Creative Curriculum encourages primary school children to interact with and explore their local public realm spaces of Broadgate, Paddington Central and Regent’s Place through taking part in creative, practical and curriculum-focused activities.
The project is supported by British Land and co-led by Open City and a team of creative practitioners including visual artists Reza Ben Gajra and musician Luke Crookes.
This Autumn Open City has been working with year four pupils from Millfield’s Primary School to make an incredible sculpture and soundscape.
The project started when pupils visited Broadgate on the 24th September.
During their visit, pupils learnt about the extraordinary histories of Broadgate in an interactive story session with the professional teller, Olivia Armstrong. They examined and drew David Batchelor’s 'Chromorama' with artist Reza Ben Gajra, explored Broadgate’s amazing architecture with architect William Jefferies and joined musician Luke Crookes to create sounds in response to Barry Flanagan’s 'Hare on Crescent and Bell'.
After their visit pupils went back to school to discuss what they wanted to include in their sculpture and drew designs.
Pupils were especially inspired by the future development of Broadgate and the surrounding area in contrast to the rich historical contexts of the site. They decided that in the future robots would live and work at Broadgate and so they decided to create a sculpture that would have robots in it. Pupils also wanted to include an element that symbolised the past and were inspired by native Indians creating totem polls to honour their ancestors. Pupils also decided that Chromorama reminded them of totem-poles. Pupils decided to join their ideas together through arranging their robot heads into a totem-pole.
Pupils also decided to design and make their own buildings inspired by the first letter of their names and included these in their sculpture designs along with one of their classmates leaping into their sculpture in reference to the hare leaping over the bell in Barry Flanagan’s beautiful sculpture.
Throughout the project, pupils worked very hard with artist Reza to use an array of tools, sheet metal and aluminium wire and polls to turn their designs into an astonishing sculpture.
Whilst making their sculptures pupils worked with musician Luke Crookes to make an imaginative soundscape to bring their sculpture to life, please watch the film below to hear the music the pupils created.
Each year the Creative Curriculum programme enables 280 pupils from Camden, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Westminster to explore spaces they previously haven’t visited, and supports children’s learning through facilitating the investigation of public works of art and surrounding architecture and the creation of high-quality sculptures and animations.
Projects start with on-site workshops and children taking part in drawing, discussion and curriculum-focused activities (measuring scale, volume, angles, materials and forces) to investigate and record exemplary architecture and a variety of sculptures to gain inspiration to design and make their own public works of art.
Pupils then take part in in-class workshops to make sculptures or animations that are publically displayed in Broadgate, Paddington Central and Regent’s Place. At the end of each project, pupils take part in on-site celebration events, and their works of art are unveiled to and celebrated by fellow pupils, family members, building occupiers and British Land staff.
From October 2017 to July 2018, six key stages two classes visited sites at Broadgate, Paddington Central and Regent’s Place and created four beautiful sculptures and two incredible animations which brightened up the public realm spaces of Finsbury Avenue Square, Paddington Central’s Amphitheatre and Regent’s Place’s Triton Square.
Exploring Broadgate with St Paul’s C of E primary school and St John’s C of E primary school
In October 2017, pupils from St Paul’s C of E primary school and St John’s C of E primary schools visited and were inspired by the public sculpture trail around Broadgate and buildings in Exchange Square to make their own incredible sculptures. During their visit, pupils drew and discussed David Batchelor’s Chromorama, Bruce McLean’s, Eye-I and Richard Serra’s Fulcrum. Pupils then combined their favourite elements of each sculpture to design their own works of art.
Throughout November, pupils worked with sculpture artist Reza Ben Garja for six classroom-based workshops to develop designs for and to build their sculptures. Leading up to the project pupils from St John’s C of E primary school had been studying mythical creatures and chose in their workshops to build an impressive three-metre metal flying dragon. Pupils from St Paul’s C of E primary school focused on their school’s emblem to design and create a huge sailing ship complete with wire mesh sails.
As well as discussing the built environment and completing the design process from creating sketches to building sculptures, the children learnt exciting new skills including drilling, riveting and embossing with steel, wire and aluminium.
At the end of the programme participating pupils re-visited Broadgate to take part in an end of project celebration event. During the event, pupils helped Reza to install their sculptures on-site and surveyed members of the public to investigate and record their responses to their sculptures and the surrounding architecture. During the celebration event pupils also took part in a musical workshop to create soundscapes for their sculptures and to receive certificates and goodie bags to celebrate their achievements of taking part in the project and creating their sculptures.
Investigating Paddington Central with St Mary of the Angels R C primary school and Hallfield primary school.
In February 2018, 30 pupils from St Mary of the Angels R C primary school and 30 pupils from Hallfield primary school visited Paddington Central during their ‘Hello Spring’ festival. During their visit, pupils were particularly inspired by the abundance of greenery in Paddington Central’s public realm spaces along with its beautiful waterways and bridges and chose to continue their projects with an organic theme.
Pupils from St Mary of the Angels R C primary School were particularly interested in the canals, bridges and water features at Paddington Central and decided to link their project and sculptures designs to Julia Johnson’s The Pearl Diver that they were reading together in their literacy lessons. The result was a breath-taking sculpture featuring a human figure dripping in pearls under the ocean.
Pupils from Hallfield primary school also especially enjoyed Paddington Central’s landscape architecture and the presence of plants and foliage in the area and decided to create a sculpture inspired by both nature and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream which they had been learning about in class. Consequently, pupils designed and created a remarkable sculpture of a life-size fairy surrounded by insects.
Each project ended with an onsite celebratory event and the unveiling of the pupil’s sculptures. After admiring their sculptures, pupils interviewed members of the public and building occupiers at Paddington Central to find out what they thought about their works of art and the impact they had on their surrounding area. During the celebration event sound artist and musician, Luke Crookes also worked with the children to create musical narratives and soundscapes to bring their sculptures to life.
Animating Regent’s Place with Netley Primary school
In June 2018, 30 year six and 30 year four pupils from Netley Primary school visited Regent’s Place to explore 10 Brock Street and 20 Triton Street with architect and Director of Open City, Rory Olcayto and musician Luke Crookes. Whilst investigating these buildings pupils considered and recorded scale, materials, manmade, natural and imagined sounds. During their visit, pupils also discussed and drew Gary Webb’s Approach Split and Antony Gormleys’ Reflection. When looking around Regent’s Place pupils were especially enticed by its bug hotels and the stark contrast of nature next to the manmade built environment. They, therefore, decided to storyboard two separate animations focusing on the relationship between nature and the built environment.
Following their on-site visits pupils worked with artist Reza Ben Garja to create and film props and scenes for their stop-motion animations and musician Luke Crookes to create and record musical soundscapes for their films.
The project ended with the pupil’s films being premiered to a busy audience on the public screen in Regent’s Place and the pupils making bug hotels with Global Generation to enhance the biodiversity of their own homes and gardens.
You can enjoy year four's 'Nature Revolution' here
You can enjoy year six's 'Parallel Worlds: Nature vs Manmade' here