Artworks and experiences created during Community Arts Projects can continue to have reverberations, be enjoyed and inspire people long after the project has taken place. We saw this in action on 22nd June 2016 when we were invited to attend a day of celebrating pupils’ achievement at Inverkeithing Primary School. We found ‘The Place Where We Live’ – the 3D map project which Inverkeithing Arts Initiative ran with the p4 year group in 2015, proudly on display in the school hall.

IAI devised and led this project at the school in September 2015 when participatory artist Rosie Gibson asked us to help her get local schoolchildren involved with, and incorporated into, her ‘Trading Wisdom’ project on Inverkeithing High Street, part of the nationwide ‘Luminate Project on Creative Aging’.

Rosie’s project involved listening to elderly residents of Inverkeithing, and from their conversations gathering ‘nuggets of wisdom’. The nugget Rosie asked us to use to inspire the pupils’ project was from an elderly lady remembering her time as a young woman working at the Caldwell Paper Mill:

“My mothers hoose was like a canteen. We went hame fae the mill for breakfast, lunch, then hame for the tea! And my brothers were on different shifts so they went hame at different times tae!”

We talked with the children about the nugget and what it was about, and asked them to have a think about ‘their’ high street, and what they might see as they themselves walk through it every day. The children created drawings of the things they could remember, using vividly coloured pens and pieces of card…. the results were gloriously imaginative and lively. The children then stuck their drawings in the appropriate places along the roads, to create a joint artwork which we called ‘The Place Where We Live’. All of the children were enthusiastic and engaged throughout the whole day the project took place. The resulting maps were photographed and Rosie made placemats to be used, appropriately, at the Millbrae Cafe (which still uses them daily!)

The 3D Maps, and placemats, were displayed during the school’s event on the 22nd, and we were delighted to see so many visitors at the event stopping to have a look at them, very obviously admiring the children’s work. The pupils who had taken part in the project were particular proud of the maps, and enjoyed looking for their own drawings, and showing them off to their parents, grandparents and carers.

The primary school, Inverkeithing Arts Initiative and Rosie Gibson are very keen to continue working together in the future, involving local schoolchildren in community arts projects.

For more images of the maps, click here

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