This July we ran a summer school program loosely inspired by Corita Kent and See Red Women’s Workshop and supported by Create London. Here is a post by member Sadie St. Hilaire, documenting the week.
We started of the week making a collaborative poster inspired by Corita Kents’ “POWER UP” print. This was a fun intro into risograph printing, and getting to know each other. We worked in pairs on a part of a letter and wrote about our ideal art school. It was so nice to see our work come together to make a whole.
We then had Rabiah Mali take us out on a foraging trip to teach us about identifying different herbs and plants in the environment around us. Back at the press, armed with our new found knowledge and cuttings from different plants, we made our own plant diaries. Documenting our experiences with the different herbs, and their properties Rabiah taught us about.
It was the middle of a heat wave so we had a
warm up cool down exercise, Parachute Talks. Not only were we able to collectively fan eachother with the motion of the parachute, but we got to know eachtoher better by asking questions and swapping places. It was a lovely and playful way to start proceedings that had us giggling and feeling loose.
I personally want adults to have permission and space to play more.
During our parachute chats, Rosalie had mentioned the importance of talking about money, so it was great for Sofia to take us through High Hopes/Low Budgets. We made a booklet to help us think about the steps to making a project into reality.
We made collaborative life sized portraits of our selves! It was so much fun working so freely on such a large scale. Drawing around each other, we than painted lifelike depictions of ourselves. Lots of giggling ensued.
We then had a very transparent discussion about art practise lead by Rosalie. We talked frankly about money, working with institutions, planning workshops and different art practises. It was the kind of discussion many in the group said they never had in art school and wished that they had. It was refreshing to hear people talk very candidly about their experiences and I learnt a lot through it.
Things kicked up a notch after that as things got political. The FCK GOVT FCK BORIS event was on the same day, so we stepped into action making riso posters to take to the protest. Members said that the time constraint helped them make creative decisions, while others found it a bit stressful.
The hottest day of the year!
We began with painting plant pots, using some rudimentary printing, finger painting! The plants looked happy in their new homes and it was a nice way to create without being too precious.
Members made artist profiles on a creative of our choice. These turned into beautiful posters. We presented our work and artist to each other. There was a variety of different artists being presented. There was an interesting approach shared “Here are the things I enjoy about Tom Sachs, and here are the things I hate.” Balance and critical engagement in action!
Sahjan Kooner made us a lovely lunch to end of the week. On their ‘Power Up Now’ poster at the beginning of the week, they said that communal cooking and eating should happen more in arts learning. Delicious to see this in action. We ate from hand made bowls which some of the RRP team had made in preparation for the summer school at Modern Clay.
The White Pube came in to talk to us about how to get an exhibition. So much to take in and learn!
To end off a hot, but soulfully refreshing week, Etta and I held a feedback session to hear what people had thought about their time at Rabbits Road, what they had expected, and what they will take with them.
Some key quotes
“It was nice to be taken serisouly as an adult and allowed to particiapate in the activites as we wanted.”
“I came here in a way to invest in myself.”
“It was so nice talking to other people as I was working. To see what other people were up to and learn from that.”
“I feel like I belong here.”
“Being able to play and have the space to do so was benefical.”
My take aways - Play more, talk and learn with other people, invest in yourself, set your self time to create.
Thank you to everyone who participated with us, you made the week what it was. I wish all art schools, could be more like this experience.