Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Disrupting Tallis

I've really enjoyed what everyone has been saying on this blog over the last few weeks and I've been especially drawn to the idea of disrupting Tallis (Jon, Amber). Before Christmas  the Year 7 cross curricular project happened and culminated in an evening event showcasing the work. My favorite part of the event was the disruption that had happened in one of the music rooms just off the Tallis Room. All the furniture had been removed and the room had been transformed into a magical interactive experience. I obviously knew that the event was on, and I knew a bit about the work that was going into it, but I hadn't expected the room to feel like that when i walked in. I felt like I had discovered something exciting and new even though it was in a room I normally ignore and walk past all the time. I think school should be full of experiences like this, where little things surprise us and what we are expecting to happen is shaken up. 

Like Jon, who has written about the Cildo Meireles exhibition at the tate modern, I'd like to tell everyone about my favourite theatre company. They are called Punchdrunk and they specialise in creating theatrical environments in unusual transformed locations. During their performances the audience are free to choose what they watch and where they go. Punchdrunk’s desire is for the audience to rediscover the childlike excitement and anticipation of exploring the unknown and experience a real sense of adventure. I think it would be amazing if learning could be more like that. Punchdrunk say that they try to focus as much attention on the audience and the space as they do to the text and the performers. They took over the Battersea Arts Centre (the whole of it, offices, toilets, everywhere) and reused the space to how they felt it would work better. I think sometimes in school we are so stuck in our own habbits of how things are, that we can't see the potential of what could be. 


Jon said...

I couldn't agree more. I think we need the help of young people to question existing ways of doing things given that this would ultimately be for their benefit. I'm just reading a report by Futurelab about transforming schools and it suggests that "if we are to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by a condition of ‘constant change’, we need to consider how teachers can be empowered to innovate in ‘disruptive’ or ‘radical’ ways that may well challenge existing practice and lead to more transformational change." I'm also about to begin a book called "Trickster Makes This World: How Disruptive Imagination Creates Culture" by Lewis Hyde. His main idea is that "Artists of whatever sort need Trickster's help from time to time: when you're blocked or stuck, take an aimless walk and let your mind off its leash, and call on Trickster. He's the opener of dreams, of roads, and of possibilities." I really like this idea and it chimes well with our recent discussions about disruption.

Johnny2 said...

I think that the 'taking a walk' theory is very important; within a very closed environment (the classroom) it is very difficult to find the space to think creatively. Some students have trouble conforming to a classroom, start to disrupt, get angry, and are told to 'cool off and think about your actions' in a sin-bin of some sort; students who are struggling to be creative - and maybe getting equally frustrated - have no physical space to retire to. Could there be one? What would it look/feel like?