Archive | Reflections RSS feed for this section

A Day of Animation

4 May

When I first heard we would be taking part in animation this week  (4/5/11) I immediately thought of two examples of stop motion animation that have particularly inspired me. These are;

-Smashing Pumpkins:  Thirty-three

-A scene from indie film: ‘Eagle Versus Shark’

I enjoy the simplicity, the humour, the playfulness and the slight jerkiness of these clips.


Todays session began is discussion about where animation actually began. It is arguably thousands of years old- as old a cave paintings themselves! However, the first motion picture itself was created by Eadweard Muybridge in 1873: solving the problem of whether or not when a horse is running there is ever a point when all four hoofs are off the ground. As previously discussed- the best creative accomplishments come from solving a problem

However, we also learned about various simple animation techniques which could easily be used with children. Such as;

-The Thaumatroupe

-The Flip Book

The animation we created today was, however, inspired by the work of William Kentridge who often uses one 2D surface for an animation sequence.

Siobhan Cawley and I created a story board of Little Red Riding Hood and chose to use black paper and chalk for the eerie effect. We also chose to include only a dash of yellow and red to make these colours more prominent and to draw attention to the significant characters. Here is what we produced;

In reflection, I definitely think animation is more than worthy of a place in the school curriculum as it is so relevant in children’s lives and children’s media. Not to mention it is completely cross-curricular; including mathematics, english and literacy, expressive arts and ICT. Although I enjoyed this method we used today, I think doing stop motion with props such as Lego or even the human body would be an easier basis for children to begin more complex animation (with quicker results too).

Relevant  Teaching Resources

Pedersen, H & Villekold, H. (2005) Teaching With Animation- a booklet about animation

Available at

[Accessed 20 May 2011]

South West Grid for Learning Trust Ltd. (2010) Teaching Animation

Available at

[Accessed 20 May 2011]


Art Education: Some Points to Consider

3 May

On 27/4/11 we reflected on various aforementioned aspects of art and art education itself. Today I reflect of significant points raised by both discussion and required reading.

What IS creativity?

-The product of a creative pursuit must contain “originality”, “aptness”, “validity”, “adequacy in meeting a need” and “fitness”/ being right (Baron, 1988 cited in Dust, 1999, p.1).

-Taylor (1959 cited in Dust, 1999, p.2) describes levels of creativity; the “expressive”, “productive”, “inventive”, “innovative” and the “emergentive”.

-However, Gardner’s (1988 cited in Dust, 1999, p.4) levels of creativity are “subpersonal”, “personal”, “extrapersonal” and “multipersonal”.

-Johnson-Laird (1988 cited in Dust 1999) says that creativity the interaction between society, culture and what the individual can create to promote change within the system.

-But some researcher also say that “creativity is solely about what is happening within an individual. This is the ‘everyone one is creative’ approach (Dust, 1999, p.7)

How do we PROMOTE creativity in education?

-Creative pursuits require TIME for preparation, incubation, illumination, verification and execution/elaboration (Sternberg and Davidson, 1985, Taylor, 1959 cited in Dust, 1999).

-Creative thought and pursuits can be encouraged by;

“-Questioning and challenging conventions and assumptions

-Making inventive connections and associating things that are not usually related

-Envisaging what might be: imagining- seeing things in the mind’s eye

-Trying alternatives and fresh approaches, keeping options open

-Reflecting critically on ideas, actions and outcomes”

(QCA cited in HMIe, 1999, p.2)

In future, I intend to not chase an abstract understanding of what creativity is but use the ideas (like in the HMIe document) in my lessons planning in how to promote creativity itself. The importance of encouraging children to be creative is emphasised by this quote;

“The principle goal of education is to create men who

are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating

what other generations have done- men who are

creative, inventive and discoverers”

Jean Piaget (1896-1980)


Reference List

Dust, K (1999) Motive, Means and Opportunity. Creativity Research Review.

HMIe(2006) Promoting Creativity in Education: Overview of Key National Policy Developments Across the UK

Available at

[Accessed 17 May 2011]

Image credit

Carpe Diem!

21 Apr

On 20/4/11 our Learning Through Art and Visual Culture went to the beach; guided by the very rare and very beautiful Scottish sunshine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This spontaneous event was resourced by very large rolls of paper, inks varying sized brushes attached to bamboo sticks. The paper was initially laid back from the sea but moved to the shore line to allow the briny, flowing water to interact with the creation of the image.

*I found that there is something quite poignant about allowing the sea to be involved in the creation of its own representation (or self portrait).

