Working with teenagers as part of this residency has been an interesting challenge for me. Even though, or perhaps particularly because, I am a parent of children the same age, I’ve had to work hard to figure out how best to interact with them. The group I am working most closely with consists of 7 lovely girls ranging from grade 10 to 12, each with their own talents and levels of engagement within the Arts.
When choosing the particular activity they are completing with me I recognised a high level of potential that they might find it boring at times, given that I was asking them to do one simple task over and over again. So I built in a couple of potential variants that allow them to express their individual style in their work, and set down some milestone activities to provide some perspective on the value of the collaborative approach we are undertaking.
At times I’ve been unsure as to whether or not they have been bored, but I’ve taken solace from the wonderful work they’ve been producing. Today we had a milestone moment where we installed the work completed to date in the Guilford Gallery. We started with a discussion and vote to decide where in the gallery the work should go, then one student chose a piece of work (not necessarily her own) and placed it on the chosen wall in a position of her choosing. From there they each chose pieces of work and placed them on the wall as they liked, collaboratively building up an arrangement. I was pleased to see that they even felt comfortable enough in the process to make and allow changes, quickly finding an arrangement they were all happy with.
It was clear from the way they went about this and their satisfaction with the outcome that the value of the process had become apparent, and when I asked them whether they were still committed to proceeding with the project I’m sure I detected an increase in enthusiasm JI’m really looking forward to working with them again next week.