Sunday 31 May 2009

Creative Manifesto Prezi

You will have received an email this afternoon inviting you to view the latest version of the Manifesto for a Creative Tallis on This has proved to be a fairly effective means of sharing documents online so that they can be peer edited. When it comes to presenting documents however, there aren't many options beyond Powerpoint and Keynote. I've had a go at using Prezi again to create an interactive version of the manifesto. It's a sophisticated application and I'm still not sure that I'm getting the most from it. I think it might be better used to present an argument or discussion fully utilising the ability to reveal new information and play with scale. I recommend you give it a go. It's certainly exercised my grey matter for a couple of days and I dare say will continue to do so for a few more. Click the image above to visit the Prezi Manifesto page.

Saturday 30 May 2009


I've been playing around with a really exciting presentation tool called (appropriately) Prezi. It's different from the usual tools available like Powerpoint, Keynote (even Slideshare) in that it's not slide based but rather allows you to create content on a seemingly infinite desktop, then draw a path between the various media items. This then produces an animated journey in the finished presentation. You can embed text, photos, film clips and sounds into the Prezi to create dynamic presentation narratives. Click the image above to have a look at the one I've made. Once the site has loaded, use the arrow (bottom right) to navigate through the animation. There are some great examples of other presentations on the main site so you can see the full range of Prezi's capabilities.

Why not have a go yourselves? It's free and there are pleny of How To videos on the site as well as on YouTube to get you started (guess the amazing accent of the guy doing the talking). Could this be the future of presentations as we know it Jim? No more death by Powerpoint?

Our new mobile phone blog

Working on the principle that one can't have enough blogs I've set up a new mobile phone blog (moblog) using the excellent Tumblr. Now there's no need to sit in front of your computer to blog about creativity at Tallis. Make a note of the following email address, add it to your contacts and use it to text or picture message content to the mobile blog. The application cleverly recognises the type of message you have sent - pictures, text, quotations, even chat - and formats the entry accordingly. You can also integrate the service with other social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook:

Creative Tallis Tumblr mobile blog

If you're new to blogging and want to try something simple and flexible I strongly recommend Tumblr.

Friday 29 May 2009


Just discovered this online comic strip creator called Pixton. It's free to register and pretty simple to use. I found this educational comic that I really liked and thought I'd share it with you. Hope you're all enjoying the lovely weather.

Thursday 28 May 2009

British Music Experience at the O2

On Thursday the 28th of May I went to the British Music Experience at the O2 Bubble.

The British Music Experience is an Exhibition that lets you experience and learn about Music from different decades. It’s also a completely interactive exhibition, combining cutting edge audio and visual technology with some of the most coveted music memorabilia of all time.

When you get there your shown into a small Cinema room with 1 row of seats, Lauren Laverne is presenting the video and she explains what to do when we get into the Core and how to use our ticket, the ticket is not just to get you into the exhibition but also to use in it, The ticket is known as a “smarticket” that ticket allows you to swipe it on a card reader next to the displays that you like so that when you get home you can go onto the website and register, which lets you continue your British Music Experience. Once your logged in to your own personal area you then type the code that’s on your ticket in and it sows you all the displays that you swiped your card on and more about them, which I thought was very clever,

After the preview in the small cinema room you walk through this corridor into “the core” (a circular shape) which had small touch screens with the latest head phones connected to them and you select a time zone from 1945-2008 and it will tell you what’s hot and some facts about music in that time. Also in that room there were 2 glass boxes, both with a time line ant the top, 1 of the boxes had different radios from different times and in the correct place in the time line the other box had record players to stereos again they were under the point in time in which the were made. In another part of the room there was a table with a map projected onto it, with a scroll ball you scroll the cursor to different parts of the world and it will tell you an artist that came from that part of the world and with headphones it would tell you some facts about that artist. There was also a small room inside the core were you would select a type of dance music and have a lesson on how to dance to a song, then you can watch a video of you making a right fool out of your self lol.

Around the room there were other open doors leading into other rooms all the rooms were set on a time line so one room would be 1945 to 1962 when another room would be 1993 to 2009 in each of these rooms were items of clothing or instruments belonging to famous artists from that time, also you can watch interviews of musicians talking about musicians from the time in which the room is set. In one of the rooms there was also a screen were you can select and album and learn all about it.

