Wild Exchanges

From each project location in Fantastical Cambridgeshire we are inviting Wild Exchanges, introducing children’s ideas into the working realms of artists, architects, engineers, botanists, biologists, experts and enthusiasts of all kinds.  Recent collaborations with writers Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Kay began this process, and now we want to widen the range of voices responding to children’s discoveries.  Updates on these exchanges will be posted below.

CCI artist Deb Wilenski is working as the 'creative connector' for Wild Exchanges and will be posting regularly about the process here:

I am searching for particular images, words and ideas from the children’s work to offer to adult professionals in related fields - as source material for new work and as prompts to remember where their own fascinations began.  The invitations are very simple at the moment –  a few sketches, a single image, a poem to spark a response.  And the connections can be straightforward or complex, like different journeys on a map…’

Through these ‘conversations’ we expect to see our fantastical map of the county grow in unexpected ways, as each location becomes connected further and wider in the world.  And we continue to advocate for a fundamental right of children – to be recognised as makers as well as receivers of the creative culture around them.

Intriguing Wild Exchanges have been completed for our project with Eynesbury Primary School. Fascinating Wild Exchanges are currently underway with Offord Primary School, our second Fantastical Cambridgeshire project. Look out for more fantastical fascinations in our work with Round House Primary School which is starting soon.

The Ernest Cook Trust LogoA series of resources are also in production for others to use to explore their own wild exchanges with this work. These are supported by the Ernest Cook Trust and will be shared at the International Festival of Childhood in Bath (June/July) and at the University of Cambridge's Festival of Ideas in Cambridge (October).

We seriously did see a spaniel

14/07/2017

Artwork

(by Deb Wilenski) In CCI’s Fantastical Cambridgeshire projects with school children we often see a lively exchange of ideas and approaches to exploring; the many ways children invent to journey together into familiar and unfamiliar locations make an intriguing list.  We decided to take some of these ways to the Forest of Imagination, a four-day festival at the University of Bath, to see if other children and adults in a different location, might like to explore in these ways too.  Independent artist Laura Magnavacchi also joined us to help facilitate and document the workshops and try out the games as a new way of working with children for herself.

Game 1 –  Maps and messages from other minds

We offered children’s hand-drawn maps from locations in Cambridgeshire and invited people to use these to navigate around the Forest of Imagination, recording what they discovered in words and images.

Artwork

Artwork

Small rolls of paper with ‘messages’ from the children at Offord primary School invited participants to explore the Forest as other animals or other people, because as Martha (age 7) said: If you learn to explore like a mouse you can learn to explore like anything.

I explored as an old lady, I strated at the age of 70 and ended at 100 by Ava aged 8

Girld in a meadow

Game 2 – A city gone wild

The theme of the festival was Where we feel at home and focussed on exchanges between urban and wild spaces.  We offered a wealth of printed images from sources as diverse as children’s den-building in our Fantastical Cambridgeshire locations, houses designed by children in our ArtScapers projects, intricate structures made by animals and ‘wild’ architectural design.  We invited visitors to use these in collage, drawing and projections to build a new ‘city gone wild’.

Artwork

Game 3 – Mapping from dusk to dawn

We played a compilation of wild sounds recorded by bio-acoustic engineer William Seale, alongside two large-scale visual prompts from illustrator Elena Arévalo Melville - a list of ‘names for black’ invented by Offord Primary School children making colours for night-time  and a long night pathway inspired by Elena’s Fantastical Offords map.

The taxidermy fox sat quietly in the night corner, where dark cushions and eye pillows encouraged people to lie down, listen, travel into the night, then add drawings to our map of night-time.

Artwork

Artwork

Classes from Swainswick Primary School, Twerton Infant School and St Andrew’s Primary School tried these out for us on Friday whilst on other days people dropped in and played together, often coming back to add more to their work as new ideas came to them.

Classes from Swainswick Primary School, Twerton Infant School and St Andrew’s Primary School

The games helped to transform the space at Edge Arts, filling the room with new ideas and creations shaped by this community. We will be publishing the games for others to play with in the autumn so keep in touch on info@cambridgecandi.org.uk if you’d like to know more.

Walking on the wildside

27/01/2017

A wild exchange with Fredi Devas, producer and director of Planet Earth II:‘Cities’ responding to ideas from Offord primary school children.

