Portal Tables: Schools & Community Collaborations

Portal Tables: Schools & Community Collaborations

Autumn / Winter 2021

As part of Portal Tables Participation Programme, Stanley Picker Gallery Assistants have been utilising their skills as Kingston School of Art students and alumnus to devise and deliver new and exciting workshops for children and young people from some of our partner schools. These included Saturday Art Clubs for pupils from St Luke’s C of E Primary, a Gallery-based After-School Club for King Athelstan Primary, and in-school sessions for GCSE Art students from Grey Court.

For their Stanley Picker Fellowship exhibition, Portal Tables, The Decorators take the idea of commensality – the social practice of eating together – and extend it beyond the human to include microbial communities. The Gallery Assistant’s workshops focused on themes surrounding this such as connectivity and community, classroom and table politics, and the delights and vilification of microbial life. They encouraged both self-reflection and connection with peers – as well as the micro-organisms! Below is an overview of activity.

Saturday Art Club and After School Club
Children explored the exhibition, interacting with the inflatable furniture series, and films. They made observational drawings, writing, engaged in discussion and created ‘bacteria badges’, and microbial inspired 2D artworks and tree ornaments. They also sampled some of the microbes in the form of tasty Kimchi! To view a gallery of activity please click here.

GCSE Art Workshops
Students participated in one of two sessions. The first, Inward Outward saw the individuals connect with their tablemates through a series of rapid observational drawings, and later look inward to complete a series of ‘cloud drawings’, intuitively working ink over watercolour to give form and meaning to the random marks. Click here to view a gallery of outcomes.

In the second workshop, Marvellous Microbes, each table was given two different key words relating to verbs/occupations/objects, for example Flower/ Battery. They then worked collaboratively, using scrap materials to create sculptures of an imaginary organisms that can function in the capacity of both key words. Through collaboration their tables became a microcosm of community, and considering each person’s place and influence they created a large micro-organism that encapsulated the tables ideals and creativity.

Instagram was used as a small online community to share progress and ideas within the classroom. Please follow the link (to be published shortly) to view.

Meeting Artists and Designers
All participants were pleased to meet and question the ‘real life’ practitioners and Kingston School of Art students who were leading the sessions. These included Sebastian Nissl (MA Fashion Graduate), Ahlam Ahmadi, Maya Dew, and Beatrice Hall (BA Fine Art) and Advait Naik (BA Product & Furniture Design).

‘It was fascinating to watch the students explore their creativity and have fun with it. The experience was educational.’  Sebastian Nissl

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Get Involved

For more information about this project and others please contact Natalie Kay on 020 8417 4074 or email n.kay@kingston.ac.uk.