Before all of those rooms was one other room called the Gibson Interactive Studio” and inside it were lots of guitars, basses, drum sets, pianos, a microphone and a mixing desk, some of the guitars, basses and drums had a touch screen next to them with interactive lessons with the musicians that play that instrument in the song that you choose the lessons range from beginner to advanced and then pro so any one can do it, some of the instruments didn’t have lessons on them and were just free play which was great fun. There was another room at the end of the time line rooms and this room was called “the future” I’m not quite shore what this room was all about but I think it was trying to tell people that nobody knows what music will be like or how we will listen to it in the future.

Over all I had so much fun, the whole exhibition was interactive and very factual, it’s great for learning all about how music changed through time and I advise every one to go and have a look tickets are £12 - £15 and it’s so worth it (but I would advise you not to go on your own to get more out of it)

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Does creativity have a lifespan?

Just a thought - 

Does creativity have a life span - if so when does it end? and why
Because you can describe something as a creative action which would have an end once the action is over.
If you looked at something and thought it was creative when does it stop being so?

website I recommend

It's fun and satisfying for many reasons.

Type Drawing

Playing with Type Drawing on the iPhone

Monday 25 May 2009

Creative Learning Forum

One of the features of the new website is a Creative Learning Forum. The idea is to stimulate discussion about creative learning from visitors to the site. I've posted a couple of discussion topics but I need some help to get the ball rolling (and to check that the forum form works) so it would be great if you could head over there and leave a comment or two. If you're feeling up to it you might even want to start a discussion of your very own. Remember, the site is intended to be about creative learning generally as well as what's happening at Tallis.

Saturday 23 May 2009

Shine 2009

Check out the Shine 2009 website. Thomas Tallis School is the featured user (bottom right) on the homepage and the scrolling images at the top feature a portrait by an ex student and (if you look carefully) a picture of Raihan's brother Riz wearing headphones. Shine is the national festival of young people's talents that takes place this year the week of the 6th July. We've made a point of uploading quite a few pictures, sounds and films to the site but you can get involved too by registering online. I think I have to give you the thumbs up and then you can start uploading your own content. There are two competitions running this year. One is to create a design for a Tesco Eco bag and the other is to submit an image inspired by Wimbledon. The winner recieves a visit from Tim Henman. It would be great if you all registered on the site and encouraged your friends to do the same. We've got lots of exciting things planned for Shine Week this year. In fact, there are so many that it wasn't possible to fit them all into a week!

Friday 22 May 2009

Hey Guys..

I'm going to be apart of the Greenwich short film challenge, and I'm in need of an abandoned area in the borough of Greenwich in which I can locate my film.

- It needs to be in a building ie, car parks, underground areas etc...

- It needs to be freely available to use by the public.

This is URGENT, and would be great to hear your ideas of places to go a.s.a.p...

Many Thanks,

Thursday 21 May 2009

Here's the poster that I made at school

"VOTE Seb" lol

I think it might also be nice to use more than one poster to catch people's eyes more than once. When I got home I made 2 more posters just so there are more to chose from:

Let the voting begin!

This is my first post yay!!!!!!

Hi guys. Today we made 2 posters and we would like you to vote by leaving a comment on which one you would like to see around the school telling people how to get involved in this project.

Wednesday 20 May 2009


I think you should watch this video: found on YouTube:

Me and Sebastian went on a Personal Well being and Economics trip to the 'West End'. Spring Awakening, is a 2009 musical set in the 10th Century about students becoming teenagers and falling in love.

As we left from school at 1pm to kidbrooke station, we were talking about whether it was worth going to see the performance and miss the chance of going home early... We reached 'the strand' and saw all the big theater performances go past us; 'Joseph and the technicolour dream coat', Lion King, Wicked etc. When we finally saw a nice looking sign with 'spring awakening' in capital letters, we walked inside an extremely posh foyer with stairs that lead into the theater... There it was the most grandest yet poshest place I had ever been in, the stage was set up like an old school and the seats were all typically red with gold plated numbers on them, there I sat nearer to the stage with a quiet posh lady beside me with a Chinese family behind, all interested in what this performance could be about, they obviously had no clue what so ever when I had over heard creative ideas on what it can be about and what i could be about. Anyway, so the performance began, main lights turned down. When there a girl stood on a chair with a spotlight and nothing else, just on her, she had seemed to be moving her hands around her body which gave us an idea on the story of the performance. Throughout the spectacular musical the characters had kept doing the same hand movements. To be honest, in some ways this play could be called a very creative and artistic way to show teenagers growing up and becoming adults.

