Current Partner School: Warnbro Community High School
Warnbro Community High School is a secondary public school of over 1000 students in Warnbro, a Southern suburb of Perth. Warnbro’s school motto – “I am because we are,” a quotation from South African playwright, Fatima Duke – embodies the school’s emphasis on community and interrelatedness. Warnbro is recognised by the Department of Education for their approved specialist programs in Creative Arts, Advanced Technology and Design, and Recreation.
Warnbro’s Creative Arts Specialist Program has two streams: Studio Arts (Visual Arts, Multimedia/Electronic Art) and Media and Performing (Drama, Dance and Music). Students are encouraged to take risks, explore, engage in constructive play, acknowledge different perspectives, develop openness, and construct their own personal aesthetic. Through Spark_Lab, PICA will be collaborating with Warnbro’s Arts Learning Area, as well as their English Department and local Primary schools, during a two year partnership from 2015-2016 which will culminate into a final outcome/celebration involving the participants and PICA.
The film above is the product of an epic three-day workshop with Warnbro Community High School students, Indigenous artist & filmmaker Curtis Taylor, Indigenous spoken work/sound artist Brian Lloyd (AKA Bryte) and filmmaker Poppy van Oorde-Grainger. Indigenous and non-Indigenous students learned different forms of story telling and filmmaking techniques, in the creation of their own film inspired by Tracey Moffat’s KALEIDOSCOPE exhibition on show at PICA earlier this year.
The students’ film premiered at Warnbro Community High School during the Spark_Lab Launch Party May 2015, celebrating the beginning of the two year PICA-Warnbro CHS relationship.
Pilot Program Partner Schools (2011 – 2013)
Mount Lawley Senior High School
The Museum of Now
The Mount Lawley Senior High School residency was conducted between March and June 2012 and was titled The Museum of Now. Approximately 120 Specialist Visual and Performing Arts (SVAPA) students from years 8 to 11 collaborated with a team of four professional artists across performing and visual arts disciplines to conceive, develop and stage a promenade style performance installation project. Lead artist James Berlyn asked students to visualise and curate their own ideas about what is important to them now; so important it should be included in a museum. Mounted at PICA over three nights, audience members were taken through in small groups, demanding a high level of energy and focus from the performers.
Roseworth Primary School
Whole School Ceremics Exhibition at PICA
Four emerging and established artists worked with the Roseworth Primary School residency throughout term 4, 2012, each taking separate classes and exploring traditional and radical ceramic techniques to create individual and collaborative artworks with approximately 400 students from pre-school to grade 7. Utilising a largely unused school kiln, numerous projects were undertaken, including: new kinds of fantasy animals were sculpted in clay that sprouted live chia seed fur; the ‘ideal playground’ was designed by the students and brought to life in 3d models and a large-scale ‘community’ sculpture was created from small, original fingerprint nuggets made by every student. The students’ works were on public display at PICA for a month, and the exhibition was extended by popular demand.
St Hilda’s Anglican Girls’ School
The Vinyl Chic Sticker Boutique
The residency at St. Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls was undertaken in May/June 2013, during which approximately 90 students from years 9 and 10 created an immersive, collaborative installation called the Vinyl Chic Sticker Boutique. Housed in the school gallery, the installation emulated a shop environment complete with products, mannequin sculptures, wall images, a fashionista parade, and a ‘flash mob’ performance on the school grounds. The residency evolved from the students’ desire to investigate their relationship to the fashion industry as young consumers, exploring its culture and ethics, given that fashion is something in which they participate. As well as working with the students, artist-in-residence Rachel Jessie-Rae O’Connor created three original large works on the theme for the gallery’s windows.
Kalamunda Senior High School
Identity and Pop Culture: Pop is not a dirty word:
The Kalamunda residency took place in semester one, 2013, and it involved 30 visual art students from Years 11 and 12. Many of the students were prior participants in the State’s Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program and had, through that program, been exposed to PICA and Spark_Lab activities over the previous two years. The students developed the techniques and concepts they had observed and practiced in 2011 and 2012 to create their own performance pieces and installations. Working with artists Abdul Abdullah, Casey Ayres and Nathan Beard, the students created work incorporating performance, textiles, multimedia, installation art, photography, theatre, and music. Their work explored concepts of identity and how it is shaped by culture. Their residency culminated in an exhibition entitled Identity and Pop Culture: Pop is not a dirty word, presented in PICA’s Performance Space, which was well received by public audiences.
Kingston Primary School
The Sound Playground
Kingston Primary School is the furthest of the partner schools from Perth. For this Spark_Lab residency, WA animation artist Michelle Williamson and QLD based musician and sound artist Linsey Pollak worked with approximately 90 year 5 and 6 students for two months between April and July 2013, creating an 8 minute film with an original soundtrack co-composed by students. A grant from LotteryWest enabled the purchase of iPads and laptops for use in student workshops, and a Scanlon Foundation grant helped towards the costs of transport and accommodation for artists. The students employed stop motion, hand-painted and live-action animated sequences and green screen technology to envision the key elements of a future sound playground design. The short film was premiered at a school event and at the EVA Electronic and Visual Art Conference in London and the school intends to use it to support funding proposals to develop the real-life sound garden project.