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#393 “A Meal with Friends” – diversity and confidence at Stoke High School with Alice Andrea Ewing

Amie Davies

What did we do?

Our project is entitled ‘a meal with friends’, the idea behind this was to celebrate diversity within our school community and build the confidence of our students to create something that they felt proud of by creating bronze sculptures.

Our students took part in workshops with Alice Ewing. Myself and my colleague (Sian Roxburgh, Head of Art) prepared our students before the first workshop with the aims of the project and allowed students to create moodboards of foods that they enjoy in their cultures.

Workshop 1 involved the students working with clay and being able to mould and sculpt dishes that are special to them.

Workshop 2 consisted of the students then creating some dishes collaboratively in wax which were then used by the artist to create moulds.

Workshop 3 was a visit to Alice’s foundry where she demonstrated to the students how she creates the bronze sculptures. The students were able to watch the process and were able to see their sculptures revealed. Alice also showed them pieces that she has created and students were able to ask questions about the process and Alice’s career.

The final part of the project was an unveiling at school. The bronze sculptures were attached to a picnic bench in the playground. The Mayor came to see the sculptures and to congratulate the students on their hard work. The students were able to articulate to the Mayor the importance of the sculptures and how they had worked together to create these.

19 Year 7 and Year 8 students took part. The benefit is school wide and, hopefully, for years to come as the bronze sculptures will act as a talking point for students to respectfully discuss their cultures

Summary of impact

Through questionnaires, students have described an increase in the pride they feel in regards to their school.

They have commented that they ‘feel more comfortable talking to other students’ than they did at the start of the project.

The majority of students have asked for more arts projects like this, it has also been noted that in arts subjects these students are showing more engagement in the curriculum lessons. The students created the final product all themselves from their original plans. Adults were there to supervise and support when needed.

The project met the following “Hullabaloo22” outcomes:

Outcome 1: Education providers enrich the cultural and creative curriculum in their settings – Through the cultural meaning behind the sculptures.

Outcome 2: Providers inspire & support young people to develop careers in the creative sector – through discussions with the artist.

Outcome 3: Arts and cultural providers attract more children and young people from under-represented communities to take part the cultural offer in Ipswich – 61% of the students who took part are from ethnic minorities.

Outcome 5: Providers support young people’s attainment in creative subjects – the project has given the students a love for creative and artistic subjects and therefore, their engagement in lessons is stronger than before the project meaning there has been a rise in attainment.

Outcome 8: New partnerships develop between community organisations/groups and arts providers. – We will be keeping in touch with Alice to work together in future if funding becomes available.

What would we do differently

The student engagement has been excellent, this has also fed into engagement in curriculum lessons.

Within our school there are many procedures when it comes to organising activities which made this process quite difficult. I would like to have more students involved over the year next time via two or three groups, however, we would need a larger budget to cater for more numbers.

Are there parts of the project you will continue to develop and deliver?

The sculptures will continue to raise the conversation around diversity and act as a safe space for students to discuss this with each other. We would like to put together more arts projects (Art, Music, Drama, Dance) so that the students can engage with different activities and feel pride in their school.

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Amie Davies, Stoke High School