The way in which they had portrayed this in the story is that 'Melchior' (Aneurin Barnard) was a student at an extremely strict boys school and had an extremely lazy friend who just kept failing in everything 'Moritz' (Iwan Rheon). But 'Anna' (Natasha Barnes) tries to ask her mum an awkward subject (sex). Sian Thomas who starred in 'Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix' (Anna's mother) really doesn't want to tell her where babies come from, and lies, saying "you just fall in love". Thinking this is true, she avoids ever falling in love, yet her and her friends just fantasize cute boys especially Melchior... Melchior however who had always fancied her, knew all about where babies came from and that wasn't just falling in love. So, one day he had bumped into her, Anna all nervous didn't really want to speak to him just in case.. As time goes by they start remembering their child hood together and begin to fall in love!!

Days after, the doctor comes to visit Anna and her mother, due to Anna feeling a bit 'ill' when the doctor soon finds out she's... PREGNANT... Anna not understanding how it's possible and her mother in complete and utter shock, as she is not married this could ruin her reputation, in this in mind she gets Anna killed... However Melchior was sent away to another school for teaching Moritz about making love. This at the time was very disrespectful, which meant he'd have to leave Anna. But Moritz however gave up on life and committed suicide, leaving the girl that really loved him. More days go by, when Melchior gets the news that Anna is pregnant. He runs back to her sending a message saying meet me at the cemetery, by this time Anna was dead. He waits and waits when she doesn't seem to have turned up, when he then came across Anna's grave... Which means the two people most close to him had both past away, he had nothing left... when in one particular song he was about to kill himself when they showed Moritz and Anna raising from their graves persuading him not commit suicide, maybe to portray them still being with him. This is one spectacular musical, and it's a must see performance...

Raihan Muhammad


Creativity ARG Meeting Notes
19th May 09

We had a very productive and ambitious meeting to discuss how we advertise and recruit for the Tangled Feet residency. To start Amber and Tom showed us some of the work by Tangled Feet and we discussed how they worked. We liked the fact that the audience weren’t informed of what exactly was happening.

We decided we wanted to recruit around 15 people to help /take part with the Tangled Feet residency and we thought there should be a mix of all years across the school. To recruit these participants we decided we wanted them to have an experience similar to the experiences we want to create with Tangled Feet and to those we have encountered on our visits to places like Rivington Place and Tunnel 228.

We wanted to advertise for volunteers and discussed interesting ways to interview them. We decided we wanted recruits to experience a game/challenge to see how they worked together and explain the project.

We want to advertise an event but do not want to give away exact details (also we weren’t really sure what they might be asked to do). We decided on certain skills / qualities that our recruits needed. They should be confident, creative, outgoing, enthusiastic, be able to commit to the project and most importantly have the ability to keep a secret. We also thought we should mention that the project will be with a theatre company.

We decided that we would advertise for recruits through posters, pizza bags, assembly, website, TV in reception, and tannoy announcement. Matthew volunteered to interrupt lessons in the name of creative promotional advertising.

Interviews will take place after school and ideally the experience will last about 20 minutes with time afterwards for interviewees to make personal statements if they want to take part.
The interviews start off with a map challenge where recruits are given clues which eventually lead them to the drama studio. ARG members will be on hand to guide lost recruits.
A video will then be shown to recruits in the drama studio / Lots of little videos showing the type of experiences we want to create. Members of the ARG will then explain their roll, with a question and answer session. Recruits can then write a short/film a short statement about why they want to take part.

The group were a bit worried about the number of people who may apply. Some thought there would be too many to cope with and some thought there would be too few. We decided to limit the number of people that could be interviewed to 40 across the school and that this might make the chance to apply more desirable. The first 40 participants would have to pick up a clue from a designated person.

Action Plan

  • Amber - to check out drama studio availability and start map with clues different routes. Could we contribute possible clues on blog?
  • Raihan - to make promotional film for screen in reception which calls for recruits
  • Tom and Billy - to make the film/s for the drama studio explaining what the project is about
  • Seb and Matt and KH to work on posters in coordination with Raihan
  • Shannon and DP are to think about the logistics of setting up drama studio, booking out equipment, getting filming ready. Could we have tents with laptops in to film why they want to take part?

