A London-based contemporary craft workshop programme delivered in collaboration with the Royal College of Art’s outreach team, ReachOutRCA.
Revival, now in its third year, is a multi-faceted project that brings together continuing professional development (CPD) for both teachers and participating graduates of the RCA’s applied art courses, in addition to hands-on learning opportunities for school pupils. Coordinated by ReachOutRCA with the Crafts Council’s financial backing and support, it has so far demonstrated a winning formula, helping to embed contemporary craft in the curriculum through the following elements:
• Out of school practice-based CPD days for teachers, Subject and Faculty Leaders and technicians
• Classroom-based workshops led by RCA alumni working in various craft disciplines, including Jewellery, Ceramics, Textiles, Metalwork and this year – Glass, too!
• Use of the Crafts Council’s Handling Collection in maker-led workshops with school pupils
ReachOutRCA is the Royal College of Art’s outreach programme in which students and alumni lead an exciting programme of art and design projects with state secondary school pupils. Their main focus is to engage pupils who have potential in art of design but may face barriers in taking it to a higher level due to personal, social or cultural factors.
This year ‘Revival’ has grown in ambition yet again. Following an inspirational Teacher’s CPD Day at RCA on 22nd January 2010, pupils from four London schools have been working with a new crop of RCA glass, ceramic, metalwork and textile artists to learn new techniques, ruminate on challenging ideas and play with materials.
This year’s participants are:
• Blanche Neville School for Deaf Children (year 10 students) with Jo Ayre – Ceramics
• Forest Hill School (year 9 students) – Metalwork with Caren Hartley
• Ashcroft Technology Academy (year 10 students) with Purnima Patel – Glass
• Cumberland School (year 9 students) with Ella Robinson – Textiles
The workshops will culminate in an exhibition at the RCA’s Hockney Gallery – a great opportunity to celebrate the creativity of the young people involved!
The makers’ experiences so far…
Jo Ayre (Ceramics) has said of her experience, mid-way through the workshops:
“To be involved with the Revival project, and particularly with the pupils and staff at Blanche Neville School, has been an inspiring privilege. The project has increased my confidence in delivering workshops that are focused on the pleasure, challenge and physicality of making. Their industriousness and energy has been an inspiration, and the project has provided a renewed stimulus in my own practice. I am excited to see how the pupils’ work develops, and how they respond to the opportunity of exhibiting their work.”
Caren Hartley (Metal) has been bowled over by the enthusiasm of her participants:
“Revival is proving to be a great experience, as well as enjoyable! I am teaching a group of year 9 boys at Forest Hill School, all of who are, to my surprise (and great relief), well behaved, polite and hard working! ...Overall the workshops are going really well, and the boys are getting really excited about making – which is great!”
Purnima Patel (Glass) enjoyed using the Crafts Council’s Handling Collection loan with her group:
“The students were encouraged to look at the handling collection, Cactus Trolley Clock and Textiles box were perfect examples of how pattern is used in different ways. It was great for the students to look at these and feel the textures and get up and close to the objects. …They were then asked to create an artistic response from the pieces and pictures provided.”
Ella Robinson (Textiles) reflects on her open approach to the task of teaching at a secondary school:
“I didn’t have any expectations about Revival before it began, I just hoped that the pupils would find my workshops interesting and stimulating, a bit of a different way of thinking and a varied approach from what they are taught at school…. I am constantly impressed with the way they take a task and make it their own, taking my simple ideas and adding their own individual twists, to produce some beautiful and thoughtful results.”
Past Revival Projects:
• Last year we held the first open-access CPD day at RCA, Kensington Gore, meaning more teachers (and so more pupils) could benefit from the project’s fresh approach to the teaching of crafts.
• Stephen Johnson visited Blackheath Blue0coat School, Lewisham – Metal
• Yemi Awosile visited Grey Coat Hospital School, Westminster – Textiles
• Nao Matsunaga visited the College of North East London (CONEL)– Ceramics
The Revival Pilot (2007-8)
• The pilot was delivered in partnership with the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) and featured loans from the Crafts Council’s primary collection, presenting a unique opportunity for the participant schools to exhibit cutting edge original craft pieces.
• Lina Peterson visited Bridge Academy, Hackney – Jewellery
• Cassi Hill visited The Greig Academy, Hornsey – Textiles
• James Rigler visited Harris Academy, Peckham – Ceramics