Seed has invited artists Karl Bevis and Avril Silk to join children from Woolavington Primary school to create their own stories, art, poetry and performance, on the themes of home, travel and belonging. Each of the three year groups will have three weekly workshops during the Autumn term 2022 with short form poetry writing, imaginative movement, drawing and crafting, and short story sharing.
The work follows up on issues raised in the theatre Crystals Vardo – an extraordinary journey through Romani history.and the rich tapestry of Gypsy, Romarni and Traveller history and culture. Seed brought the show to Woolavington in June 2022. It is currently on tour and well worth seeing if you can.
“There is something rather wonderful about watching children learn. Seeing the moment when they try exploring the world and discovering something they had not noticed before. Avril and I had that privilege just before half-term, on our visit to Woolavington Village Primary.
That moment, which teachers potentially witness every day, is different for a visitor. As we walk into the classroom we are aliens. We are peculiar and different. In a good way we hope and for a few minutes we try not to put the Year 4s off their bagels and register-taking. And then the fun can really start. We are visiting three year-groups over a series of weeks to explore ‘belonging’ and what it means to really appreciate the world around us. In this first session we engage our detective skills to find the various colours of the rainbow within the classroom and to document them into a poem on our individual clip-boards. One kid said he looked like an inspector; we all like the idea of being poetry inspectors. The task is about looking for the tiny detail, even to the point of ignoring the big examples of colour, such the vibrant yellow backing of the language wall display. Instead they find yellow in the ear-rings of Cleopatra on a book-cover. Or the green of a wobbly cushion, or the red in a discreet clothing tag. As our poetry inspectors inspect the class they compile a list of up to seven lines for seven colours and we encourage them to explore the detail of the item they wish to write about.
The next task requires a different level of detective work as we ask them to search out items of different colours in a location of their choosing, but in their own mind’s-eye. To think about somewhere they love to be, somewhere they feel they belong and to capture the detail of that space. This is tough and we talk about whether they are indoors or outdoors, particularly when some say they can only find blue or green. Getting them to look beyond the immediate colours and search out the detail has its own reward.
In a few weeks we will return for part 2 of this short project and ask them to explore an imagined village, then to add what they would most like to see included. All these exercises seek to explore their creative writing skills as well as their sense of belonging. Avril and I loved meeting Yrs 4, 5 & 6 in Woolavington and thoroughly look forward to creating more work with them in the coming weeks. Where the learning will take us, we have yet to discover. To creating new villages, new lands, new environments. And always to creating them with a sense of wonder and enjoying every detail”.
Karl Bevis is an artist-educator with over 20 years’ experience. He is working alongside writer and artist Avril Silk on this project. You can find out more about the artists and their work on this project here.