Week commencing 1st June Posters to be out (1st week after half term)
Possible date for interviews 11th June (2nd week after half term)

Ms Hawkins

Gleaming lights of souls

I came across this whilst surfing the net. It’s an art installation called “Gleaming Lights of the Souls” by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama where visitors are invited to enter a tardis-like chamber, when inside the small interior unfolds into a magical encounter with infinity. The small room is mirrored on all four sides, with a shallow pool of water on the floor. A changing collection of small LED lights hung from the ceiling produce a countless chain of endless reflections, transforming the small cube into an unearthly place. I really like the idea and think this could be another installation like the Eye and I project.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Using new media to prepare for exams

Both my Year 13 English groups are currently preparing themselves for an exam on Wordsworth and Coleridge's 'Lyrical Ballads'. It's a closed book exam, so students have to find a way of memorising some short quotes from the poems to use in their exam. I thought I would try and find a way of making this more straightforward. I was very fortunate to be able to ask my brother-in-law to illustrate some key quotes, but I wanted the students to decide which quotes they thought most relevant. We decided that students would email me key quotes and an accompanying commentary and I would pass these on to Freddie Darke to illustrate. I also thought I could then collate the students work and email it to everyone - in other words you make a contribution that entitles you to everyone else's work. This also means that students within the group can share work or even email each other with questions and suggestions.

The illustrations are fantastic, but I thought we could make more use of them. The first step was to put them into comic life and ask the students to add commentary and links to other poems in speech bubbles, thought bubbles and text boxes. The next step was to export the comics to iPhoto so that they could be shared into iMovie09. The final stage will be for students to add a voiceover to the images to make a film that they can watch and use to revise. I'll put a link to the finished film once its done.


Sunday 17 May 2009

New Creative Tallis website

In response to the Leadership Team's thoughts on promoting creative learning at Tallis, I have made a website called Creative Tallis. The idea is to pull together as much information about creative learning as possible, both in school and out, to create a one stop shop which can be used for staff training, sharing best practice with other schools and providing up to date information to all our stakeholders. The site is not complete yet (I suspect it may never be, such is the nature of rapid developments in school) but I thought you may like to take a look at what's there so far and give me some feedback. Please let me know if links don't work or you think things are in the wrong place. I'd also like to know if you think the information is useful and accurate. If you spot anything I've missed or forgotten about (or just not got round to including yet) please let me know and I can make a list. I thought it best to register our own domain names so we now have exclusive use of and Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Saturday 16 May 2009

Private View Invitation

It would be great to see you all at this year's Private View of the A Level Photography Exhibition. It takes place in the Tallis Room 4-7pm on Wednesday 10th June. Refreshments will be provided. Please bring a friend and enjoy the creativity on display.

Wolfram Alpha

I found this search engine by some one mentioning it on Twitter and thought that it was amazing Wolfram Alpha presents the data which you enter in a neet and organised way... here are some examples....

I used the term "Weather In London" there are a number of London's in the world however the search engine looked at my IP adress and was able to work out that I lived in London UK and therefore gave me the results of London UK...

It is also possable to do more complex searches such as... Weather in New York on Brandon Flower's Birthday and the result is shown.

There are hundreds of diffrent searches that can be done I recomend people to watch this video which has the creator showing all the cool things this can do! As the name suggests this is still in the Alfa stage of testing! So its going to keep getting better...

Finally I thought I would see what Thomas Tallis gets as a result

Friday 15 May 2009

Creative thinking t-shirt

We didn't get a massive response last time to the call for creative learning t-shirt slogans so here's another chance to throw your hat into the ring. This design comes courtesy of those clever folk at Threadless.

Wednesday 13 May 2009


We've just received the official documentary video of the Year 7 Cross-Curricular Connections Day that happened in April. Angus (Loaded Productions) has done a great job, in difficult circumstances, of capturing the rationale behind the day and the variety of activities that took place. I really like the student self-evaluations which demonstrate just how quickly they took to the idea of reflecting on the main themes, in relation to their learning, using new technologies. I'm looking forward to the Olympic Enterprise Day scheduled for Shine Week in July which has the even more ambitious brief of engaging the whole school!

Head Space

One of the things I love about the iPhone and iPod Touch is the excitement generated about new applications. It's great fun to see a group of colleagues huddled over their iPhones, swapping reviews of their favourite apps over breakfast. It's also great to be recommended a new app by a student. This happened to me yesterday morning when Michael and Amber stopped me outside the Drama Studio before assembly to tell me about Headspace, the new 3D mindmapping app. Given that Amber is now creating her own iPhone apps using Apple's Software Development Kit (SDK) I felt duty bound to download the full version for a very reasonable £1.79. I have been playing around with it a little and recommending it to anyone I know with an iPhone. It's a fantastic tool, a bit gimmicky perhaps, but brilliantly simple to use (the video demo on YouTube is a hoot) and great fun. The ability to move groups around, tilt and shift the perpective and stack group children in space is really impressive. Like all good mindmapping tools, colour is important and you are able to make connections between groups very simply. For me though, it's the aesthetic appeal which has me hooked.