Wild hyena walking the streets of Harar (image: Fredi Devas)Wild hyena walking the streets of Harar  (image: Fredi Devas)

(by Deb Wilenski) Since day one animals have featured strongly in our Fantastical Cambridgeshire project with Offord Primary School.  Children have explored as other animals, listened for and recorded animal sounds and drawn real and fantastical night creatures.  Many of the children are inspired by wildlife film makers and adventurers.  I spent a memorable morning with Harry and Flynn (aka Steve Backshall and Bear Grylls) tracking and filming a wild panda and magic horses (Martha, Ruby and Angel) in the undergrowth at the Millenium Green. 

More than 10 million people watched each episode of the recent BBC series Planet Earth II and many of them were children.  As I work with the 5 to 10 year olds at Offord it is clear that they are already great observers and imaginers of the natural world.  They share ways of seeing and thinking with some of our most brilliant film makers.

For this wild exchange I talk to Fredi Devas, producer and director of Planet Earth II series finale ‘Cities’.  Taking Martha’s map of the school orchard as a starting point we explore how to see through animal eyes, lifelong relationships with animals, places we call home and fantastical forests of the future.

Martha’s map of the school orchardMartha’s map of the school orchard

Harry’s orchard fox with fox-tail calligraphyHarry’s orchard fox with fox-tail calligraphy

Martha (age 7) called her map of the orchard ‘A walk on the wildside’.  She told me: ‘If you’re under 5 you can walk a baby squirrel, if you’re over 5 you can walk a cub and if you’re over 18 you can walk a mummy and a daddy fox‘.  What was your relationship with wildlife like as you grew up?

Before 5 I was living in the countryside in France.  We had donkeys and chickens and cats and a dog.  I was going to a village school and I had enormous freedom to roam miles with my friends.  My best friends lived about a mile away on the other side of the valley and my parents would let me just head over.

There was one road to cross which had no traffic and the rest of the journey was forest.  We had strong vines we could swing on and we made loads of dens.  There were ruins, maybe 13th century ruins in that forest, so we had a real Mowgli set-up.  I was totally surrounded by nature then and I loved animals.  When I was 6 I said I wanted to work with animals and when I was 8 I looked up the term ‘zoologist’ and told everyone that I wanted to be one. 

When I was 16 I discovered Darwin’s theory of evolution and I was fascinated especially by cultural transmission, this new idea.  That was the start of my brain being really engaged.  My school had such a view of liberal thinking and encouraging debate around spirituality, quantum mechanics, way before we could really understand it.

On my first day with Hawks class I invited the children to explore their school orchard as themselves but also as another animal.  They were brilliant at it and later in the afternoon many of their maps were drawn from this perspective.  Are there aspects of your job that ask you to imagine being the animals you’re documenting?

Snake’s eye view from up a tree (Ava)Snake’s eye view from up a tree (Ava)

Fredi filming peregrine falcons from a New York skyscraperFredi filming peregrine falcons from a New York skyscraper

When you’re filming I think it’s really important to try and get inside the eye of the animal, the mind of the animal.  One of the hardest shots we are tasked to do is the ‘point of view’.  If you’re doing the point of view of a pigeon for example, you certainly don’t move the camera around like a pigeon moves its head, because that would be impossible to watch.  But what you’re trying to get is an idea of ‘this is how they might view the world’.  You’ve got artistic licence for not going literal but trying to be illustrative. 

I think the most fantastical piece in the Cities episode is when we did the hyper-lapse sequences in cities in Asia looking through the city lights.  When I was dreaming up those sequences I wanted you to see the environment from a bird’s eye view as if you’re an animal venturing into the city for the first time.

Shanghai city lights (image: Fredi Devas)Shanghai city lights (image: Fredi Devas)

Looking down on the traffic we’re condensing space and time to say: this from different animal perspectives is going to look ridiculously busy, like it does with time lapse; look ridiculously alien with all the city lights; and look really hostile with all these buildings racing up.  All to provoke an emotional response which must be what I’m thinking animals might feel when they first come to the cities.

It seems that children can easily conceive of lifelong relationships with animals that are both ordinary and fantastical.  They don’t believe we need to grow out of these connections.   Did Martha’s ‘Walk on the wildside’ map remind you of other relationships you have encountered?

