Moat Community College & Leicester Print Workshop
Moat Town enabled an artist from Leicester Print Workshop's community of professional printmakers to work with 22 students from a Year 8 art class to help them discover new ways of creating images of their local community in Highfields. Over nine weeks they went into the local area to draw images of what they saw around them - their school, local shops, interesting buildings and significant places. They also visited LPW's studio on a number of occasions, finding out about and using the equipment and facilities available in the City for practising printmakers.
They were introduced to a range of techniques, including drypoint, mono print, screen print, linocut, collagraph, which they used to transform their sketches into printed images. They also used stitching and 3d modelling to visualise their routes between home and school, as well as familiar landmarks and objects. There was a strong sense of personal progression as the group grew more confident about "mark making" and drew on the learning gained from previous sessions.
The students produced a body of work, from which the artist selected images which she used to create a final installation 'Moat Town', applying them to lampshades, works on paper and a set of free-standing "buildings". The participants and their families were invited to a celebratory event, where they could see the final artwork in situ and watch a film made of the project, they were also each presented with a hand-printed foldout book, featuring their images, as a memento.
'Moat Town' was intended, through a combination of commissioning and making, to bring the participants' ideas and experiences to life, and by enabling them to work together on a collaborative body of work, to generate a sense of self, place and belonging. Being free of formal curriculum constraints, there was scope for them to design and drive the project.
There are several promising long-term outcomes from the project. Moat's Head of Art, keen to develop the partnership with LPW, has secured resources to include joint work over the next school year. An award from the City Council has been made to support the two partners to create new collaborative work to celebrate the friendship, festivity and light, themes from Diwali. Additionally, the project has provided LPW with a valuable experience of capturing evidence for evaluation and a sense of how to develop "print ambassadors" in the local community, and as the artist was also LPW's studio manager the learning has fed back into the organisation's knowledge base.
Creative Producer: Liz Hawley