Creative Curriculum

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 2019, twelve key stages one and two classes visited sites at Broadgate, Paddington Central and Regent’s Place and created six beautiful sculptures and five incredible animations which brightened up the public realm spaces of Finsbury Avenue Square, Exchange Square, Paddington Central’s Amphitheatre and 2 Kingdom Street and Regent’s Place’s Triton Square.





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From May to July, year five pupils from Shoreditch Park primary School worked with artist Reza Ben Gajra and musician Luke Crookes to create a stop-motion animation inspired by their local surroundings.

The project started with children takng part in a site visit to Broadgate, the pupils saw lots of famous sculptures and amazing architecture, which they drew and then used to inspire their storyboards.

Pupils then took part in four in-school workshops to create their animation and soundtrack. Pupils took their local surroundings as a starting point for their animation, thinking about Liverpool Street Station as well as recalling the various sculptures they’d seen on their Broadgate site visit. Reza drew some pictures of what he remembered to jog some memories!

 In preparation for the workshops, the children had already begun thinking about some storyboard ideas, so pupils used these as a starting point for a weird and wonderful storyline that evolved fluidly from there.

Thinking about Liverpool Street Station, the first thing that came to mind was travelling on the tube at rush hour. The pupils were all very excited to pretend to be commuters, but first they needed some props to make them look like real commuters – so there were many mobile phones and brief cases made from card, as well as a hunt for any newspapers lying around the school! Everyone had great fun with the ‘moving’ escalator scene, but also realised that stop-motion animation is a lot slower than real life and requires lots of patience.

During day two of the project it was time to focus on recreating the Broadgate sculptures – so pupils dressed up in morph costumes to make Pegasus fly, the Leaping Hare leap, and Chromorama light up! Meanwhile, other pupils created their own animals from card for a later scene. Suddenly, lots of multicoloured birds, snakes, dragons, and unicorns were coming to life!

At the same time, some pupils were working with Luke to create a soundtrack for the film by making sounds and lyrics around what kind of things commuters might be thinking about at rush hour. They even had the opportunity to use glockenspiels, which was very fun!

Apart from sculptures in their local surroundings, the pupils also began to think about local history and how to integrate this into their film. Suddenly, the wild and exciting Boudica came to mind in a whirlwind of dramatic fire. To create this scene, the pupils used Reza’s flame-coloured fabrics and lots of tissue paper. When Luke heard the sounds of paper being ripped, it solved his problem of how to recreate the crackling noise of fire!

After a quick brainstorm, it was decided that the scene with the animals would lead into a funfair, so everyone set to work on making the giant funfair from coloured card, complete with a ferris wheel, spinning teacups, a carousel, and a helter skelter! The pupils then had lots of fun with Luke creating sounds for these fun and scary rides.

With the funfair scene ready to go, the pupils had the challenge of making it move like a real funfair. This required lots of teamwork and patience, with some children making candyfloss, ice cream, and balloons from card for the children in the scene to hold, and others carefully moving each part of the funfair a tiny bit each time Reza took a picture.

Finally, pupils laid out big  mats across the paper and pupils pretended to whoosh down the ‘slide’! This was harder than it sounds, but when it was finished it looked amazing, and was worth all the effort..and that sentence could be said to sum up the whole project…!

Please click the link below to see the pupil's fantatsic film;

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From June to July, Open City worked with puils from Netley Primary School to make an amazing animation. Working with artist and film-maker Reza Ben Gajra and musician Luke Crookes, a group of Year 4 pupils from Netley Primary School decided to combine concerns about climate change with a fun and creative storyline inspired by superhero comics.

To make their animation each pupils decided on an environmental problem and created a superhero who could use their powers to solve this problem to make London and the world a better place.

Pupils also worked with musician Luke Crookes to create a fun and catchy Super Planet Savers theme tune for the opening of the film.

A superhero isn’t complete without a symbol and a mask and so pupils also made these with coloured card, thinking about the powers and personality of each superheroe.

Whilst some pupils animated with Reza, other pupils started making props for one of the most important scenes – cars polluting the roads. Each pupil made lots of cars and clouds of smoke from coloured card. Pupils then filmed the scene of the cars moving along a road and realised that stop-motion animation requires a lot of patience because they could only move the cars a tiny bit each time!

After lots more animating, music-making, and prop-making using both card and Reza’s wonderful collection of materials, pupils called it a day and took off their superhero costumes. They had done quite enough saving the world for one day.

During the second day of the project, the Superheroes were well rested and ready to take on their arch enemy: The Pollution King. But first, they needed to animate each superhero showing off their superpower and they needed Luke to give each pupils a superhero voice!

After more crafting, creating a child-sized car and skyline of beautiful buildings as well as some lovely plants, pupils animated the final scenes and finished the rest of the soundtrack with Luke.

Pupils had succeeded in uniting to solve climate change with their superpowers, taken down the Pollution King, and partied to celebrate. And all in two days’ work…!

Between April and July, Open City worked with year three pupils from Ark Paddington Green Primary Academy to make an incredible stop-motion silhouette animation and soundscape.

The project started when pupils visited Paddington Central on the 1st April.

During their visit, pupils learnt about the extraordinary histories of Paddington Central in an interactive story session with professional teller, Olivia Armstrong. They examined and drew Paddington Central's incredible public art with artist Reza Ben Gajra, explored Paddington Central's amazing architecture with architect William Jefferies and joined musician Luke Crookes to create sounds in response to the archiecture of Paddington Central's ampitheatre.

After their visit pupils went back to school to discuss what they wanted to include in their animation and decided to focus on local surroundings, animals, and Charlie Chaplin!

Workshop one of the process involved pupils selecting an animal, real or imagined, to draw onto a piece of black card and then cutting it out. Pupils learned that in silhouette animation, it’s impossible to see pencil marks, so it’s important to cut very very carefully. Some of the animals needed coloured details like eyes and spots, so pupils carefully cut holes into their animals and filled them in with coloured gels.

Pupils then started to make the backgrounds for their film, deciding on three animals’ habitats: forest, garden, and city. Pupils used coloured gels to create shapes they associated with these spaces.

Pupils learned that stop-motion animation involves lots of patience because even very short scenes take lots of time, but when pupils re-watched what they had created, they realised that it’s worth the wait!

In workshop two of the process, Reza showed pupils an example of a split-pin silhouette figure. It just so happened to be of legendary film star Charlie Chaplin, so pupils decided to make a Charlie Chaplin city! Pupils found it quite difficult to make the split-pin figures but when they’d finished, they had lots of fun making their figures wave and dance!

At this point, pupils needed some towers for their Charlie Chaplin city, so they set to work making towers in black card with lots of colourful windows. Some pupils also started making other animals to feature in the film, like an elephant and a snake, whilst others were off working with Luke on the soundscape for the weird and wonderful city they had created!

Finally, pupils made a beautiful mosaic from coloured gel squares for the final scene, as well as letters of invitation to the film screening at Paddington Central for their friends and family!

The project ended with a celebration event at Paddington Central. During the event pupils had the unique opportunity to go up to the roof terrace of 4 Kingdom Street in Paddington Central, where they could see an amazing view of London! Here, pupils took part a fun printing workshop inspired by a snake scene in their film, each creating their own print using shoe polish and sponges to eventually form a huge snake when they put all their pieces of paper together in a line. After this, pupils watched their finished film for the first time and ate lots of cake, which was the perfect end to an amazing project!

Here is the pupil's film;





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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.


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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

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