The Fine Art Printmaking Schools Project, using money given by a generous donor, ran online instead this year, due to Covid-19. It was delivered and facilitated by Zoe Pritchard – practicing artist and Printmaking alumni – along with 20 of our 2nd year Printmaking students, and in collaboration with Widening Participation. The pandemic lockdown presented many challenges this year and on-line delivery of the project was planned with accessibility and lockdown constraints fully in mind.
It is difficult to imagine the profound impact that lockdown has had on a practice-based undergraduate course and its students, as well as the young people, with schools closed and learning from home. The schools project has proved an exciting challenge this year and was successfully planned and delivered with maximum accessibility, and to promote creative excitement and engagement through print making processes (and approaches) for everybody involved.
This generous donation received allowed the school to buy in crucial supplies to ensure that all participants could be sent specialist lo-fi equipment to be able to join in print-based activities from home over a series of four Saturdays in February and early March. Each participant received a print pack though the post which contained: 1 gelatine printing plate, 2 printmaking plates for monoprint, 2 rollers for inking up four relief print colours, a range of specialist papers, papers for chine collé, glue stick scrim pencil, paintbrush, palette knife, protective covering for table, plus a hand printed postcard from a 2nd year printmaking student
The Widening Participation team did the outreach work to engage young people from schools in the area, and to get parents and guardians on board for home delivery of the project. 21 young people took part aged between 13–16 years old, and came via local schools: Durrington High School, The Cavendish School, Cardinal Newman, Portslade Aldridge Community Academy, Patcham High School and Thomas Bennett Community College. The sessions delivered introductions to the materials and equipment, live demonstrations, drawings, warm up games, mono-print, chine collé, relief, collograph and gelli plate printing.
Zoe and the students encouraged the young people to be resourceful around the home – collecting materials to use from around the house, and getting ideas from looking out of the window or drawing people and objects from around the house as well as engaging imagination. Zoe, the 2nd year students and young people all took part in the workshops, using laptop cameras pointed down on to workspaces to create a visual stream of working hands and emerging works on screen. Zoe facilitated conversation about ideas, techniques and practice-based interests, and together, the group were able to generate a lively, energising and sustaining presence on- screen.
Printmaking students were encouraged to share ideas and techniques from their studio practice, deliver live demos and find ways to encourage and give positive feedback to the young participants. Padlet was used as a platform for participants to upload work from the sessions and interact with comments and ideas. The young people were supported to take part in the postcard exchange with the 2nd year students.
Jane Fox, Senior Lecturer said “We were so happy to deliver this programme, the engagement we received from the students via the new method of delivery was amazing, and we are so grateful to the donor for making this happen. With special thanks to Zoe Pritchard, Wayne Case, L5 Fine Art Printmaking students, James Barron and Daniel Hawkins at Widening Participation for all the additional support”.
Here’s some of the fantastic feedback received:
“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and Zoe and all your helpers for taking X on an amazing journey these last 4 weeks. The excitement and interest X showed in printing was something lacking since the pandemic started. It also helped cement the choice to study art for GCSE. Thank you so much for being so welcoming and teaching some wonderful skills to take forward. X enjoyed the experience and is going to miss the Saturday mornings” – from a parent.
“It’s been brilliant, especially during this home-learning time, it has kept X busy. We appreciate them sending the equipment to us as well.” – from a parent.