We continued to be excited to work in our new Art studios. The new fit for purpose building has large windows which have views across trees and green spaces in the school grounds.
We have a small photographic studio space and have updated our Photography resources with new improved studio lighting and cameras. Energy saving climate controlled systems provide even temperatures throughout the year along contemporary classroom lighting systems. The classrooms are twice the size of our previous smallest art room in the old block. Younger students have the benefit of A level Art and Photography students completing independent study alongside them as the rooms have the space. Ten new PC’s have been installed in the classrooms along with a dedicated printer. Students also continue to use the schools wireless network on their iPads. Storage cupboards for student bags and blazers are provided during practical lessons.
Students have benefitted from lessons that can start quickly and be cleared up with greater efficiency due to the new room layouts.
Twenty five students from years 8 to 13 students were selected to participate in a workshop led by the artist Andy D’cruz at the Honeywood museum in Carshalton earlier this year. The workshop was funded by Art Council England as part of Sutton’s Imagine Arts Festival 2016.
Based upon the writer H G Well’s novel “The Time Machine”, Andy D’Cruz led the students in discussing what they believed the future would be like. They worked together to come up with ideas and a description of what would happen to them, the world of work, human health and what the local area of Sutton would be like in the future. Students produced drawings representing their visions. Sound recordings were made of all their ideas.
Following the workshops these recordings were placed, by the artists from Output Arts, into modified old radios using digital media to make a steam punk style objects. These were exhibited at Honeywood Museum from in October as part of the Imagine Arts Festival.
The dials could be turned on the he old fashioned radios to tune the listener into student voices. Students produced a range of interesting drawings and ideas on the afternoon. It was a good opportunity for some of our most able students to meet and work together.
Our Former Technician, Jo Lovelock, successfully completed her MA at Farnham University for the Creative Arts with
an exhibition of her Art work. Jo describes the process in her statement:
“Through the processes of transition and transference I explore our emotional states. Using the projection of childhood memories onto evocative objects, I weave psychological narratives between the real and the imagined, and investigate textiles’ ability to create a holding or containing environment for our emotions.
Drawing parallels between transitional objects and talismanic charms I am exploring the importance of haptic engagement to our sense of self and relationship with others.”
We moved out of our old art studios at St Philomena’s School a year ago, in July 2016. At the time I took some photographs of the empty abandoned rooms. As we were preparing to leave, many students – who had come to love working in the old studios – expressed their disappointment to be leaving. They would miss the old architecture, former nuns dormitories, paint splattered walls and floor; their own space. They would miss the rotting, blocked sinks with only cold water, and the tiles and paint peeling off the wall.
Now, one year on, they do not miss the rooms any more. Our new rooms are well lit, warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. Before, thirty students were squeezed into one classroom that was half the size of our new rooms. Now, there is ample space for the students (and larger sinks).
The old rooms have been modernised, refurbished, and redecorated. They are now the Faustina Centre. A new department at the school has moved into the rooms, and will make them their home.