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#WeAreTogether: ArtLab in lockdown

colour photograph of artwork created by ArtLab workshop

ArtLab is concerned with how to make the most of our young people’s futures, by bringing a wide range of children from across schools in the region into contact with cutting edge art and technology projects. Its aim is to help teachers, parents and pupils understand the value that art brings when combined with technology, offering amazing opportunities and potential careers as part of the creative economy. A key part of ArtLab is its approach using co-research and being constantly surprised and open to new stories, all voices, experiences.

Tina O’Connell, Director of Art Lab, said:

“ArtLab’s success is drawn from its unique combination of triangular learning, not only mixing University colleagues and students with pupils from local schools but inter-generationally as well. By not setting limits or anticipating outcomes, we are all learning from one another about art and technology and how they interact.”

As for many of us, lockdown presented challenges to how ArtLab could fulfil its role in offering support to teachers, pupils and increasingly parents. The planned activities were recreated using an online framework which has been built on. Students involved in the project have been learning new skills in video editing, voiceovers and subtitles to demonstrate activities and review other online activities. This content has been generated to support parents and teachers in lockdown, including activities, reviews and how to guides.

Recent BA Art And English Literature graduate Khadija Niang, who has been working with ArtLab, said:

“ArtLab makes art more accessible and more tangible to children who may not necessarily have this access. There is so much opportunity in art and it’s great to be able to share it in this way. I’ve been involved in the Tate Exchange (which will be online this year) and it’s fantastic to bring children to a public art institution and show them that it’s there for everyone to enjoy.”

Tehya Connery, a current BA Art and film student said:

“I recently joined ArtLab and is has allowed me to explore how we can contribute to the art world in a less rigid and strict way. I’ve been able to explore how to teach different age groups of children and try out things that I’ve never tried before. Also it’s been a great way to meet other students.”

The success of ArtLab has led to it being offered as an optional module by the School of Art and is forming the basis of an Arts and Humanities Research Council funding bid. You can see some of its creations keep updated on the ArtLab website.


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