In the Mapping Language project, students from Hackney Community College worked with artists Yara El-Sherbini and Agnes Poitevin-Navarre. The project consisted of two workshops – Mapping: Personal Histories and Mapping: A Journey into Language – and the results are displayed as part of the Mapping Beyond exhibition series at Rivington Place.
Mapping: Personal Histories aimed to define and map out elements of the students’ lives, identity and cultural context. The challenge was to select and combine pictograms in order to compose and codify personal narratives. The students were challenged to interpret their private lives through the rich yet limited symbolism of a graphic language developed and found in the public sphere. Employing the universal grammar of pictograms was a novel way for them to think about and map out their lives, free from the constraints of written language.
Mapping: A Journey into Language explored the use of language as a process to mark, identify, and position oneself within the world, opening up concepts of what map-making is and might be, on a personal and political level. Exploring the playful aspect of language and humour they created jokes, interventions and interactive pieces, as well as using recognisable formats from popular culture to make subvertisements.
Mapping Language is part of Creative Mapping, a three-year learning initiative involving schools and colleges in East London.