Carlton J & I School

Project: Digital Art – Now and Then
Participants: 15 Year 6 children
Partnering with: St Peter’s CE J I & EY School
Artist: Lucy Bergman

Our project will combine collage, illustration, sound recordings and animation to explore how we have grown and changed during our time at school, using photographs as a starting point.  School has a detailed database of photographs of us that has been updated from our time in Reception to our present time in Year 6.  We are going to use this complete photographic document to inspire conversations and collage work relating to personal growth and change. We will then animate our photographs and collages and couple them with recorded sound bites to create a film that reflects on our time at junior school before we leave for High School.

Our partner school for the project is St Peter’s CE J I & EY School – have a look at their project page too.

Session 1: 4th March 2014

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We started our session today with a lively and fascinating discussion about ‘change’ and all the different ways that we experience and go through change.  It was particularly interesting thinking about how some change, like our appearance, happens so slowly over time that we don’t really notice it happening until we look at photos or we notice that our shoes are suddenly getting too tight.  The children shared photographs they had brought in and it was great looking at how cute everyone was as a baby and how in some ways we look the same and in other ways we look really different from when we were very small.  Miss Foster had found old photos and film footage of everyone in the group form the school’s archive so we all had a look through the images and talked about how each other has changed.  After looking through photos we did a timeline activity and the children illustrated significant events that had in some way changed their lives.  The drawings and descriptions were very finely detailed and mapped the children’s thoughts and feelings in a concise yet emotive way, which was a fantastic literacy exercise as it encouraged the children to openly express personal experiences.  After looking at so many old photos we thought it would be a good idea to take some new portraits, so working in pairs the children captured some new shots of one another, showing different facial expressions.  We will use these photos in the next session to create  our ‘Now and Then’ self-portrait animations.  Lucy (artist)

Today the children taking part in the Change project had their first session with artist Lucy Bergman. They began the session by discussing different types of ‘change’ then looked at old photographs of themselves to see how they have changed during their time at primary school and throughout their lives. Each child created a time line of significant events from their birth to the present day. They illustrated these with words and pictures personal to them. Finally, they used a digital camera to take portraits of one another with different facial expressions. Check out the comments below.  Kate Foster (teacher)

The thing I liked best was…

…”taking the pictures because it was fun making funny faces” Aysha

…”drawing the timeline because it brought memories back” Umair

…”looking at the old photos because there were some funny ones” Marc

…”drawing the timeline because it took me back in time to the past” Dua

…”drawing my timeline because it brought back childhood memories” Hanna 

…”the discussion about the different kinds of changes because it was interesting” Humairaa

Session 2: 17th March 2014

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Another fantastic session today with a fantastic group of children!  A few more children had brought in pictures of themselves from home, documenting their changes from birth to now, and it’s great that we have such a bank of fascinating images to work with and to help spark conversations.  We talked a little about how the way we play has changed, for example from soft toys to XBox, and about how the kinds of toys we once had helped us to develop our imaginations and communication skills – which was really interesting.  The children each received the photographs of themselves which their partners had snapped the week before – needless to say we all had a good giggle at one another’s pictures!  Everyone chose one photo to be their main image and cut around their head and shoulders to remove it from the background.  Using coloured card to make wacky hair, hats and accessories and also using  bits of their remaining photos like eyes, ears and mouths, the children created wonderfully weird versions of themselves.  We didn’t stick any of the collaged bits down as next week we will animate the faces and create changing stop motion portraits.   Lucy (artist)

Today the children had their 2nd session with local artist Lucy Bergman.  They used the photographs they took last time to make a fun collage of themselves, cutting out only their head and shoulders then decorating with coloured card to add fun features such as funky hairstlyes and crazy moustaches.  The children did not stick their elements down as next week they will be using a video camera to make an animation with them!  Check out the comments below.  Kate Foster (teacher)

“The thing I liked best was cutting out the pieces for the features of my face because I could do any shape I wanted” – Iqra

“The thing I liked best was cutting out the background because I loved cutting the sunset and the birds” – Faaizah

“The thing I liked best was when we used our imaginations to cut out bits of our pictures and coloured card and made ourselves look different because I love to use my imagination for art” – Hanna

“The thing I liked best was decorating the pictures because it made me laugh” – Umair

“The thing I liked best was the collages because we made them funny” – Marc

“The thing I liked best was making new pictures from old photographs because it was fun and a chance to see what we are capable of creating” – Imaan

Session 3: 25th March 2014

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We had all sorts of interesting tasks to get done today and thanks to the terrific support of Miss Foster and the children’s hard work everything was finished and looked beautiful.  For the first half of the session, I was working in one corner of the room helping children to animate the crazy self-portraits they had made during the previous session. This went smoothly and surprisingly efficiently considering all the little bits of eyes, noses and hair-do’s we had to manoeuvre!  Whilst the animation was going on Miss Foster helped the children to finish their personal timelines and create collages using their baby photos brought in from home.  In the second half of the session we talked about change in terms of the past and the children’s future plans to go up to High School.  This prompted some responses which the we recorded onto an mp3 recorder so that we can use them as soundtracks for the animated film.  Overall a brilliant session which produced loads of great work!  Lucy (artist)

Today the children taking part in the MOSAIC project had their final session with local artist Lucy Bergman.  Lucy kindly came in early so we could get started on the animations over lunch. It was exciting to see her set up her video equipment and the children couldn’t wait to get started! Two at a time, they placed the photographs of themselves under the camera then manipulated the images by adding the different paper and card elements created last time. Between each change, Lucy took photographs so that, when she played them all really quickly at the end, it looked like the faces were changing rapidly. The children were enthralled!  Whilst some children were creating their animations others were finishing off their timelines from session 1 and creating wonderful collages using pictures of themselves throughout the years, to show how they have changed. Athsham brought in lots of photographs and filled in a whole A3 sheet which looked amazing!  Finally, children recorded their voices talking about how they have changed since they were little and how they think they will (or hope to) change when they get to high school. These recordings may be put over the animations along with some music. We are all really looking forward to seeing the finished artwork in the gallery.  Check out the comments below.  Kate Foster (teacher)

“The thing I liked best was making the animation because I had not yet tried this and I found it fun” – Imaan

“The thing I liked best was making the films because I liked moving all the shapes” – Iqra

“The thing I liked best was watching the animation videos because they were really funny. The best one was Imaan’s” – Amaan

“The thing I liked best was recording my voice because I tried to make it sound as posh as I could!” – Dua

“The thing I liked best was making a collage of my childhood pictures because it brought back good memories” – Hanna

“The thing I liked best was making the collages because I enjoyed it and at the end it looked really good” – Athsham

Children from our partner school, St Peter’s, sent us some feedback:

“The work was funny to look at”

“I like the one with the man on”

“It is good. It looks funny”

A final word from staff…

Children have developed their practical and creative skills using new mediums and techniques; none of them had done any animation before so they were all fascinated to learn how it works. Their independent thinking and learning skills have been developed by working on their own pieces and making their artwork unique and personal to them.

We have all benefited from taking time out of class to do something enjoyable. Year 6 children can feel under pressure because of SATs, so it has been great for them to have something else to focus on. 

It has been a pleasure to work with Lucy. She is a great artist and teacher and the children loved her. She was always organised for each session which meant that everything ran smoothly. I would recommend the ‘Digital’ option to schools next year based on this.

Kate Foster