Royal Harbour Academy gets arty with large scale project and primary conference

Nova Marshall (artist), Katie Green (teacher), Simon Pullen (Headteacher), Lorna Steel and Christine Ward (The Arts Society Thanet)

Eighty Year 9 students from the Royal Harbour Academy are working with local artist, Nova Marshall, and The Arts Society Thanet over the next few months in order to create a piece of Art to celebrate the isle.

The Thanet Art Together project was the dream of art teacher Katie Green, who said: “As part of our journey towards achieving the Artsmark Award, I really wanted students to gain experience of working with a real life practitioner of art. Having a residential artist like this can raise aspiration, strengthen community spirit and give students skills and knowledge beyond what we can provide in the classroom.

“Nova was the perfect choice for us as she has an impressive portfolio after working on numerous community projects and with other schools. A project like this however, would usually be out of reach to a school due to the costs involved, but we have been incredibly lucky to have the support from The Arts Society Thanet who have gone out of their way to apply for a special grant from their National Society and fundraise to make this project achievable.”

The project will engage students through the process of planning, designing and creating work that will be exhibited this summer in the community before being permanently installed at the school.

The students are considering the themes of ‘Thanet’, ‘Community’ and ‘Sustainability’ in the work but ultimately the form, materials, size and look of the work will be decided and developed by students over the coming weeks. A few of the students will be developing their photographic skills by documenting the project, with the hope of having an additional exhibition of the photographs they take. Every student involved will also benefit by gaining evidence towards their level 2 Silver Arts Awards (Leadership unit) which they are working towards this year.

The launch of the project included the presentation of £1270 by Christine Ward and

Lorna Steel (The Arts Society Thanet) to academy head master Simon Pullen. The involvement of The Arts Society Thanet will not stop at funding as Lorna, a former

teacher, is hoping to come in to support the work as it progresses and members of the Society will be helping to source materials to recycle into the final artwork.

Nova said: “I am delighted to have been chosen to work on this project with Year 9 art students. This is a great opportunity for young people to create a large art installation collaboratively with an artist; they will be coming up with ideas, making decisions and leading the project, ensuring that their voices are at the heart of the work they create.”

The Royal Harbour Academy has also hosted a Primary Art Conference.

Five local feeder schools sent staff and students to enjoy a wide range of art activities. For the primary school students, who were all juniors from Years 3 through to 6 from Drapers Mills, Bromstone Primary, St Ethelberts, Cliftonville Primary and Christ Church CE Junior School, they learnt new sketching techniques, participated in a variety of challenges and had a taste of what art is like at secondary school.

For staff there was a wealth of new ideas and strategies to discover and the opportunity to share ideas and ask questions relating to the curriculum, Artsmark Award and the transition process for students. For the Year 9 Royal Harbour students it was an opportunity to build evidence towards their Silver Arts Award qualifications.

The events were delivered by Katie Green and Maggie Johnson who both teach art at the Royal Harbour Academy. Many of the activities were also run and supported by students from Years 7 and 9.

Ms Green said: “This day allows us to work alongside our feeder schools to help each other with ideas for art and transition and also allows our students to take on leadership roles that ultimately give them confidence alongside transferable skills of planning, communication and the ability to teach others. It is wonderful to see what the children from primary schools are capable of when given quality time to explore new techniques for art.”

Some of the more popular activities were for Anime style sketching and animation, digital art and origami. Students were also able to try their hands at printing and photography among many other techniques.

The part of the day that was enjoyed the most however was the ‘scrap heap challenge’ where students were inspired by sculptures created by the artist Leo Sewell. They then transformed ‘rubbish’ such as egg boxes into their own bird sculptures. For staff, the cross-curricular workshop inspired by the collage artist Guy Catling sparked a host of ideas that could be easily taken back into the classroom and linked into topic based learning.