Childhood & Art

Today I attended another Glück workshop this time within their regular slot on a Tuesday at Aviatrix. This is another interesting space that mixes children, a cafe and art. Their website has the following interesting history on it:

“The concept of Aviatrix Atelier was born in 2010, when Antonia and Frido were born. Then, two recent-mothers-artists realized that from this year on, it wouldn’t be possible to work in collective atelier as they always did, because of the incompatibility between the existent alternative art spaces and the presence of children. Not interested in affording an atelier for the two of them only, they decided to build up a network of artists with the same needs they held – and it worked!

The project of the two artists went further. One with a second small baby and the other with in a large atelier, 200m2. The first independent kids friendly art studio in Berlin. A place where children were not just “allowed in” but can become part of it interacting at the same level as the artists. An environment where, for only one year, more than 20 artists have their workspace and several exhibitions, workshops for children and events for young families took place.”

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Workshop space for children above the cafe

Glück run workshops once a week with the theme of internet Tuesdays. This week images were taken from the internet to act as inspiration for the workshop participants. The images were of work by the artist Saul Steinburg. Saul is most renowned for his illustrative work that appeared in the New Yorker. However, among his work are a series of cartoon/illustrations on paper bags that are worn. The children at the workshop were shown these projected onto a blank sheet so that they could have ideas for where to start their own creations inspired by his art.

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The children were given paper bags and pastels the same material as Saul to make their work.

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After making the mask, workshop participants acted out their characters.

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Black and white photographs by Deborah @ Glück

I have been thinking a lot about the importance of exposure to a range of art and art practices in early childhood this month, as the topic is embedded within my teaching sessions on the MA in Education: Early Childhood. In general seeing creativity and the arts as part of wider communication practices matters for allowing children to understand past, current and future creative industries. Being new-ish to living in Sheffield I am often amazed at the attention that is still given to the Steel Industry. Sheffield’s history is fascinating but it is still foremost in its identity. As an outsider I find it somewhat strange that my 7 year-old son’s education includes so many reference to an industry he will not be able to join. At the same time Sheffield has a lot of new creative industries. I know this through my work with local digital games makers, but you would be hard pushed to find evidence of this in any of the city museums or in my son’s classroom. Let’s celebrate the past makers of Sheffield, and also let children living in Sheffield know that they can be other kinds of makers in Sheffield’s thrriving (but more hidden) modern creative industries.

My colleague Abi Hackett is currently involved in a project looking at extending the Arts Award to under fives. The Arts Award is designed to help children and young people to find inspiration in museums collections that can grow their creativity.

Another colleague Cathy Nutbown also undertook the Daring Discoveries project, which looked at artists working in early years settings. The project booklet can be downloaded here.

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