*We experienced again the opportunity to find and command our own space with the media: something I find valuable and intend to take forward with children in the future.

We we had finished our ink painted interpretations of the shore line and we put them in the sea! Therefore, really we let the sea do the finishing touches to our work.

* There was something incredibly beautiful about the fleeting moments we saw our collaborative creation in the waters of the initial inspiration that it came from.

Witnessing such beauty also filled me with a vast sense of loss at the temperate nature of such a kind of work when it was -shortly after being in the sea- disposed of. But it also tempered my mind with such a great sense of value of what I had seen and engrained it solidly in my memory (getting camera happy also helped!) However, perhaps the spontaneous and impermanent nature of such a creative experience reinforces it’s value- making it a forever happy memory rather than a stagnant educational non-event.

“Everything flows and nothing abides,

everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.”


(c.540 – c.475 BC)


Relevant Sources

LTS (2011) Outdoor Learning: Approaches to Learning

Available at

[Accessed 21 May 2011]

Aldridge, J. (2011) Exploring Art, Ecology and Learning

Available at

[Accessed 21 May 2011]

Photography and Children: Reflections on Reading

19 Apr

On 13/4/11 we were issued with the journals ‘Photography in Pink Classrooms’ by Liz Ashburn and ‘Download’: ‘Postcards Home’ Contemporary Art and the New Technology in the Primary School’ by Steve Herne in relation to looking at photography and children.

The main thing I considered from Ashburn’s journal in relation to teaching is how we can use photography as a tool to help children share, understand, accept and appreciate themselves and others (2007). She suggest a photographic topic where students capture images of their own significant belongings in order to share their life with their peer and states that, “if students are familiar and relaxed with each other, topics based on each student’s photographic exploration of their environment. such as their bedroom, their friends, their social environment, give them freedom to reveal their sexuality, if they choose to do so” (Ashburn, 2007, p. 36). I think what is particularly important for the primary child is the feeling of being comfortable and accepted for who you are through such photographic, discussion sharing activities.

Ashburn also made me think about most teacher’s assumptions of students’ heterosexuality in the curriculum (2007). This reminded me of some of the book resources Stonewall showed us at their seminar which represent a variety of different families increasing children’s inclusive experiences of family. Another photographic topic could also be undertaken with children sharing pictures of who is in their family.

Such opportunities for children to explore different family dynamics and themselves as individuals through other images and photography help them to consider sexuality as a whole as “something we can create” on our own which can lead to “new forms of relationships, new forms of love and new forms of creation” (Foucault cited in Ashburn, 2007, p. 34).

Photography is not just as a tool for children’s self exploration, it can also be used to help them explore the world around them. Projects such as ‘Postcards Home’ – where children took photos in their home environment and attached relevant captions- meant that the children “developed visual and media literacy and understood that their art production could draw on their own lived experience and explore ideas and feelings of personal significance” (Herne, 2005, p.18). Therefore projects like this are not only significant in making art and photography consciously relevant in the children’s lives; they also offer them a new way to look at and explore a variety of aspects in their own life (Herne, 2005). Children are also able see how different people’s interpretations affect the communication of these issues through their art; encouraging them to explore what they can do (i.e. captions) to further communicate what they mean (Herne, 2005).


Reference List

Ashburn, L. (2007) ‘Photography in Pink Classrooms’. The Author Journal Compilation. NSEAD/Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Herne, S. (2005) ‘Download’: ‘Postcards Home’ Contemporary Art and New Technology in the Primary School’. JADE, issue 24, no. 1. NSEAD

image credit

The Power of the Photograph

19 Apr

Last week (13/4/11) we had the opportunity to attend a seminar by the charity Stonewall about sexual orientation. I found their main message was not primarily about who people are sexually attracted to, it was that love comes in many forms and children need to be familiarised with families in all forms in order to accept  and appreciate differences.

Photography, as a tool, has always been used to expose people to different ideas, cultures and experiences etc. Many photographers have used this medium to address and even challenge, for example, gender identity thus introducing audiences to humanity in its plethora of variety and fostering appreciation and acceptance.

The artist I always think of who challenges gender identity is Andy Warhol who created a series of pictures of himself dressed as a woman.

'Self-Portrait in Drag'- Andy Warhol (1981-82)

Though such challenge of gender identity is not limited to the art world. The music industry saw David Bowie‘s Ziggy Stardust in performances, motion pictures and stills in the early 1970s. For me, Ziggy Stardust represents an amalgamation of both male and female principles creating an almost ethereal and supernatural being. Or the divine androgyne.

