Thursday 29 July 2010

The Measurement Shop

I've just received this invitation to see The Measurement Shop by Tangled Feet. Part of their development process involved a week long residency at Tallis where we set up our own Measurement Shop. I'm really interested in the idea of a Pop Up School at the moment, influenced by our pop up gallery on the concourse and Tangled Feet's pop up shop. I'm hoping to get a few more ideas from going to visit the Measurement Shop at the Elephant and Castle next week. Here are the details if you fancy coming along:

"We would like to invite you to tangled feet’s new research and development project The Measurement Shop...

What if experiencing theatre was as easy as entering a shop? What if a theatrical exchange mirrored a shopping exchange? What if the theatre was an empty shopping unit and the opening times were during the day with no evening performances? Who would the audience be?

The Measurement Shop is a creative exploration of how we measure complex and simple things and what effect measuring has on the measured thing. How do you measure happiness, hope and pain? As well as age, population and health? The project will never be a finished performance, rather an ongoing open exploratory experiment with the audience arriving, measuring and adding to the piece of theatre- it is our aim that The Measurement Shop tours across the UK and opens in cities up and down the country for up to a few weeks before moving on – just like a pop-up shop.

Our shop will be open:
Dates: 2nd – 5th August
Times: 2pm – 6pm (pop in anytime and stay as long as you like). We are also holding an evening of sharing on Wednesday 4th between 7pm and 8pm.

We hope you are able to come and share the work we have created and talk about its future. Look forward to seeing you there!"

Best wishes,
Lucy Oliver-Harrison

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday 27 July 2010


I just stumbled across this doodle/illustration wallpaper which seems like a really good idea for the new school - (I might get some for my room)
just a thought...


Friday 23 July 2010

When ideas have sex

It's not IQ that matters, according to Matt Ridley, it's how well individuals in a society communicate and exchange with each other. Another great rational and optimistic TED talk.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

More ideas for wall graphics

Here are a few more great images from the Blik website featuring projects they have completed using vinyl stickers. I really like the variety of approaches, the use of abstract forms, typography, children's drawings and sophisticated digital artwork. I'm keen to employ a range of designs in the new school building; images that reward repeat viewings. What do you think?

This kind of treatment might look great in the new café where there is a long unbroken surface running the length of the dining area.

Text obviously gives us lots of scope. There could be quotations from students, teachers and members of the local community or famous artists, dramatists, musicians, mathematicians, scientists, authors etc.

I like the idea of a graphic that incorporates real work by our students. We would obviously need to start collecting this in a meaningful way for inclusion at a later date. This could be really motivating for existing students.

I love these big, overlapping abstract forms. These shapes could refer to lots of different areas of the curriculum but not in a literal way.

My partner has just completed a project in a primary school where students' poetry has been transferred to wall spaces around the building. I like the way these words overlap and jostle for attention.

Wall Graphics

Following on from my last post about the interior design of the new school, here are some images taken from the Blik website. These are custom vinyl transfers for large spaces and demonstrate how exciting and flexible this process can be. I'm still a bit concerned about durability compared with painted walls, but I'd be interested in knowing what you think of this as an approach.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Interior Design

I had a really interesting meeting today with the architects of the new school about the strategy for interior design. As well as the usual signage and wayfinding there are several large spaces in the new building that are perfect for large scale design projects. Dom Murphy from Tak! Design was also at the meeting and we are very keen for him to be involved in helping us devise a suitable approach. We currently feel that the new graphic identity should be the basis of the signage but that the large interior spaces could be more idiosyncratic, representing our specialist status as a visual arts college and involving students in helping to devise and create the work. Dom showed me the work of Lucy McLachlan (see above) who creates large scale wall graphics in monochrome paint. I wonder if we could commission a series of artists like Lucy to work with students to create large scale works of art for the walls of the new building? What do you think?

Saturday 17 July 2010

iPad blogging

This is my first post using the BlogPress app for the iPad. The large screen size and built in keyboard make the iPad perfect for blogging and this app makes the best use of its features. It's easy to set up, integrates well with various blogging platforms (although not Tumblr) and allows you to lay out images as you'd like it to appear online.

