‘Hunting for Treasure’ – photography – mixed media – 3D mapping
Autumn 2016 & Spring 2017
(in collaboration with the Fraser Avenue Regeneration Project)
With the demolition and rebuilding of this well known street comes the opportunity to take some time to explore a place which is at once familiar and at the same time in the process of becoming strange, unfamiliar and renewed.
This project will be undertaken by the p4 pupils at the school (2 classes). Some of the children live on Fraser Avenue, or have previously lived there. Even if they have never lived there, most are familiar with it, as it is situated directly across the main road from Inverkeithing Primary School. Fife Council and Kingdom Housing Association have been keeping the children informed about the ongoing changes to the street.
Some people are naturally more observant of their surroundings than others. Taking part in an art project is an opportunity to sharpen your observation skills, both of the environment around you and of your own inner states of emotion and thought.
What happen when we do an observation based project with the children? How do they differ to adults in terms of their environment, how observant they are of it, how familiar or unfamiliar it is to them? Do children tend to ‘own’ their environments more naturally than adults, with more of a connection between their outer and inner lives? If so what does this mean when their environment changes? Perhaps in some ways children are more adaptable, and in other ways they identify with their environment more intensely and find it more difficult to face change.
The project: day 1 – Our first project group went for a walk down Fraser Avenue, starting at the top of the street, which had already been decanted of residents, emptied, boarded up, and surrounded by fences.
They followed a ‘treasure hunt’, a simple lists of ‘treasures’ to be found, and documented their findings by taking photographs. The list included items such as ‘something round’, ‘a machine’, ‘something growing’, and ‘an interesting pattern’. Following the treasure hunt helped to give the project some structure, focus and motivation.
The pupils were very interested in the concepts they were asked to find and photograph, and entered into the spirit of it with gusto. They helped each other find the items, but final decision was given to the child whose turn it was to take a photograph. Some workmen throwing pieces of woodwork etc from a top flat window into a dumpster below caused great interest and excitement – what an unusual thing to see!
The resulting photographs were fascinating and many made great images in their own right. We visited the class again after a few weeks and showed them prints of their work, reminding them of the list and asked them to work out which items the images represented. They enjoyed matching them up again. The children then made woven pictures using prints of their photographs and drew images of the flats to be laid over them, resulting in a great collage of the street – a reconstruction of a day of observation.
The second group of p4 pupils repeated the project in the Spring of 2017. By this time the top of the street had been demolished, resulting in a very different landscape in which to find the same list of items as the first group, thus resulting in a very different set of images. They pupils enjoyed exploring the changed area, and were fascinated by workmens’ detritus which had been thrown away on the land where the buildings had stood.
The finished artworks of the two classes will be assembled together and gifted to the school for future exhibition.