Langurs on rooftops in Jodhpur (image: Fredi Devas)Langurs on rooftops in Jodphur (image: Fredi Devas)

I’m going to tell you an amazing story about the connection between people and wildlife in India.  The langur troop that we were filming in Jodhpur went every day between 3pm and 5pm to one roof-top and they were fed by a family there. 

In January 2011, at 1:27 in the morning, the grandmother-in-law who had been feeding the monkeys for many decades died.  And in India when you die all the family is around your bed and it’s very quiet.  It’s quiet before you die and it’s quiet after you die, and the family stays there until the morning. 

Half an hour after the grandmother died the male langur walked into the house.  This is at 2 in the morning.  Their roosting tree is about 250m away, down in the valley.  The male langur comes in, puts his hand on her feet on the bed, and then runs out.

There’s a big square window above the grandmother’s bed with no glass in it and when the family look up the entire troop is sitting around that window.  They don’t know how long those monkeys have been there, but they’re all there, all the young ones and all the mothers.  They would normally be sleeping in the tree, 250m away, they never sleep on the roof-tops.  And they stayed there all night until dawn and then they left.  They didn’t make a sound. 

When the lady told me the story she wasn’t telling it to me like I’m telling it to you, like this is mind-blowing, it was more like ‘well the langurs had a connection so they came’.  That’s one of the things I find so extraordinary; I don’t know if this is within your definition of the fantastical, but this spiritual connection is so alive in the way they welcome animals into the city there.

The relationships with the langurs in India and the hyenas in Harar (Ethiopia), who are fed by the city’s butchers, are both extraordinary and everyday.  Do you think this is only possible when you have a spiritual connection or a long tradition through time?  Can we start new relationships with animals?  The children I work with seem to think we can.

Here’s a really interesting example which we filmed but which didn’t make it into the episode.  There’s a clip on the Planet Earth II website called ‘The biggest long-eared owl roost in the world’, so you can see it there.

Kikinda is a town in Serbia and in the last 15 years long-eared owls, which are normally very shy birds, have been going into Kikinda town square to make their roosts during the winter.  There are now 750 owls in one roost in Kikinda town square.  The ones in the wild are much much smaller, around fifty birds.  They’re doing it because it’s normally at least two degrees warmer in the city and cities are where some of the mature trees are left.  When the shooting season starts it frightens the owls out of the trees in the fields, they are actually less disturbed by the traffic than by the shooting.

Long-eared owl in roost, Kikinda (image: Marko Rupena for the Wall Street Journal)Long-eared owl in roost, Kikinda (image: Marko Rupena for the Wall Street Journal)

These are long-eared owls, they’re beautiful big birds and this relationship is not religious, it’s not a long tradition and yet very quickly the inhabitants of Kikinda are recognising it’s putting them on the map.  Economically, lots of people are coming to visit, but it’s also the idea of what it means to call home ‘home’.  That idea of why you belong somewhere, something that’s as special as saying: ‘I come from Kikinda, yes that town with the largest long-eared owl roost in the world’.  And this charismatic animal that you are linked to might then draw you into the love of birds, the love of wildlife.

I’d love to ask you about the grove of ‘Super-Trees’ in Singapore – the fantastical man-made landscape there.  The Super-Trees remind me of children’s inventions and drawings; this radical idea of a forest in a city extending vertically from a small footprint on land.  Does it feel fantastical when you are there, or a bit like the relationships we’ve talked about, is it becoming part of everyday life?

Botanical gardens, Singapore (image: Fredi Devas)Botanical gardens, Singapore (image: Fredi Devas)

What it feels like changes when you’re there.  It’s extraordinary when you first see it, it’s captivating, and it’s a new futuristic look.  Those gardens are almost an entire ecosystem; the plant waste is burnt and digested in such an efficient way that it cools all the greenhouses.  You can walk around the platforms in the Super-Trees and there are 300 species of epiphytes growing on them, they are really amazing. 

And then at night the lights come on!  At first I’m there thinking ‘but I know all about light pollution and what it does to wildlife, and these plants are going to be so confused’…but it attracts so many people.  It’s suddenly cool to be hanging out at a botanical gardens.  And because of it there are birds coming in and making their homes there, there are loads of butterflies and bees and they’re so clever about their planting that they are making three-tier forests that are attracting huge densities of insects.

