Leading a group workshop questioning the idea of enhancing different environments as space for reflection or cues for creative imagination and projects, inspired by Reggio Emilio education. We focused on providing polar natural environments and inviting participants to respond to external, controlled or metaphorical cues in a reflective space.
Before hand : Email a designed invitation to the meeting point with little revealing but idea of an adventure
9.30 Lottie, Jane, Molly meet to set up room and walk to park.
Essential oil blend (‘Focus’ from Neal’s Yard) -Apply to radiators. . .
Central table (3 tables put together, with 8/9 chairs all around. Plus large table cloth and a bouquet of flowers. . .
Candles and autumnal nature display on window sills. . .
There are 6 window ledges.
Lichen covered branches
Bunch of twigs tied with hessian/other natural fabric/string
10.00 Meet group at the centre of the park.
Welcome to Beaumont Park.
We would like to give you each something now.
Give out cues in envelopes (brown paper and type writer to enhance mystery adventure)
This is a prompt for you to respond to. We have ten minutes before we will meet back here, each bringing something in response to our prompt to share with the group.
10.15 Meet at the centre of the park again.
We’re going to walk back to college now. Please use the walk to reflect on your time in the park.
10.20 Arrive back to classroom.
Chairs in circle around 3 desks
Everyone invited to place what they have brought back onto the central table - next to their prompt.
We’d like everyone to share what they have brought back.
10.30 Feedback session led by Natalia.
Question/cue/prompt ideas :
A word, poem, visual, colour, task, etc;
“Sanctuary” (feeling, place)
Water by Philip Larkin (nature, movement)
“Dig” (action, experience)
Russet (colour, sound)
("(im)c-a-t(mo)...") by E.E. Cummings (random selection, how undirected can you be?
“Their steps, postures and gestures often resemble the almost geometric, formal letters of an alphabet, whereas their bodies and heads are recalcitrant, sinuous and individual.” John Berger
(colour) Colour paint on paper
(picture) of artwork
Theories/Books, etc; :
Reggio Emilia school
How to Be An Explorer of The World : Keri Smith
Art/Education as Experience : John Dewey
Imagination & Creativity in Childhood : Lev Vgotsky
Poetics of Space : Gaston Bachelard
What are we observing/questioning?
How much direction do we need to give in order to let people think creatively?
20 minutes reflection
How did being in charge of your own learning feel?
Where did you feel the responsibility lay?
How did the juxtaposition of spaces feel?
Did you connect to the natural objects?
How did the process of adapting, changing or forming new things with external objects feel?
What are the intentions of the aesthetics and choices we make / learners make in objects?
Different mindsets in different spaces
Did giving a prompt allow for more or less imagination? Structure? Testing the boundaries of direction in imagination surrounding experiences?
Whilst facilitating there was a definitive sense of open freedom and the observation process built many ideas - watching people explore their own world. I found that working in a group with individuals coming at the same concept with different perspectives and intentions was an interesting approach to me, which possibly led to a lack of confidence affecting the delivery and needed clearer instruction with the pressure of a collective group, especially with such open-ended and uncertain guidance of cues. Therefore, the groups confidence allowed me to reflect more upon the art of invitation into a learning process and how there needs to be given clarity over the expected outcome, as the response seemed to needed more concrete boundaries in order to let loose a play. However, upon collective reflection there was a unified enjoyment in being forced into the moment, being given time to process and leaving trust to the facilitators in order to understand the potential within small moments and a reflective sense of calm. We spoke over the environments influencing dialogue, commenting on ideas such as the psychological resonance with memories and ideas that lack of windows give unpredictability regarding space and lack of external influence and inspiration.
What I found really poignant was through the process of asking questions and building reflective statements, individuals responded innovatively to building upon project ideas and concepts and you found core themes that could be creatively built upon emerging from such a short learning experience. From this experience, I found that it was successful in answering the idea that people can always use space and cues to form creative responses, however we may need to readdress the amount of direction given and inform the outcome in a more productive way, maybe encouraging a more light hearted and less pressured expectation of response, focusing more on the enjoyment of the process, which I will build into my formative assessment workshop.