Before Christmas Alice Tasker from Levenshulme High School for Girls, arist Dena Bagi and I headed down for a visit to London. Unfortunately teaching assistant, Laura, couldn’t make it in the end. The idea was that by taking part in a unique shared experience and taking the time to get to know each other, we would collaborate better when it came to the intense experience of working on the project. We understood that we were very lucky have this sort of luxury (ie the funding and cover) to take time out like this. When we were planning the project we believed that building a strong collaboration between the partners was essential for it to work effectively and fortunately enquire, who are funding the project, have been very supportive of this way of thinking – in fact the recently published enquire research evidences the reasoning behind it.
During our day in London we took in the sights and sounds from The Wellcome Collection (including their War and Medicine exhibition), The British Museum ( Statue Philia, installations of contemporary sculpture throughout the galleries) and The Serpentine Gallery where we looked at contemporary Indian art in Indian Highway. One of the most important things to come out of the day was that outside of our ‘roles’ as ‘teacher’, ‘artist’, ‘educator’, we were pretty much the same. We all had degrees in fine art, we were all inspired by looking at contemporary art and we all felt invigorated by a day away from our regular work and excited about what we would take back with us.
For me it was the simple things about the day that meant the most: a shared love of Caesar ‘The Dog Whisperer’, exchanging thoughts on what we liked and didn’t like about the art and exhibitions, and telling ghost stories over lunch. We talked about our concerns and how we would get over them, what we were looking forward to and got a feel for how each other thinks/works/learns.
We’ve had our first session in school at Levenshulme since and all went smoothly. Dena had chatted to Alice beforehand and both knew exactly what would be happening. We sensed it would be good to give the class 10 mins with Alice after lunch so they had a chance to discuss the project so far with the teacher they knew and trusted and that seemed to work well too.
I’m sure one day in London isn’t the answer to everything but it’s certainly given us a shared point of reference from which we’ve all found it easy to move forward from.