Friday, December 07, 2007

The artist not in residence

Last week, with my AEL hat on, I gave a brief presentation (four minutes plus questions) at the BFI in London as part of a launch event for the Diploma in Creative and Media run by Skillset. It was an odd evening for your author, the running order was British Music Rights, Channel 4, ITV Local, the BFI, Adobe (er, that would be me...) and BBC Blast - for an audience taken from employers, HE & FE and some schools. My presentation was about how Connect could be used to support the new Diploma - by bringing experts from the world of work into the world of the students, enabling them to collaborate, share ideas, work & experience. As things overran I didn't get a chance to mention what for me is the major example of what we've got, which Greg from Chalfonts describes as

...the artist not in residence...
Clare McEwan is an artist who, last year, had studio space in Waddesdon Upper School and did work with other schools in the Aylesbury Vale area. We started to experiment with ideas of how she might start to work with pupils in an online environment - with activity on Winslow's Moodle site and some basic activities on the Breeze server.
Well, this term things are moving on quickly, not least due to the fact that Clare is now based in Kent, where her studio is in a rented garage - have a quick tour here!
Clare's writing a blog about how it's going as well - which is well worth a read if you're interested in how a project like this works, or just looking at the use of ICT in Art. She's meeting regularly over Breeze (live - from a garage in Kent...) with staff and pupils from Chalfonts Community College, Waddesdon CofE Upper, The Grange Upper and Winslow Combined schools and (importantly) recording these sessions so that they can be viewed later. She's entitled this a virtual residency and for me it's a fascinating exploration of what's possible - and has obvous implications for how working creatively with practitioners (artists, poets, musicians, anyone really) could take place in both primary and as part of a Diploma at secondary. Clare has explored the use of the tools - but not before writing an excellent introduction of how the project came about - and even uses Breeze to create demonstrations of how and why she does what she does - such as the use of Photoshop within her work. It's also made the front page of the London Schools' Art Service. Woo-hoo!

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