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North Cambridge Academy opened their new school building in February this year, and throughout 2016 Kettle’s Yard are working in partnership with them to support students to make a creative impact on their school. Students selected artist Johann Arens to shape a programme of activity over the summer term, spending time with students to draw on their inspirations and aspirations to create a new public artwork, due to be installed in September 2016.
As Kettle’s Yard is closed, North Cambridge Academy has given our learning team access to one of their classrooms to hold activity, workshops, discussions and exhibitions. We worked with Johann to transform the room into an alternative studio space; furniture has been replaced with bright yellow floor to ceiling sculpted steel lines, where hooks, shelving and drawing boards allow students to display their work. Chairs and tables are replaced with cushions and benches that double up as plinths.
Johann has framed the programme around the idea of Motion Tracks – how we plot the lines of our movement around a room, a building and around our communities, and our activity has focused on line and movement. Johann held a series of Art Walks with selected classes from across the school. One walk invited students to consider and create the rules they abide by in different spaces whilst another guided students on a fictional audio tour to explore how their surroundings affect the senses.
While working closely with a core group of Arts Ambassadors, our aim was to ensure that all students were able to contribute to the project. In mid June we held an Art Week which included lunch and break time workshop activity, a trip to the New Tate Modern and a workshop day where all 400 students in years 7-10 took part in one of 4 artist-led workshops. This included opportunities to try light graffiti with Lizzy Hobbs, experimental drawing with David Kefford, movement and dance with Filipa Pereira-Stubbs and tattoo design with Kyle Percy.
We celebrated the work so far with an open evening for students’ friends and families on the 24 June, with a free family workshop. Johann will now work on his ideas for the final art works that will live in the school for the next 5 years, seeing the current year 7 students through their time at North Cambridge Academy.
Rosie O’Donovan, Learning and Engagement Officer, Kettle’s Yard
The project is funded by Cambridge City Council, through the My Cambridge programme.
All photos © Catarina Rodrigues 2016