Stepping Out Into The Open, 2008

Stepping Out Into The Open, 2008

Stepping Out Into The Open explored how Shacklewell School’s inner city children responded to ideas of the ‘English Countryside’ both as a place to visit and as an idea represented in art.

The Year Six children involved in the project all came from very different ethnic and cultural backgrounds; yet all shared a great curiosity to understand how photography can be a vehicle to explore personal experience in relation to public knowledge and understanding of how artists have formed particular ideas of what the countryside around cities should look like and for whom.  These ‘Landscapes’ formed the starting points from which the children learned about and responded to the different ways photography has been used by various artists. 

Andy Goldsworthy, whose arrangements of found natural materials encouraged the children to develop ideas on how photography can represent nature as holding ‘powers’ of self healing and continuation.  Through the photography of Leslie Thompson, the children explored how the countryside could be represented as an escape from modern urban life, and through the work of Ori Gersht they explored how the use of photography creates a sense of memory of a particular place in the landscape. 

The children were encouraged to think about how they may retell their own stories to create their own personal ‘landscapes’.  Most of the project was spent outside including wandering over Hampstead Heath and hiking in the woods of the Chilterns.  It was inspiring to see the children attempting to understand the relationship between the real and the pictured and to be excited by things they could touch, smell, see and most importantly climb.

The project was commissioned by HS Projects and funded under the Insight Community Arts Programme.