Tuesday 12 May 2009

Back to the Future

I've just been reading the posts we made when we first set out as an Action Research Group and used the school's website to share our thoughts. Here is a post from way back in January 2008 about conditions for creative learning in schools. It's really important we keep returning to these key ideas and observations to see how much progress we may or may not have made as a group in influencing the creativity agenda. I think we still have a job to do in helping to define creative learning, describe what it might look like and suggest ways of fostering it in (and outside) school:

Definition of Creativity
Mr Nicholls 08 Jan 2008 17:46
This is the definition provided by QCA and is based on All Our Futures:
First, they [the characteristics of creativity] always involve thinking or behaving imaginatively. Second, overall this imaginative activity is purposeful: that is, it is directed to achieving an objective. Third, these processes must generate something original. Fourth, the outcome must be of value in relation to the objective.
I would add that the skills required in order to think and learn creatively are, perhaps, what we should be concentrating on defining as part of the KS3 review process. Also, what would lessons look like if we were requiring students to think and behave creatively?
Here is some information from the excellent Learning and Teaching Scotland website:
The following approaches can help teachers to promote creativity in the classroom.
  • Ensuring that planning incorporates a range of teaching and learning styles.

  • Providing regular opportunities for hands-on experimentation, problem solving, discussion and collaborative work.

  • Creating opportunities where pupils are encouraged to actively do the work and question what is going on.

  • Making use of creative thinking techniques such as Brainstorming, Thinking Hats and PMI.

  • Sharing the learning intentions with pupils and providing them with opportunities for choosing how they are going to work.

  • Encouraging pupils to improvise, experiment and think outside the box.

  • Actively encouraging pupils to question, make connections, envisaging what might be possible and exploring ideas.

  • Asking open-ended questions such as ‘What if…?’ and ‘How might you…?’

  • Joining in with activities and modelling creative thinking and behaviour.

  • Encouraging pupils to develop criteria that they can use to judge their own work, in particular its originality and value.

  • Facilitating open discussion of the problems pupils are facing and how they can solve them.

  • Encouraging pupils to share ideas with others and to talk about their progress.

  • Using failure or setbacks as opportunities to learn.

  • Ensuring that assessment procedures reflect and reward creativity, enterprise and innovation.

  • Making effective use of encouragement, praise and positive language.

  • Creating opportunities to learn through the imagined experience, giving them a safe context to explore ideas using drama techniques.

Developing creative thinking skills are fostered when learners are given:

  • authentic tasks that are relevant and which have a real purpose;

  • meaningful responsibility to think for and organise themselves;

  • real accountability in terms of setting standards for their work and agreeing these standards through discussion and collaboration.

Tallis TV on iTunes

Now there's no excuse for not getting hold of the latest episode of Tallis TV. Simply head over to iTunes and subscribe. While you're there, why not give the podcast a rating and leave a review. Well done to Tom DW, Ms Lemmer and the Tallis TV crew for all your hard work.

Tunnel 228

Today we went to see Tunnel 228. I wouldn't be able to give this enough credit by explaining it myself - it was absolutely amazing! I'll copy what a magazine has said about it and put up a couple of pictures. AMAZING!!! Made my day.

Tunnel 228 will run for 15 days from May 8. It is free to attend and sponsored by Bloomberg. The show promises to take audiences “on a sensory journey through art-installations, sculpture, live performance and vaults of mysterious curiosities”.

Like the city of Metropolis, Tunnel 228 divides the world into two social groups: one of planners or thinkers, who live high above ground and are oblivious to life underground. The other is a world of workers who live in the vaults of Tunnel 228 laboring to sustain the lives of those above ground. On arrival, audiences are issued with a protective mask, before setting off into the darkness to explore this subterranean world alone.

Tickets can be obtained free of charge by accessing Tunnel 228’s website and reserving a time slot to become a ‘worker’ at

Kevin Spacey, Old Vic artistic director, said: “We are very excited to be working with Punchdrunk and such an amazing collection of artists. Punchdrunk creates immersive theatre like no other. Their imagination and magical touch with unusual spaces makes this the perfect collaboration. A big thank you to Bloomberg for sponsoring Tunnel 228, without their support this event would not be free to the public.”

