International Visits

  ‘Discovering Art in public places’

 

Main project activities and outcomes

In September 2011 7 students and 2 staff from Oldenburg visited Chester for five days. In march 2012 5 students and two staff from Chester visited Oldenburg for 5 days Art was the focus for our joint project with our German partner school and more specifically ‘Discovering Art in public places’. During the 2 visits we visited a range of places where art was to be found such as Erddig, a country house and gardens in North Wales.

We also visited Chester city centre, a local cycle track called the Greenway and Liverpool waterfront and the Tate North Museum which is located there. In Germany we visited Oldenburg town centre and parks and Bremen City including the waterfront. In addition to the visits, students took part in art workshops in both countries and experienced making original works of art individually and communally e.g. clay tiles created in Delamere, Cheshire.

In Germany, John worked with an artist called George on individual clay figures…….

 The students’ parents also benefited – seeing their children take part in a residential school visit abroad extended their expectations of what their children could achieve.  In between the two visits, the UK school was inspected by OFSTED. The school was graded ‘outstanding’, and the German activities were recognised and praised in the OFSTED report.       

 Bring the project to life….

 The project was brought to life by visiting impressive local places in the NW with fabulous art. Liverpool was a great location and we were lucky to have fantastic weather too. Worksheets were used to identify the works of art and give an opinion with a smiley/sad face. Students shared worksheets and this helped them to bond and form friendships. The theme and the worksheets also helped to overcome the language barrier.

The Tate North gave another experience of public art and the students particularly enjoyed the quirky, fun exhibits (again, minimal language needed here)

Bremen Altstadt (old town) was a great contrast to the modernity of Liverpool waterfront and the public art we found there was also more traditional……

Highlights of the project visits

 One of the highlights in the UK was the location of our residential outdoor centre in the middle of Delamere Forest – so we literally had the woods on our doorstep.

This was a major benefit both in terms of work i.e. using the trees and leaves as part of the creative process and also free time as we had a wonderful environment to explore and enjoy….

When we visited Bremen we went to the Blaumeier centre where we encountered performance art which was an unexpected bonus!

What did the young people learn from the project?

Working together is fun and productive… A number of the students are very solitary in their ways and working co-operatively is a big step for them. They achieved this with support.

Concentration is another issue for a lot of young people with special needs. We saw fantastic focus from lots of the students because they were engaged with the work and enjoying themselves.

For many of the students, this was their first experience of travelling abroad and discovering that the language that they had learnt in school was real!