I've been reflecting on the recent successes of our specialist status today. A couple of weeks ago we held a private view of art & design work by post 16 students. Unlike previous years we decided this year to combine the work of students from four different courses - A level fine art, photography and product design and BTEC art & design. We also handed over the responsibility of curating the show to our artist in residence. The resulting show was a real testament to the diversity of talent amongst our students and the acceptance that there is no hierarchy of esteem for these courses.

Last week we staged two evening events entitled 'Past, Present & Future'. They were designed to provide a platform for the creativity evident in all areas of the arts at Tallis but also to encourage the audience to reflect on the relationship between creative learning and physical space. Much of the activity was centred on our concourse, a street that runs through the centre of the school. We aimed to create a festival of events and to engage the audience with competing delights. We had healthy audiences on both nights and the student performers often appeared to be running the show, ushering audience members to various places and making the most of the various impromptu stages. We showcased work resulting from two performing arts residencies (Tangled Feet theatre company and Dance Spinner) and screened the world premiere of a film written, directed by and starring our students. We have received lots of really positive feedback from the audiences on both nights, complimenting the school on its innovative approach and ability to surprise and delight.

On Friday we discovered that we had been re-designated as a specialist arts college for a further three years. This is great news and means that we can continue to use the arts to impact on the whole school curriculum using a mixture of teachers, assistants, technicians and visiting practitioners. It also means the support that we give our family of schools and various community organizations will continue. This confirmation comes shortly after we received the Ofsted report confirming that Thomas Tallis is a good school and one in which specialist status has had a demonstrably positive impact on learning.

Much of the innovative work we have done this term has been funded from our School of Creativity budget. We don't yet know how long this funding will last but we have consolidated our commitment to promoting creative learning by appointing a new Assistant Headteacher with this as his central responsibility. We have new heads of music and art & design starting in September, both of whom have expressed their support for our collective vision for the school as a creative hub for the local community. This summer we are hosting Felix's School of Rock at Tallis and co-ordinating a creativity summer school in partnership with Kidbrooke School and Emergency Exit Arts. We will be appearing in the Thames Festival parade and, in October, hosting a visit from an entire company of Kathakali artists from Southern India as part of our Black History Month celebrations.

I was fortunate enough to visit the site of the new school last week. Having been involved in the design of the building in the early stages, it was a real pleasure to see the building under construction and to appreciate the scale of the structure. It's a huge building with fantastic facilities. The arts are co-located, unlike the present building, and we have massively increased our capacity to host large scale events in state-of-the-art surroundings. It's been an incredible year in which so much has changed. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with such an inspiring, hard-working and creative team of professionals. I also feel very sure that the specialist arts subjects will continue to make a hugely positive impact on the success of the whole school next year and beyond.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday 10 July 2010

Grayson Perry on creativity

Grayson Perry on Creativity by fotologic

Grayson Perry is a Turner Prize winning, cross-dressing artist who, in this programme, explores some ideas associated with creativity. It's a fascinating enquiry which ends with a really interesting proposal that we may actually need less creativity. Well worth a listen.

Sunday 4 July 2010

How will new technologies change how we access and enjoy text?

I really enjoyed this article by Marcus de Sautoy in yesterday's Guardian. The article is well worth a read - not just because it is interesting and thought provoking, but also because the writer conveys his excitement and interest in exploring new technologies:

"With the advent of new technology – devices such as the iPhone or iPad, the Sony Reader or the Kindle – authors and publishers are being offered a huge challenge: to reconceive their content to provide a visual and interactive experience that the printed book cannot provide. Art books with huge numbers of accessible images; architecture books with 3D plans of buildings; travel books with videos and interactive maps; children's books with games and characters who introduce themselves; and so on and on. The potential is vast. This is not a case of simply trying to cram written content on to an e-reader; this is about taking that content and completely reinventing it."

The article also ties in with Clay Shirkey's idea of cognitive surplus (see the film Mr. Nicholls posted), and the ways in which a whole generation of devices and learners could support the active creation of meaning and the sharing of content rather than passive consumption. Well worth taking a look.