In the workshop following the seminar we were asked to think about an aspect of our own identity and represent this through a photograph. We all ended up producing mind maps with aspects we feel to be much related to our own identity. But I always find this process a little strange because there is who and all you are inside to you and then there is how other people see you. How many identities does a person really have?

A Brief Map of Lauras Mind/Matrix/Labyrinth

I posted my mind-map on my blog even though I didn’t want to share it with anyone. That’s the thing- it’s easier sharing when I don’t have to see someone’s reaction. That’s what I focused on when taking my photography to represent an aspect my identity. It shows confidence as I am looking right and the camera but an insecure aspect as I am deliberately hiding. This is representative of  an inner confidence I have always had within myself and with who I am but my lack of confidence when it comes to opening up and sharing with others. I tend to make strong personal bonds with people before I open up because I am frightened at sharing myself completely as a hangover from years of arduous bullying- I fear what people might say about me, who I really am, until I trust them. But old wounds are slowly healing as I meet lots of new and wonderful people. 🙂

The Partial Hider

I feel great, with reference to last weeks reflection, that I have produced an image with a specific purpose and been able to consciously communicate an aspect of who I am to the blogosphere. This could be the start of a beautiful journey and I hope to use photography to help children better communicate themselves to the world.

Image Manipulation

5 Apr

On 30/3/11 we had the opportunity to go to a seminar by Valle Galera de Ulierte on “Image, Object and Identity: Photography and the Construction of Meaning in the 21st Century”. I have not had much experience of photography as a Fine Art therefore the main thing I feel I learned is that photography is not necessarily capturing exactly what it there but capturing/creating a certain symbolic nature of what is actually being photographed.  It could be deliberately presently props/people in different contexts to communicate something else, to trick the mind or by communicating multiple meanings. When I think about it more I realise that photography as a Fine Art requires similar thinking to the creation of a painting e.g. composition, props, colours, lighting, models, body language and what symbolism is being used and for what purpose. I found an interesting article  about such symbolism in photography called using symbols and metaphors to express meaning’ which extended the variety of images I also saw and heard analysis of in the seminar as well as expose me to other kinds photographic symbolism and metaphors.

The workshop that followed the seminar left me feeling inspired because I have been toying with the idea of getting more into photography for several years. I looked through many, many photos that I have taken in the past and selected ones that mean something to me and manipulated colours and composition using software. In this sense I feel I tend to work backwards- I’ll produce something that means something to me or that simply feels right and I’ll analyse the symbolic nature relevant to my own feelings/experiences after the image is created or finished. So, in that sense, I often personally use the production of images to understand who I am- to find my own identity through pure creation.

I would definitely in the future like to consciously communicate something important to me  and symbolically through images and offer children I am teaching to also take part in such experiences. For example, I could teach a lesson where children have to present five images of things that represent who they are and why. This is what I have done below as well as manipulate them in such a way a certain symbolic representation of aspects of my mind/identity/feelings comes through aiding my own knowledge of self.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“The final mystery is oneself.” Oscar Wilde

Glasgow Musuems Resource Centre

27 Mar

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On the 23/3/11 our Learning Through Art and Visual Culture module took us to Glasgow Museums Resource Centre. It is- by no stretch of the imagination- amazing. I felt how I imagine Howard Carter must have felt when he discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb- simply awestruck! It is mind-blowing seeing so many relics, treasure and valued items spanning many ages of mankind. I am aware this centre stores about a million items!

I managed to take many pictures of  the contents we observed but there are still many more storage units within the building to explore. It is described as housing the city’s hidden art collection.

This visit has definitely inspired me to use such an amazing and free resource in teaching as tours can be arranged around certain themes such as the Industrial Revolution or Egyptians. Handling sessions with the artefacts can also be arranged which would give children more of a multi-sensory experience with relics-particularly of the past.

To further extend the benefits of GMRC, it has a vast collection of contemporary  art which “has a more visible and, apparently, more youth orientated appeal” (Sefton-Green & Sinker (eds), 2000, p.181). This is perhaps because it is more relevant to the children’s experiences in a rapidly changing world. As a teacher I feel:-

It is time to use contemporary art in the classroom as it has far greater meaning for the children which leads to far greater understanding.


Reference List

Sefton-Green, J. & Sinker, R. (eds)(2000) Evaluating Creativity: Making and Learning by Young People. London: Routeledge.