently expand their understanding of the purpose and impact of portraits have had through time.”
4. Cinderella Stories exhibition by Joy Gregory, Teachers Pack for Pitshanger Gallery & Museum. I was invited by Pitshanger Gallery to create an education pack that would enable primary and secondary school teachers deliver creative learning actitives inspired by the work of Joy Gregory’s exhibition called Cinderella Tours Europe. The pack brought opportunities for learning about other people’s stories, migration, travelling, dreams and the imagination as well as sharing their own personal journeys and stories. Activities in the pack feature Joy Gregory’s photography from this exhibition as a starting point and are created to be used by all age groups in the primary, secondary and exam courses at GCSE BTEC and A levels.
5. Cook Like A Caribbean – People, Food & Time. Education pack for Myatts Field Park food project 2014. I was invited to be part of this project working alongside Ceri Buckmaster and Virginia Nimarkoh in order to create an education pack so that the resources from the workshops could be shared with the wider community. I attended the series of workshops as part of my research. The workshop attendees were members of the local community who shared their personal stories, memories, skills and experiences of Caribbean dishes and produce. The stories created a web of connection from the Caribbean to African countries, Northern Americas, Europe and beyond. From this research and recording, I created a series of practical activities, investigations and a interative digital presentation utilizing this information along with the recipes contributed by the workshop participants. The materials were developed for r pre-school children and schools up to key stage 3 and 4. The pack’s resources can also be used as part of GCSE and BTEC Food Technology studies. The pack gives users opportunities to not just study the history and recipes from the region, experience new flavours and tastes of food that may be new to them, but to also explore and research themselves, share their own stories through dialogue the richness and diversity from their own communities, culture and how food connects them to other people worldwide.
A media article about the project can be read here. More information about the project can be viewed on Ceri Buckmaster’s page along with samples of the recipe cards and map that formed part of the education pack. A video of the project can be seen here