This Ecological Art project was developed with The LIPA Primary Early Years children in 2018, when Artist in Residence, Jayne Seddon and Art Lead, Rebecca Oakes first collaborated. The concept is simple: connecting children with the natural world through creative, experiential learning. This approach connects the children to Climate Action via an authentic expereince which is then celebrated on a public platform during the city wide cultural celebration, Liverpool LightNight.
A wildflower garden is being created in The Oratory grounds next to the Anglican Cathedral. The children are drawing the garden and its growth as they sow it, while learning about the cyclical time of natural systems, biodiversity and ecology. Referenced back to Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, ‘Under the Grit the Garden’ is an adaption of the famous 1968 Situationist slogan, ‘Under the Cobblestones the Beach.’ The process of documenting this transformation via drawing, with a focus upon thinking and learning through drawing, resonates with many thoughts around pedagogy and sustainability in education, with a focus upon connecting children with the natural world, and the use of fine motor skills in their development and growth.
Children develop a visual language fast; their idiosyncrasy is already evident at an early age. From the immediacy and energy of mark-making through to observational drawing. We use ways of looking during workshops, to intensify their curiousity and inspire a range of drawing processes. Children apply all of their senses while working in the garden, including tactility and touch. By holding and drawing around both living wildflowers and botanical specimens, the quaility of their learning experience is amplified and their drawing progression accelerated. We believe that all children are Artists and all schools should be Art schools. Children identifying as Artists during their Early Years Education is embedded through this project. We find that children develop a nurturing relationship towards the garden. The intersection of a culture of kindness and creativity enhances wellbeing outcomes, producing outstanding artistic achievement for this age. The project creates the situation and sets the stage for innovation in both teaching and learning.
Revolutionary Nature is a major Public Art project in collaboration with Artist Jayne Seddon, The LIPA children, John Hyatt, Professor of Contemporary Art, and Research Leader, and Director of ART LABS at Liverpool John Moores University, National Museums Liverpool, Friends of Saint James Gardens, and The Eden Project.