It's amazing and it’s very clever.  But after a while there I crave the wilderness, I crave zero management.  But that’s my personal reaction.  I’ve grown up I suppose in the wild whereas other people have grown up in the city.  This is within the realm of the city, still within their comfort zone, but bringing nature to them.  So I really champion it.

Spectrograms and singing ice

23/01/2017

(by Deb Wilenski) I wanted to interview William Seale for Fantastical Cambridgeshire to explore a wonderful contradiction; the human desire to discover things as they really are, and the desire to experience unbelievable worlds.  It’s a rich combination that sits at the heart of our Fantastical Cambridgeshire project and many other CCI endeavours.

William’s work as a bio-acoustic engineer is factual and faithful to the natural world but seems to have great potential for the imagination too.  When we share William’s sound recordings at Fantastical Cambridgeshire events people of all ages are captivated.  His recordings have prompted extraordinary drawings, vivid memories and new investigations.

I met with William to discover what the ‘fantastical’ means to him and to reflect on children’s explorations of wild sounds from our current project with Offord Primary School.

Image of a spectrograph

In your work recording and analysing wildlife sounds there is a great emphasis on capturing natural sounds as accurately as possible.  Do you think the fantastical sits well with this kind of focus?

Yes, I think it probably does.  Some of the things I set out to record sound just how I’d expect, and there’s no big surprise there, but other things are quite different.  Obviously, none of it is supernatural but it does often have an other-worldly quality to it.

What have you been really surprised by?

Well it’s not a very dramatic sound in a way, but the peacock butterfly.  When it opens and closes its wings if it’s disturbed during hibernation it makes a kind of swishing sound.  I recorded that years ago and then I heard that there was something ultrasonic there too.  The original equipment I’d used couldn’t record ultrasound, so I recorded it again.  I was expecting more swishing sounds that went higher and higher but suddenly there was this very sharp clicking (clapping hands together sharply).  I hadn’t expected to hear that.

When you’re recording how much are you interested in the patterns and surprises of the sounds themselves and how much are you trying to discover what the sounds are being used for?

It’s both really.  The reason I got into sound recording was because I loved hearing the sounds.  And the fact that a particular sound would often take you back to somewhere, to a particular location - like I hear yellow hammers and I go to Devil’s Dyke.  I wanted to be able to capture that, sort of put it in a pot.  And the great thing about sound is that with a very high degree of realism, you can capture that sense. 

When I worked with the five and six year old children at Offord they were fascinated by finding, making and recording sounds.  How old were you when you first became interested?

Listening for moles in Offord School orchardListening for moles in Offord School orchard

My first recollection of being really interested in hearing wildlife sounds was when I was at prep school in Cambridge.  It was break time and my classmates were probably playing football or something and a song thrush started singing at the top of a beech tree.  I was amazed by that and I just stood there listening to it. 

My mum always says that I had a great interest when I was in my pram!  We walked down the road where there used to be a rookery, and I would sit up in my pram and really take a keen interest, so maybe it goes right back.

You’ve got some extraordinary looking equipment here.  It’s fascinating to see some of the machines that have recorded the sounds you’ve shared with us and turned sounds into images.  Can you describe some of the technology?

It’s much easier now than it was when I first started.  In the mid-1980s when I got involved in the bird book work (Birds of the Western Palearctic, vol 1-9, 1977-94) we were sent open-spool tapes from the British Library, a compilation of a particular species.  And then we had this machine, this very fantastical machine, a spectrograph.

It’s a bit like if you took a washing machine and cut it in half, so it’s half the height, with a whole load of dials and things on the front, then stuck a tall biscuit tin in the middle on the top.  Round the biscuit tin you put this sensitized paper, and underneath the cover it had a big metal disc.  You plugged your recorder in and 2.4 seconds of your recording came round, slowly.  You then put the paper on some springs and had to switch the machine into a mode where it sounded like a washing machine!  It went round really fast and there was a stylus you had to engage which gradually went up the paper and burnt a pattern in it. 

So you’ve got these puffs of smoke and sparks and this funny smell and you just watch as the pattern gradually appears.  We’d try to work out what the pattern was.  It was like opening Christmas presents, you really didn’t know.  You’d get these fantastical patterns and the patterns helped you remember the sounds.

Listening to your sound recordings in our ‘Tent of Sounds’ children and adults have loved finding visual codes and shapes for the sounds.  When you look at those spectrogram images do you hear the sounds in your head?  Is it like looking at musical notation?

