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Contemporary Art Space Project: Year 2 In partnership with the RSA Academies

01 Apr-22 Dec 2021

After a very tricky year of postponements and delays we were all very excited to get back into schools to start delivering Year 2 of the Contemporary Art Space project in April 2021.

Find out more about the background of the project here.

This years CAS artists, De’Anne Crooks, Toni Lewis and Haseebah Ali were in very-short-residence with three RSA schools; Holyhead School, RSA Academy in Tipton and Abbeywood First School respectively and worked with the art therapist Julie Buxton. All were warmly welcomed by students, staff and senior leadership.

The workshops devised by the artists and art therapist were highly valued at each school as a means of focusing and exploring emotions that have surfaced over the pandemic. Each artist created incredible experiences and spaces of support and care. Iniva’s emotional learning cards were incorporated into sessions by the artist and art therapist, to both create an awareness of who makes art and what contemporary art can look like, alongside allowing student to explore their emotions in connection to making, supported by Julie. At Holyhead the students were taken on a journey of words and language, playing with positioning of artworks, shared making and finding confidence in their voices with De’Anne Crooks. De’Anne’s response artwork will be installed in September 2021.

An ‘outlet room’ at Tipton RSA Academy was created outside by artist Toni Lewis, that saw students breaking apart old equipment, reusing this to create new artwork. The workshops progressed to include mindfulness sessions, discussions and making, resulting in an exhibition curated and installed of the students work across the school. Toni’s in response artwork will be installed in September 2021.

At Abbeywood First School, the students explored the themes of identity and oracy, using water pistols filled with water colours to paint, marbling techniques, finger painting and creating clay characters. These characters became a way to really showcase the student’s  thoughts around who they are. The student’s made homes and thought up back stories for each character and shared these with the group.

Our first of the commissioned artworks that are created by the artists in response to their engagement with the students was installed in early July. ‘Delight in the Sky’ by Haseebah Ali and the pupils at Abbeywood First School was created using lino printing, the artworks are contained in perspex cubes creating a small tower – and called, inspired by the pupils, Delight in the Sky. The work in located in a central courtyard, inside the school.

De’Anne’s and Toni’s work will be in production over the summer holiday period for install in September/October.

Here is Haseebah Ali talking about her work and how she hopes the pupils will experience the artwork as they move around the school during their day.


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