Art collaboration in teaching session

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Collaboration with Rupert Higham, Lecturer for Learning, and his Dialogic Elective students.

Workshop plan.

Part 1 – Learning journeys

Using imagery, colour and shapes.
Illustrate your journey to the current position with materials / Represent turning points, moments of realisation, spark points and critical incidents, tensions and opportunities / What might these findings look like. It can be a map, a series of symbols or lines or colours. This overview of how you got to where you are now / Include anything you heard this morning that may have inspired you or disturbed you in a good way / Allow the material/paint/oil pastel to take you places too.

Part 2

Current barriers and opportunities – working in pairs.

Concerns and barriers borders and frontiers. What are they what have you each encountered / What do they look like. How can you represent them / The geography of them, the shape of them / Are they the same as your partner’s? / Discuss with this partner the similarities and differences. Creative conversation. Feed back in pairs to larger group / How might they be overcome or processed or used to your advantage.

Part 3

Where can this go? Group work. On very large sheet of paper.

Make a collective group collage/drawing of what can be formed / What you can develop in your settings and what kind of creative community or network (with the Faculty and each other) you could make in the future /  What elements would it contain, what support could it offer, what shape will it be / What would this community look like?

Art session III

W-i-maps, M-i-maps, W-e-maps, M-e-maps

Map-making – The group made colourful and innovative maps of their journey from the beginning of their research to the current place with paper and acrylic paint. Beautiful, detailed, navigable and powerful work was made full of meaning and insights.

Some comments:

‘A map to navigate the next few steps: showing connections, turning points, roundabouts and cul de sacs.’

‘a great way to re-imagine an everyday environment’

‘unstructured progress through work responded well with group’

‘I love the workshop! Such a fun way to think about my research’

‘A super workshop. Creative, thought provoking and fun. Excellent to be creative in art after writing about the benefits of the arts in my thesis. Thanks’

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Workshop plan and final maps in gallery

Happiness film installation

A film collaboration made from 30 sec clips by Masters student and Faculty Community on the subject of Happiness and screened in the Happiness Pod.

‘The provision of an entirely novel space in a familiar building. Seeing so many different perspectives on people’s ideas of happiness.’

‘This feels different. Taps into emotions. Different perspectives – always illuminating as it shows the richness of human response.’

‘It was outside my natural comfort zone, but a very safe way to be stretched.’

‘Connection with colleagues I wouldn’t otherwise know anything about. It allowed a gateway to advocating for my needs.’

Read more on Happiness Pod REPORT.

The pod

The idea for the pod came from a scene remembered from an old french black and white film that has lived in my mind. A narrative that evolves from a room within a room, created by the characters, as their own private space. I planned to appropriate a little of this film to screen or show as a thumbnail on the outside of the pod and the inside to act as a mini cinema for showing the Happiness film (compilation film from clips sent to me on this theme from the Masters students and larger Faculty community) and as a collapsible mobile space that can be used again.

Although the scene was so fresh and vivid in my mind I could not remember the title of this film. Many people I asked had a recollection of this scene but no-one could remember where it came from – Les Enfants Terrible, Le Grand Meaulnes, Les Enfant du Paradis, Les Amants des Pont Neuf were the popular possibilities but did not contain it.

The pod began as a maquette and was tried out in many forms. I wanted it to be made with simple inexpensive materials. Finally, in a garden, a structure evolved with bamboo sticks simple and sturdy. This was re-created in a room in the Faculty and was clad in packaging paper donated by DS Smith plc (end rolls), fitted bespoke and stapled together for easy assembly and dis-assembly.

On discussion with colleagues and friends we wonder if we have then imagined this scene. That the camp or den, the room within a room exists in our collective memories, from childhood, den-making, camp building – somewhere that is our space away from adults and others, a place for separateness,  but share-able with friends.

Art collaboration in teaching session

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Educational Leadership and School Improvement MEd/MPhil

Working in collaboration with Sue Swaffield with her 27 ELSI students. We plan an art  session based around the lesson plan to illustrate themes and journeys and to see how using art can aid or change perspectives or offer new insights. We use paper (white and coloured), glue, scissors, pens and oil pastels. Students work in groups and make paper cut out shapes to represent the themes and key ideas from their year. These quickly become multi-layered, complex and 3 dimensional.


They continue mapping their research journey using oil pastels to describe, visually, tasks set as a review of the year. During reflection and reponse students seem  animated talking about their work and how shapes represent different areas of their projects and thoughts. For most of the students this activity together, with Sue’s facilitation, enables deep reflections and analysis.

‘Engaging and thought provoking’

‘So freeing for the mind’

‘The activities built on each other well’

‘Innovative format, but we still managed to achieve our objective of reflecting on our learning and growth’

‘Creative, fantastic!’

‘Can I have a word’ – sound piece field recording of Masters student’s voices and other members of the Faculty community. Morning voices, evening voices and middle of the day. Everyone entering the building in the morning and leaving in the evening is asked to give just one word into the voice recorder held by Justin Hodgett. In a place where words have such meaning and weight – in this project the words do not matter – its a spontaneous exercise – what we capture is the tonal, rhythmic, intonation, gender, note, texture and timbre of sounds of all those who come in and out of the Faculty. This piece is part of a project that will include an installation with film.   We record 174 spoken words in all.

The day after the recordings I pick up by chance a postcard showing another field recording: 

‘Charles Myers recording the sacred songs of the Malu ceremonies during the 1898 Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to the Torres Strait.  Gisu is beating the drum Wasikor, while Ulai sings into the recording phonograph.’ recording sacred songs


Messages released

The woolwinder was ‘planted’ on Sunday, International
Women’s Day on Parliament Hill Fields in London and
your inspirational messages, placed on the woolwinder
last week in the Faculty were released over London and
out to everyone everywhere. This film commemorates
this mini event.

Thank you for participating.

Susanne Jasilek
Artist in Residence