Image of empty music staves

Sonagram of goldfinch song (reproducing the pattern burnt by the spectrograph)

Sonagram of goldfinch song (reproducing the pattern burnt by the spectrograph)

Well it is like that, because it shows time against frequency.  You get a gradation of darkness in the patterns as well which gives an idea of amplitude.  And then you can see things.  Like here (at 0.8 seconds in the image above) the bird is using two voices.  The syrinx in a bird is where the two bronchae meet, and the two sides are controlled independently.  A starling is brilliant at it.  A starling can mimic two species simultaneously, one with one side of its syrinx and one with the other side.

The other fantastical part is we do a lot of slowing down to hear the structure of these sounds, but the bird is thought to have a time resolution about ten times better than ours.  So if we slow a recording down by a factor of ten, we will start to hear the level of detail they are hearing.   I think as humans we sometimes make the mistake, we listen to a rook and think that’s just a simple sound, but there’s a lot more going on, rooks are very intelligent.  It doesn’t sound musical to us but there is a lot of complexity.

In the children’s drawings from Offord animal sounds often carry messages between one animal and another.  They have a very social purpose.

Seb’s Rabbit conversationSeb’s Rabbit conversation

I loved seeing their drawings.  Of course, it’s actually what a lot of sounds in animals are.  I am really interested in the function now.  I think the last recording I made was a burying beetle.  I set the equipment up, found a burying beetle in something disgusting out in the field.  My mum’s cat is an avid hunter and so I gave the burying beetle a dead mouse and it didn’t seem to take much interest for a while.  Then I suddenly realised it had in fact made a nest.  Most insects lay their eggs and there’s no further care but burying beetles have this very pronounced maternal and sometimes paternal care.  

They make these stridulations – their bottom sort of wobbles around and they produce a squeaking sound.  So I’ve recorded that.  But now I’m wondering, was the sound actually made because the beetle was being disturbed, so it was telling me to go away?  Or because of its nesting behaviour, was it something else?  I read that they do communicate with their young, so I’m intrigued.  There is a group at the Zoology Department researching burying beetles so I must get the recording to them.

I asked the children what sounds they would most like to hear – you became this mythical person for them who could make anything happen!  One of their requests was ‘a walking tarantula’, another was ‘a spider spinning its web’…

Well this piece of equipment here which I completed this autumn, well nearly completed because I’m not quite happy with part of it, that’s for the spiders on their web.  This is the one I used for the ladybird on the grass stem – it’s made from an old shaving mirror.

Image of piece of recording equipment

Image of piece of recording equipment made from an old shaving mirror

Are there sounds you haven’t recorded yet that you want to record?  What’s at the top of your wish list?

It had been the bombardier beetle but I then got that, which is a remarkable thing.  Hmm, I’ll have to think, because I tend to blunder along and then something comes up…

William expanded this list in an email weeks later, and told me about one of the most fantastical sounds I’d ever heard of:

After you left I got thinking more about which sounds would be on my recording wish list (grew rather long, ranging from Death-watch beetles, leking Capercaillie and a big Raven roost, to a Western Australian dawn chorus and a tornado and yesterday afternoon I added another one…singing ice.  I was in Cambourne (without recording gear) by one of the part-frozen lakes photographing a fabulous sunset when I suddenly became aware of unworldly, almost bird-like, chirping sounds in a sort of echoing ricochet pattern…singing ice.   I’d heard a couple of other people’s recordings, but never expected to hear it for real.  It made my day.

A world of sounds

09/11/2016

(by Deb Wilenski)

Lucas (age 6) fantastical creature from EynesburyLucas (age 6) fantastical creature from Eynesbury

Daniel (age 6) tawny owlDaniel (age 6) tawny owl

In many of our projects with children in the outdoors, real and fantastical creatures are discovered in extraordinary lands – deep underground, under water, high in the night sky.   We have seen wonderful visual representations of these, including Lucas’ drawing which has become the Fantastical Cambridgeshire logo.  But what do these creatures sound like?  What are the everyday and extraordinary sounds of life in Cambridgeshire?

To expand our languages of mapping in this project Cambridge Conservation Initiative introduced us to local bio-acoustic specialist William Seale.  William has spent years of his life recording amazing sounds in ordinary places, if the inside of a wasps’ nest can be described as ordinary, or the underground cocoon of a moth, or the nursery roost of Pipistrelle bats.

