Blue Sky Thinking Workshops
The ideas for the Wonderland exhibition have been developing constantly over the two years of the project's gestation. An essential element of the project has been the involvement of teachers, schools and education professionals in workshops which have directly shaped the content and format of Wonderland.
The aims of the Wonderland education workshops were to inform and inspire schools, and to explore the cross-disciplinary process of working on Wonderland and its impact on Helen, an artist and Tony, a scientist, building on HSF's previous innovative work across disciplines.
Wonderland aims to encourage schools to understand how they can apply the same approach to planning a cross-disciplinary Sci/Art project, a series of lesson plans or assemblies within their schools.
Sheffield University: January 2007
We ran a twilight sesion for teachers, and invited four schools to bring their students in to experience a mock-up of Wonderland at Sheffield University. We also invited academics and subject advisers to give us their responses, collaborating with the Centre for Science Education at Sheffield Hallam University.
Visitors donned lab coats before entering the exhibition space where they gave us their reactions to the film, dissolving dresses, Tony Ryan's practical polymer chemistry lesson, and the design ideas for the final exhibition. Teachers were asked to develop responses to Wonderland, devising their own lessons and projects to deliver back in school using the stimulus of the exhibition.
London College of Fashion: February 2008
While Wonderland was at the London College of Fashion we ran a number of education days. HSF invited schools to attend an exploratory day during the Wonderland exhibition, so that pupils and teachers could see at first hand the ideas behind the project and how they were realised.
First students and teachers were given a tour of the exhibition by Helen Storey, then Tony Ryan gave a practical demonstration of the polymer science behind Wonderland. Then we challenged our visitors to respond to the work and tell us about the ideas that the session had provoked. Click here to link to the Wonderland LCF Blog.
Northern Ireland teachers at London College of Fashion: February 2008
Seventeen educationalists and teachers from Northern Ireland visited Wonderland at London College of Fashion for a CPD day on 26 February. Helen and Tony ran a workshop to help those attending to explore the inherent educational potential within Wonderland, so that they could begin to plan projects they could deliver in their own schools when wonderland visits Belfast. All of them took back plans for a manageable project that they could run before, during and after Wonderland's visit to Belfast in autumn 2008.
Click here to view a report on the workshops by Kamina Walton
Click here to view a report from Formby High School on their visit
These are just some of the comments from the workshops:
“I found the ideas and concepts fascinating. It was a novel and unusual as well as beautiful use of materials.”
“Found the whole session awe-inspiring and really motivating, want to go back and put things in action”
“Science makes sense now, we should be sharing this with others”
“We should change the curriculum so that more/all learning is like this”
“Am going away with inspiring ideas for what to do in the school”
“Lots of things to share with schools and teachers and such a great way to teach science and art”
“... our involvement in the Wonderland project with the Helen Storey Foundation has already yielded many benefits. Students in Year 8 are studying advanced science and relating challenging concepts to their growing understanding of environmental issues. We have experimented with using mobile digital technology to capture the learning process with students making short films about polymerization. The learning has been mostly experiential and we have already witnessed the positive effects these strategies have had on student motivation and engagement. The Wonderland project has demonstrated the value of inter-disciplinary ways of working both for staff and students and our plans for the new Key Stage 3 curriculum will certainly enhance this aspect of our work in school.”
“In the FE textile depart we don’t really play with recyclable material, students think of it as ugly so one idea is to work on the notion of reinvention and use different materials for making a collection - meatpacking labels with lace. We can work with science to try vac pack processes”
“My head is buzzing, so many things going on, very excited”
“Great to think about how to explain science through beauty”
“Can’t underestimate the power of taking risks – you can change the world”
Copyright ©2005 The Helen Storey Foundation, the University of Sheffield, The University of Ulster/Interface
Workshops images: Kamina Walton