I have rarely come across such engagement, enthusiasm, curiosity, reflection and creativity as I did when I spent a day working with 30 pupils aged 10-11 at St Ambrose Barlow School in Salford.
We gathered to learn about the Sun and find new ways to talk about what we’d learnt through art. The day began with everyone reading a poem or prose, singing a song or showing images they’d made or gathered that shared perspectives. Dr Helen Mason, a Sun scientist at Cambridge University and I gave talks and we enjoyed many searching and thoughtful questions. With commitment and enthusiasm, the group planned an exhibition and organised themselves with everyone volunteering for this or that task. After lunch, working individually or in groups, designs for artworks were created that shared something of particular interest learnt that day. A myriad of ideas were born: dresses and accessories, fixed and kinetic sculptures, large installations, interactive magnetic devices, compositions for paintings and an illustrated book of poems.
Most remarkable was the quality of boundlessness the group exemplified that day: in their readiness to be researchers, designers, artists and organisers, students and teachers; and by their creativity, enthusiasm and commitment. The day was a poignant celebration of the possibilities of the human mind and spirit.