Friday, 4 September 2015

Pitt Rivers welcomes Artist Teacher Scheme from Brookes, August 2015

Hello, my name is Katherine Rose and I am the new Secondary and FE Education Officer at the Pitt Rivers Museum. I am excited to be joining the team here and to contribute my first post to the Pitt Rivers Education blog.

In August we were delighted to welcome Rachel Payne and eleven teachers in the new cohort of the Brookes' Artist Teacher Scheme to the Pitt Rivers Museum. We had two days of workshops and creative work inspired by the museum.

Day One was led by artist Miranda Cresswell, who is currently the artist in residence for EngLaID British Archaeology project. She asked us to think about landscapes we loved or knew well, and make drawings of textures in museum objects that reminded us of those landscapes. The Annexe then became a studio as we developed these initial sketches into art works using collage, paint, pastel and chalk. 

On Day Two Adrian (Joint Museums Art Education Officer) and Andy and I led discussion and activities focusing on interpretation. We considered how we interpret art and museum artefacts, and ways of doing this. We also looked at how visiting artists had created installations in the Pitt Rivers Museum as a way of interpreting or intervening in the collection. There was a creative chinese whispers activity that involved writing tweets, drawing and making models of different objects. We finished by doing in-depth explorations of three objects in the Pitt Rivers collection to think about how we build up layers of meaning based on our personal response and associations, what the object looks like and is made of and what we can find out from similar artefacts. We also thought about the different contexts we can understand the object in. Each group made a performance based upon their object to finish the day.

Performance inspired by the Haida Totem Pole (1901.39.1) © Pitt Rivers Museum 
We wish the group all the best for what promises to be an interesting and creative year ahead as they develop their practice and link this back to their work as art teachers and educators.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Winners of the Bookfeast Creative Writing Competition

After taking part in the Bookfeast Festival, hosted by the Pitt Rivers Museum, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and The Ashmolean, Oxfordshire primary school pupils were invited to write a story opening which had a strong sense of place.  After attending author events linked by the theme of 'Once Upon a Place', and participating in Creative Writing Workshops run by OUMC Education staff and Flashes of Splendour, many pupils were inspired to enter the competition.  Read the winning entries of the Bookfeast Creative Writing Competition here.

Years 5 and 6

 First Prize

Hanan Hussain
(Year 6, St Michael’s CE Aided Primary School)

 Day of the Dodo

The Dodo Walks Out © Oxford University Museum of Natural History
This story starts in Oxford, in the early Victorian era, before the Dodo became extinct. That is an important fact, remember it. It was early morning and gentlemen in sleek black top hats and ladies with fancy lace dresses were bustling around. This, along with poor people crying on the streets, was a common sight. Not so common was the dodo that waddled through St. Giles, seemingly heading for that huge monument located there. Once the Dodo had reached the monument it tapped it with its beak. And, as if by magic, a hole appeared and the Dodo walked through.

Second Prize
Lola Meyer
(Year 6, St Barnabus Primary School)

The Bird Box

Key from the Pitt Rivers Collection 1901.49.33 © Pitt Rivers Museum
At the end of a tiny back garden in central Oxford, there is a colossal oak tree. Hidden between the overgrown ivy and gnarled branches, there is a small, rusty keyhole. The key to it is kept in the handmade wooden bird box at the very topmost branches of the old oak tree. Nobody has ever discovered what is inside the tree. However, a nine- year-old girl has just moved into the house and she adores climbing trees. Inside the tree is a secret library filled with books such as Spying on Birds and Hypnotizing Hedgehogs.

Third Prize

Youna Seymour
(Year 6, West Oxford Community Primary School)

Darkness. Darkness so Deep.

Darkness. A darkness so deep it could terrify even the bravest. All those times when I was little, hiding under the bed sheets afraid of what lay in the dark…And then as I stood there, the darkness seemed to be breathing slow, shallow breaths, but when I listened I could hear nothing. We all get that feeling sometimes, there’s something there, something we can’t see. A sudden light illuminates a barren landscape; ruins of a mighty house, now cracked and covered in moss. Old pines spring up in random places. I take a few steps and turn around…

Fourth Prize

Beatrice Vincent-Ratti
(Year 6, St Aloysius Catholic Primary School)

Kaia Ran

Kaia ran. Through maze-like roads, through narrow streets. All she could hear was the padding of her feet and her jagged breathing. Eerie sodium light burned the darkness. It felt peculiar to run through these streets with nobody around. In the daylight, it was teeming with life. Now everything seemed sterile and spooky. The houses were quiet; the kind of silence after an attack. Kaia stopped. The repugnant smell of the alleyway’s decaying food hit her nose hard. Bags lay piled up, the contents spilling open. Dark walls seemed to be closing in on her. Snap! She turned…

 Years 3 and 4

 First Prize

 Lorien Bray
(Year 4, Little Milton Primary School)

The Fairyland Forest

Wondrous and amazed, I gazed absently into the never-ending canopy of this fairyland forest. As I came to my senses, I realized that I was in a small clearing surrounded by tall, leafy trees that reached the sky and waved slowly in the light breeze. Around the trees, exquisite birds flutter while they sing a beautiful tune. On the ground condensed soil lies silently and peacefully. My nose tells me that damp moss covers the soft earth. In the distance, a stream trickles enchantingly. My footsteps crunch loudly on the mixed dirt and bark.

Second Prize

Millie Elwin
(Year 3, Little Milton Primary School)

 A Dark Gloomy Forest

There was a dark, gloomy forest. As the thick trees swayed side to side, it looks like the midnight starry sky gets darker. Sometimes it smells like dead flowers and dry fruit. It’s horrific. You don’t want to go there. As the misty moon rises, you can hear 1000 packs of howling wolves.

Third Prize

Imogen Hobbins
(Year 3, Beckley School)

How Birds Learnt to Fly

Have you ever been sitting in your garden on a summer’s day and watched a bird fly? Well, they didn’t use to do that. This is how it all began.

Way back when humans weren’t invented, well almost, there was a land called Canaloo. There were sparkling, raging waterfalls, lots of neon palm leaves and thousands and thousands of different coloured birds. There were yellow long-tailed birds, green sparkling chirpy ones, blue water canary ones and the most beautiful bird, Falona, the red phoenix. The only problem was none of them could fly.