Punchdrunk artistic director Felix Barrett added: “Punchdrunk always aims to let people rediscover the excitement and anticipation of exploring the unknown. When The Old Vic showed us the site we knew that this would be a truly unique collaboration. There are so many talented and innovative artists involved, and showcasing an event like this completely free to the public is especially incredible.”

Monday 11 May 2009

Invitation to take part in Creative Agents event on July 1st

Jon and John Riches suggested we could use the blog to ask if a group of Tallis students would be interested in talking to 25 creative agents (people like John Riches working in schools on the creative partnerships programme across London) at an event I'm organising on July 1st.

It is really a training/development day for the agents, and they are very interested in hearing about how young people are communicating about ideas on creativity with each other and the school, and the impact they can have on school development.

We could allocate 30-45 minutes, or more if you would like, for you to present to the creative agents in any creative way you suggest, and to talk to them/answer questions etc. The day will be held at the October Gallery near Holborn/Russell Square tubes, and it could start at 10 with an informal warmup for everyone (led by your group, or by one of the agents), followed by your session at about 10.15am. If a later time would be better for you we could make it later.

I'll look forward to hearing what you think; it would be great if you would like to do it!

Judith Ackrill
CP agents training days co-ordinator

Sunday 10 May 2009


Communication technologies are generally categorized as asynchronous or synchronous. Asynchronous activities use technologies such as blogs, wikis, and discussion boards. The idea here is that participants may engage in the exchange of ideas or information without the dependency of other participants involvement at the same time. Electronic mail (Email) is also asynchronous in that mail can be sent or received without having both the participants’ involvement at the same time.

Synchronous activities involve the exchange of ideas and information with one or more participants during the same period of time. A face to face discussion is an example of synchronous communications. Synchronous activities occur with all participants joining in at once, as with an online chat session or a virtual classroom or meeting.

Virtual classrooms and meetings can often use a mix of communication technologies.
I thought this was relevant to post because lately I've been playing around with creating javascript and the only way I could learn to do this was either pay for a computing class that would take specific times of my free time or to learn online through people posting advice to blogs, websites and basically my own trial and error at the same time.

Without the blogs I would still be staring at a screen of digits that made no sense. I'm now quite proud of the little iPhone apps I made and think that some sort of conversation should start around e-learning in particular. Because we've spoke about using it for presentation, using as a record or recollection and other things as well but through just leaving comments on this blog and reading it regularly I’ve learned quite a lot.


One of the suggestions for actions from the Leadership Team meeting was that we investigate ways of sharing best practice with regard to successful creative learning strategies as way of convincing colleagues, students, parents and members of the local community about their value in 21st century education. Consequently, I've been searching for free website creation tools online so that we could make a site dedicated to sharing this information. I came across Weebly this evening and spent about 30 minutes creating a 4 page site structure and Home page introduction. I was really impressed with how easy it was to structure the content and manage the various elements of the site. It seemed to offer a lot of flexibility in terms of design and I really like the hover previews.

How do you feel about the idea of setting up a site for sharing lesson plans and projects featuring creative learning strategies? Do you know of any better sites than Weebly for doing this? What kinds of features and structure should the site have in order for it to be useful?

Online collaboration (continued)

As you can see, our request for the Leadership Team to provide us with feedback about our recommendations and draft manifesto has resulted in a flurry of notes added to the online document via Please take the opportunity to add your own notes and comments before the end of this week. You will have received a personal invitation via email to view the document. Simply follow the link and get stuck in. Everyone's views are of equal value so make sure what you think is reflected in the final draft. Let me know if you've lost the email with the invitation and I'll send you another.

Brain Wave

Having just finished reading Steven Johnson's "Mind Wide Open" which describes the strange science of neurofeedback, I was intrigued to discover an app for the iPhone called Brain Wave. You select a state of mind from a list including "euphoria", "critical thinking" and "creativity boost", choose the intensity of the binaural signal and an accompanying sound from nature (or just good old fashioned pink noise) and let the pulsing soundwaves do the rest. I'm in the early phases of my research so I can't report conclusively on the effects but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief and give creativity boost a go for a few days. Watch this space.

Saturday 9 May 2009

Promo Video!

I was having a look at the Charles Darwin School in Biggin Hill's website and I noticed that they had a very nice school promotional video which truly shows the large amount of creativity that happens in their school (they are also an arts college). I really liked the feel of their website.

* Does Tallis have a promo video?
* Should we have one?

