This year's Story Makers "Stories of Oxford" Project is working in partnership with Rose Hill and Wood Farm Primary Schools and the Museum of Oxford. Arts Psychotherapist Helen Edwards and Fusion Arts devised a framework for participants to engage with their imagination and sensory experiences exploring aspects of nature, becoming intimate with the mycelium of life, learning about forest and woodland, water and plants, the history of Oxford and its natural landscape.
The Story Makers Project has been funded by Children in Need since 2010, it involves a unique approach bringing nurture and learning to traditional educational approaches and offering children and adults new possibilities and identities. Everyone is treated as an artist and creates new work alongside each other, sharing and trying out their own new ideas. Stepping out of traditional educational roles encourages children and adults to have new experiences of themselves and of relating differently in a learning group, whilst in their classroom enriching classroom based learning.
Inspiration is taken from active engagement with Oxford Museum collections to bring alive the richness, beauty, human ideas and endeavor held in these world renowned collections. This year the groups are enjoying exciting visits to the Museum of Oxford and have been exploring objects in the museum collections that shed light on the history of Oxford with particular reference to the changing landscape of the rivers of Oxford as the city developed and the human relationship to its water courses. They have enjoyed sharing stories of people, time and place and through the artwork created, discovering their own imaginative Stories of Oxford.
Story Makers loved using a range of textured objects, materials and fabrics to build an impression of the natural landscape through sensory experiments and touch, using movement and visualisation to get close to the earth and natural objects to explore relationships to gravity, air and atmosphere. The artists use clay and a range of materials to portray the feelings arising in these experiments sculpting their own trees and tree beings. Participants design and make their own drawing and maps and create large collaborative art pieces working in a range of media with different textures and colours to create a story scape of the landscapes, waterscapes and horizons they imagine might lie in times past.
Story Makers will continue until the end of May. There will be an exhibition of the artwork created and the books written by the children and adults involved, and a celebration event for the project after Easter.
Thanks to @bbcoxford for putting this short film together about Story Makers!
If you would like to find out more about Helen's approach click here!