During November 2018, 270 pupils from Reception, Years 1 & 2 at Hilborough Infants School in Luton worked with Culture Challenge provider, Amanda Silk. The school had been granted Culture Vouchers to spend on an activity of their choice as a result of embarking on their ArtsMark journey.
Tyler Holt, Arts Lead at the school welcomed Amanda to the school to deliver a project exploring self-portraiture. Beyond traditional painted portraits or popular selfie culture, it was an opportunity to engage young people in the creative arts, consider the different ways in we represent ourselves and explore how we are all unique.
Amanda devised a workshop which would enable pupils to build on existing creative skills. “Pupils followed instruction to extend drawing skills looking at how to draw facial features, step by step. Fun was had using simplified lines and coloured shapes to draw imaginative funny faces.”
Reflecting on the project, Tyler reported that “Amanda did a fantastic job with our children. She supported all of them and provided differentiated activities for each year group. She gave the children great confidence in making their piece of art work. Amanda even provided drawing extension activities for all year groups which the children loved! I would recommend her to any school that are interested in her work, she has made a big impact on our children and inspired them.”
The activity was particularly successful as every child was able to participate and create artwork which to them. “This activity allowed children to think about other careers and talents that are out there for them to access. We wanted our children to be inspired and come away with new creative ideas, this is exactly what Amanda helped us achieve.”
Often, when external visitors come into schools to work with pupils, we hear about unexpected outcomes, or ‘lightbulb moments’ that have occurred during the project. For Tyler, one child in particular with behavioural difficulties (refusing to come to school, trying to run out of lessons, not engaging in activities), really connected with Amanda and was engrossed in the activity.
“He worked very well with Amanda and took a real shine to her. She inspired him to work on his drawing skills and take pride in his work” Tyler explained. “He now has his own special drawing box that he can use every day if he makes good choices. This box has resources in that Amanda left for him and explained how to use them. I added extras and he loves it. This has made a real impact on his behavior, all thanks to having an artist come in and inspire him.”
Hilborough Infants weren’t aware of The Culture Challenge service prior to spending their ArtsMark Culture Voucher but they have certainly been inspired by this experience. “Thank you for all your help throughout the process and I hope that many other schools participate in working with the Culture Challenge.”