The promo video is found here

This is their website

Friday 8 May 2009

Catalytic Clothing

Arthur Mathews' mural of the nine Greek Muses (Stanford University)

This afternoon we were visited by Professor Helen Storey who came to talk to us about a new project idea with the working title of Catalytic Clothing. Helen explained that Catalytic Clothing has the potential to transform human behaviour and imporve attitudes to sustainability through the collaboration of the arts and creative sector and those working in science and technology. The aim of the research strand is the development of a product that, when deposited on an item of clothing, bestows it with the ability to break down harmful air-borne pollutants. The active agent within the product will be a material that when exposed to light is able to catalyse the breakdown of the pollutants. The product will be delivered to the surface of the clothing during the traditional laundry cycle. Currently, despite many advances in smart materials and ‘smart clothes’‚ the human's clothing surface area has not been harnessed either as an energy source in its own right, or in this case used as a potential surface area to catalyse a reaction for good use. The overall aim of the project is to enhance a given fabric in such a way that it can actively remove airborne pollutants whilst the wearer goes about their daily life.

Phil Waywell was on hand to talk us through some of the science involved in the project. He explained that advances in science are often created at the very edges of human imagination and that collaborations between artists and scentists can have remarkable benefits. He explained that the key ingredient in Catalytic Clothing worked like a hybrid between sunscreen and a catalytic converter in a car. He reminded us that, in order for a product like this to be economically viable, commercial organisations needed to be convinced that there was a profit to be made. The team were investigating several ways to evidence the effectiveness of the technology. We watched a short animation designed to illustrate the impact of Catalytic Clothing. We were asked to imagine a busy Oxford Street in which all pedestrians had washed their clothes in this new product. It would only take 40 people per minute walking along a 1 metre wide strip of pavement to strip the air of harmful pollutants.

Several thoughts were shared amongst the group. How do you prove the effectiveness of something that is invisible? How do we make people more aware of the engineering and science that surrounds us every day without resorting to scare stories and extreme scenarios? How do we manage the often instinctively negative reactions to the new?

Helen was keen to consult us about our reaction to the project idea and to see if we would be interested in collaborating with her both on a bid for further research money linked to the Olympics and, if this was successful, on further developing the educational potential of the project.

In Ancient Greece, the Olympics was as much a celebration of the human mind as it was of athletic prowess. The nine Muses were the spirits that inspired human creative endeavour and imagination. In order to make a link between Catalytic Clothing and the Olympics, Helen has proposed that we might wish to think about our own contemporary Muses, personifications of the kinds of actvities, values or ideals that are relevant to modern life. The Muses also represent inspiration and creativity but not just in the arts since there were Muses of History and Astronomy.

So, it would be great if you could respond to these two requests.

1. What did you think of the ideas contained in Catalytic Clothing? The more specific you can be in your responses, the better.

2. What activities, values or ideals would you choose as your contemporary Muses?

Personality Type Test

I do not have a clue if this is OK or if it's a scam.... I have not had any spam mail yet from it. I registered on the website (takes 45 seconds) and you have to answer about 70 questions.

Once all of these are done you get the results.... Not sure what to think of mine!

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Ideas for Tangled Feet's residency

The other Feet were very excited when I fed back to them about our meeting at Tallis, and ideas have been flying about thick and fast.....

Our sound designer, Guy, had ideas about soundscapes and sound tours, like creating a sound-tour for one person at a time, using bi-naural mics (special headphone microphones which record sound exactly as the listener hears it and roots the recording in a specific location). You can do clever tricks with bi-naural mics by recording the sound in a room or open space when there's activity going on, and then playing it back to another listener standing in the same spot through headphones when the room is empty - makes it sound like the space is still full of invisible people and activity.

I've been thinking about the potential of the tents that we've been using, for different scenographic interactive installations. (they're from IKEA:

We've found them to be a really versatile material - you can cut them up, throw them around, squash them, put lights inside and make them can see some images of some of the things we've found they can do here...

What else can we do with them? I think that the white tent walls might make a great surface to project film or photography onto. What would happen if you projected different images onto all four walls of the tent? Could you make a panorama for someone inside? I think it's worth experimenting.

The tents are also really good for writing on with permanent markers. How could we use some tents to create a new, relaxing designated space for people to contemplate the notion of home, and also to record their thoughts at the same time? I was thinking about this installation by Helen Storey - a giant book whose pages got filled with the thoughts of everyone who encountered it over the lifespan of the installation.

We've also had a couple of conversations with a professional chef about how you'd make a feast. Could we make a "map of the world" feast, with foods from every continent? How might we utilise the recipes from around the world that pupils and parents at Tallis cook at home - and bring them all together?

