On 19 April Freelands Foundation will open Brink. This exhibition and accompanying book are the result of a collaborative project between Freelands Foundation and University College London / Institute of Education, working with students undertaking the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course, who are training to be secondary school art teachers.
The project involved the students exploring the idea of teaching as an artistic practice. As they embark on the beginning of their careers in the classroom, they have developed work that reflects on what it means to become an art teacher and what art teaching might be, addressing some of the pressing issues that art education is facing in a difficult climate.
The exhibition of 32 artists includes Ruth Elliott’s playful evocation of the art teacher as a cross between Joseph Beuys and Willy Wonka; Jack Hopkins’ work, which focuses on the games that Year 7 pupils have stopped playing as a result of the architecture of the secondary school, a poignant reflection on how the school environment impacts on children’s behaviour; Nicole Marks’ collection of confiscated make-up; and Eli Samuels’ spoof radio show in which pupils are interviewed about their parents. On the evening there will be performances by Hannah Oram and Susanna McAlpine.
The preview will see the launch of the accompanying publication, which features additional work and essays, and includes a response to the list of things that parents thought their children should have learnt by the time they had finished their schooling that was compiled by the French pedagogue, Célestin Freinet, in the 1950s. The book contains 99 possibilities that answer the question ‘What should students have learnt in art by the end of secondary school?’ It is completed with a comprehensive index and a glossary of words that relate to art education and practice.
The book will retail at £10 and be available to purchase on the evening and online after the opening.