Art work by students at Four Dwellings
Hello today we are going to talk about Four Dwellings High school and Waverley school working to make everything go together. The launch is on 22 march 2012.
Everybody involved in the children’s life project has their own part in our making of the archive. Four Dwellings High school are going to explain the project at assemblies this week.
Tia, one of the Four Dwellings curators
Later this week the curators and recorders from both schools are going to meet with the designers from a company called 24design.
This has been another blog from Raheem, Lucy and Herikles.
One of Four Dwellings's pet turkeys!
This post comes from Sima Gonsai, a filmmaker who has been working with the young people from Four Dwellings High and Waverley School on this project.
The filming days were really successful, we managed to gather interviews from all the allocated pupils and they shared their stories about the six themes, ranging from 20 to 60 mins. To record the interviews we set a green screen studio, which consisted of lots of equipment. Overall we had a large green screen, five stands, three lights, a tripod, camera and radio mics. We used a green screen because we wanted to be able to insert photographs behind the interviewees, exactly the same effect as you see on TV and the weather. It was quite a transformation to see an ordinary room being turned as a TV studio, I thought it looked very professional.
The recorders sat next to my camera and asked their questions whilst I filmed the interviews. My aim was to make sure the sound was sharp and that each interview was filmed using a variety of shots such as close-ups, slow zooms and wide-shots. Using different shots makes the interviews more engaging and helps the audience follow what is being said.
The recorders grew in confidence by the end of the week and even started to use their own questions to prompt more answers. Pupils answered the questions as best as they could, I can imagine it was quite nerve wracking in front of all those bright lights and people! We tried different interview techniques such as asking questions, having a conversation and describing experiences like a diary entry. Overall we got an abundance of stories about home life, school, hobbies, family life etc.
I was very impressed with the professionalism of the groups and looking forward to putting the graphics in the green screen. We shot over 8 hours of interviews so there is a lot of work to do yet!
It was my first session with the group from Four Dwellings High School today – I had so much fun meeting Raheem (Bob!) and Lucy and talking about the role we would play in the project. We have such an important task – telling everyone inside the project (the curators, archivists, recorders groups at each school) and everyone outside the project (the public) – about what is going on. Plus – planning the launch party for the exhibition! We made a mind map of all the different things we’d need to do:-
To start with our main task will be writing the blog. To gather information we will start interviewing people in other groups to find out what they are doing and why, and taking pictures of what they are getting up to. We looked at a selection of blogs, newspapers and magazines and talked about the skills needed to make these sorts of publications. We’re going to need some of the same skills for our blog! We started on a mind map about journalists and bloggers:-
Lucy and Raheem then wrote their own first blog post about the project and went away ready to interview young people from the other groups about their progress.
I’m looking forward to meeting the communications team from Waverly School next week!
Today, pupils from Four Dwellings High School came to the library to get started on the Young People’s Archive – thanks to Raheem and Lucy for their first blog post! I worked with Bathsheba, Shelly and Tia, who are going to be the exhibition curators.
Children's Lives Young Curators
We had a really productive meeting, discussing what curators actually do and things that they liked and disliked about exhibitions. The girls then worked together to arrange some images into themes and then each wrote a label for an image. We then discussed ideas for the exhibition space – the girls all had brilliant ideas of the kinds of things they’d like to include – it’s going to look great! Finally, the whole group went back to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery to look at the space again. All of the pupils were really impressed with the stunning Lost in Lace exhibition and I think everyone went away feeling really enthusiastic about the coming months. Watch this space!
Documentary photography workshops started in school this week, the second of our skills training workshops for the young people creating and curating the 21st century part of Children’s Lives.
Last week we focussed on story telling skills, how to listen to the stories of others and how to tell the stories of your own life in a confident way with lots of description and detail. See Juliet Fry’s Blog post for more details.
Re-visiting some of the photographs we had seen in collections in the archives a couple of weeks ago was useful, both for reminding us of images we liked and for triggering a discussion on which photos were effective in telling a story of the past. Everyone seemed drawn to a different style of photo and it gave us a sense that there were many ways to take a documentary photo and many different styles to consider when trying to capture something that may tell us things in the future. We considered landscape photos (Warwickshire Photographic Survey), posed studio photos (Dyche Collection), school photos (Waverley School Collection), photos taken by charities working with poor children in early 1900s and more contemporary photographs by Vanley Burke and George Hallett. The focus for the workshop was thinking about how we could capture our own documentary photos for the project and how to select the right photo that would say something about the contemporary life of young people. We had a good discussion on whether posed or natural photos were more effective as documentary photos and which of these styles would tell more about the lives of young people in Birmingham now.
There was just time to practice taking a few photos in the playground and around school and to have a chat about photography permission forms before our session came to an end.
With half term next week, the idea is that the young people on the project will have some time to start documenting their lives through photography, where they go, who they hang out with, what sports, clubs and activities they do, what it’s like living in their house, down their street, in that area of the city. Keep a look out for the results…..
I was lucky enough to work with four groups of Year 8 students from Waverley and Four Dwellings Schools to help them begin to be storytellers and talk about different aspects their lives and to explore what kinds of things they’d like to record for the Children’s Lives exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
I found the young people in both settings to be very open, funny and confident in telling us their stories even though for three of the groups we had never met before! During the session the students were asked to describe and talk about what they did after school, what their bedrooms were like and to share with each other their most precious objects and what they did to escape into their imaginations.
What came across was how much technology is a part of their lives and a tool for their continuing friendships out of school and how important their families were to them. It’s going to be very exciting finding out what stories make it to the exhibition and how the young people will respond to becoming archivists and part of the archives themselves!
Juliet Fry, Head of Projects at The Play House
On their first visit to meet the team at Birmingham Central Library, the school groups were also able to visit Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, to see where their section of the exhibition will be displayed.
Pupils from Four Dwellings High School at Birmingham Museum
The visit went really well for each group. Andy Horn, Exhibitions Manager at the Museum, kindly offered us his time, even though he was extremely busy (huge thanks Andy!). The school groups learned from Andy about the process of planning, interpreting, developing and creating exhibitions. We were lucky enough to visit just as the recent Home of Metal exhibition was being taken down so the pupils got to see a side of Museum life that they wouldn’t normally see – there’s more to it than just hanging nice paintings!
Pupils from Waverley School at Birmingham Museum
The two schools were visiting at different times but by chance the pupils from Four Dwellings arrived earlier than expected while Waverley School and the Project Team were in the Museum. As a result, both schools were able to see and meet each other – though brief – much earlier than it was thought possible. A very positive outcome of the day!
The day was immensely successful. Not everything happened the way we expected. And we certainly had to think on our feet. But pupils from both Schools were absolutely awesome! A delight!
We look forward very much to continuing this work!!!