Over and out.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Our 2009 Wordle

I've just made this Wordle based on all the posts we have made to this blog since January 2009. Incidentally, there have been 111 posts so far this year already. What does the word cloud tell us? Well, my first inclination was to try to make a found poem out of the most frequent words. This is what I came up with:

Students like new learning
Tallis people make school creative
Creative project really working
Comments posted

Despite the heavy bias in this interpretation, it is fascinating to see the frequency with which words like "School", "learning", "students" and "creative" crop up. We have clearly been pretty focused in our research and on task for much of the time. Well done folks!

Presentation to the Leadership Team

This is the plan for this afternoon's meeting. I'll bring all the relevant paperwork and we can discuss who's doing what when we meet at 3:30 in DSC. The LT meeting starts at 4pm in Hut 309. We should be finished by 4:45pm. See you all later.

Monday 4 May 2009


I think it's worth people taking a look at this site. A bit late for you to see one of their events as one in London is on tonight but still take a look . This is what their website says:

Ubikteatro is a theatre research group based in Venice, Italy. We believe in theatre, music and dance, and their interactions, both as means for creative communication and fundamental tools for a ‘mental revolution’, necessary to raise social awareness and stimulate constructive development in contemporary society.

Besides performing regularly, we run seminars and workshops and we provide personnel, technical and creative support and consultancy for external projects, including corporate events, presentation skills training, voiceovers, sound design and costume crafting.

Keen to explore old and new narrative strategies that disclose the power of physical and vocal expression, our research and interests span from Commedia dell’Arte to experimental theatre, often combining traditional elements and methodologies with the latest technologies.

Meeting with Kat Joyce

Friday's meeting with Kat proved to be very useful. She began by giving us a brief description of two projects with which she is involved. The first is as an associate director of the theatre company, Tangled Feat. The company specialises in physical theatre. They undertake long term collaborations which emphasise the values of trust and teamwork. They are currently working on their 6th Show entitled “Home”. This is their first project as a company. The piece is site responsive and was developed as an experiment which began life at the Deptford Albany. The show can happen in a variety of locations and gets richer the more people are involved. It is packed away into suitcases. One of the previous residencies was in a school in St. Albans where a performance of the play was improvised by 45 people. The company are also this year working with asylum seekers in Stockton and families in Kings Cross.

The second project is called "1 Mile Away" and is an exploration of a 1 mile radius area of South London. Unlike "Home" it is script based and the consequence of a collaborative workshop writing process with stories also being submitted to the project website and on Twitter. The emphasis is on non-linear and shared narratives and the final piece will be performed in local areas within the mile radius.

The discussion that followed explored the possibility that we could incorporate some of these ideas and working methods into our summer event(s) working collaboratively with Kat and Tangled Feet.

Discussion Notes

Stories and places.
Potential of the Tallis site – lends itself to site specific work.
Punch Drunk - a theatre company specialising in site specific work
dreamthinkspeak - another company who have utilised unusual locations for promenade pieces
Need to experiment with this kind of work to see what happens.
Could we use “Home” as a starting point? Do we start with Drama or can other activities be included – photography, sound, languages, history, geography?
Weeks 1st June, 22nd June, 29th June, 6th July then September residency possible
Changing perception of spaces
One event can cause a chain reaction.
£3650 + materials for a week residency
How can we get parents involved?
We need to write a brief – aims, budget, roles and responsibilities, scope of the project, partners in school
Could we use this project as an experiment to see if something even more ambitious could be created next year? A community opera? A huge site specific performance telling the story of Thomas Tallis School? A celebration of the 30 years on the current site and a way to say goodbye to the present building?

The group agreed that we would like to engage the services of Kat and Tangled Feet for a week long residency this summer with the possibility that this would be extended into the Autumn term. I agreed to write a draft brief which would be given to Kat before her meeting with the company this Wednesday. I'll try to put something up online for discussion today.

Thanks to Kat for agreeing to meet with us and inspiring us with some fantastic ideas. Watch this space!

Friday 1 May 2009

Manifesto collaboration

Thanks to everyone for leaving comments on the first draft of the Manifesto for a Creative Tallis. Putting it up on seems to have worked pretty well and it was great to be able to download the document into Pages with all of the comments attached (see above). This made the editing process very straightforward.

I have attempted to incorporate all the suggestions into the latest draft. You should all have received an email inviting you to comment on the newest version. I will print this on Tuesday to give to the Leadership Team for further consultation so you have until then to have your say.