Rosie Gibson – Breathing Space

Inverkeithing Arts collaborated in 2015 with Inverkeithing artist Rosie Gibson for her project ‘Trading Wisdom’ (read here and here), and we are following with interest her current project ‘Breathing Space – Living a Citizen’s Income’. Check our her Breathing Space – blog and follow her investigation, research and lived experience of this fascinating subject. As always Rosie’s thoughtfulness and thoroughness shines through in her work..

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The Place Where We Live – 10 months on

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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The Place Where We Live – Art Project, Inverkeithing Primary School

The p4 pupils of Inverkeithing Primary School took part in an art project based on their own experiences of living in the town. The children were asked to have a think about their everyday surroundings and get drawing, resulting in these wonderfully vivid and exciting 3 dimensional street scenes.

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The pupils worked with the volunteers of Art Club Inverkeithing after artist Rosie Gibson asked if they’d like to help her with one of the pieces for her forthcoming Trading Wisdom art project, taking place in Inverkeithing from 10th-17th October. With the collaboration of the teachers, headteacher and depute head, the p4 pupils took part in the whole-day map project, resulting in two fantastic 3 dimensional maps of the centre of Inverkeithing. These works are now being interpreted into one of the exhibits for Trading Wisdom (details to follow soon!).

For inspiration for this project, the children were shown one of Rosie’s Nuggets of Wisdom, collected from the local generation born between 1925 and 1935:

“My mother’s 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!”

The children were invited to respond to this quote, and were shown a short presentation about the history of Caldwell’s Mill, which was demolished in 2012. They imagined Grace, whose quote it was, as a young woman, making her way home from the Mill to her mother’s hoose. Would she have seen the same things on her walk which the children see today?

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We were very impressed by how much the pupils took to this project. They were very interested and engaged – showing us just how naturally they feel that their town belongs to them. They were sincerely excited about the  idea of representing their daily surroundings through art, getting down to several hours of drawing without complaint. I think we can all agree they re-created their environment in the most colourful and imaginative way.  And, for the volunteers of Art Club Inverkeithing, the children were a delight to spend a day with!

Well done the p4 pupils at Inverkeithing Primary School, and many thanks to the teachers and management for being so patient and accommodating.

As well as being a part of Rosie’s Trading Wisdom project, the maps will continue to be proudly displayed at Inverkeithing Primary School.