William on the banks of the river Ouse behind Eynesbury Primary School, listening to the underwater sounds

William on the banks of the river Ouse behind Eynesbury Primary School, listening to the underwater sounds

William made a special compilation for us of sounds from Cambridgeshire and at two recent events in our Fantastical Cambridgeshire project we have played these as an acoustic ‘performance’ in our Tent of Sounds for visitors to listen to and explore. 

Each time people have been fascinated and surprised at what they are hearing.  Listening takes time too, and in the Tent of Sounds people slow down.  Reading William’s titles for his sound recordings takes you into new and magical lands.  You begin to realise that our human world, so noisy in many ways, is only a small part of the auditory story:

Frog & Toads calling underwater without blowing bubbles

The first outing for the Tent of Sounds was Eynesbury Fantastical Blitz Day

The first outing for the Tent of Sounds was Eynesbury Fantastical Blitz Day but we also set it up as part of Cambridge University’s Festival of Ideas in the garden of the Faculty of Education.  We invited people to draw as they listened.  Children found precise and beautiful ways to represent sounds on paper.  Parents, grandparents, other adults joined in.  A whole gallery of sound illustrations developed through the day.

Cleo (nearly 7) A map of pitches, high and lowCleo (nearly 7) A map of pitches, high and low

Imogen (age 5) Number 2 soundImogen (age 5) Number 2 sound

May (5) The sound of a ladybird climbing up the grassMay (5) The sound of a ladybird climbing up the grass

Eddie (age 7) The different sounds

Sam (age 10) Fox and background sounds, and the sounds of shrews fightingSam (age 10) Fox and background sounds, and the sounds of shrews fighting

Sam (age 4) Caterpillar, cocoon, butterflySam (age 4) Caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly

Malcolm (age 69) Fox barkMalcolm (age 69) Fox bark

Lois (12) Dragonfly taking offLois (12) Dragonfly taking off

Lara (6) Robins, bluebirds, owl, and these are the sound wavesLara (6) Robins, bluebirds, owl, and these are the sound waves

We mapped sounds in words too.  On a large board we asked people to note their favourite Cambridge sound.  By the end of the day we had a whole cityscape of connected sounds, from William’s recordings of bats and ladybirds, to the roar of the river outside The Mill, my daughters sleep sounds and to end the day, the clink of a glass of wine. 

map of favourite Cambridge sounds

In our current Fantastical Cambridgeshire residency at Offord Primary School the seven, eight and nine year olds have explored their school orchard and the Millenium Green across the road as themselves, other animals and other people.  Our next stage of mapping will include the different worlds of sound that meet in these places, and we hope William may be tempted to come and make new recordings too.

New inhabitants for Eynesbury

04/10/2016

(by Deb Wilenski)

To extend Wild Exchanges at CCI’s first Fantastical Blitz day, I created a comfortable drawing ‘lounge’ in the playing field of Eynesbury Primary School.  Our exchanges with Gallit Shaltiel and Mary O’Malley were shared with visitors, and these, along with children’s work from the school project, formed the basis for exchanges during the day.

There was a comfortable carpet with cushions to lounge around on and invitations to play with pattern, design and detail, inspired by Mary’s work and the children’s finely drawn botanical images.  I also offered a large board for building up a town of spaces and inhabitants to join Gallit’s responses to the children’s drawings.

Children’s drawings from Year 1 and Year 3Children’s drawings from Year 1 and Year 3

Setting up Fantastical Blitz Day Image

Our first fantastical inhabitants and patterns moved in to Alfie’s ‘house’ drawing just after the school gates opened.

Alfie (when in Year 1)Alfie (when in Year 1)

Alex (age 4)Alex (age 4)

Oli (age 6)Oli (age 6)

They were joined steadily by new people and creatures, including a golden bear, a golden werewolf, and a highly-patterned version of Ash’s (Year 5) character.


Sonny (age 5)Sonny (age 5)

Sonny (age 5)Sonny (age 5)

Ash (Year5) and Sonny’s mumAsh (Year5) and Sonny’s mum

Some people drew for a long time, others rested and watched.  There was time for trying something for the first time, as adults found they could draw after all, and time to make second versions if you weren’t happy with the first.

Fantastical Blitz Day ImagePhotographs by Maciek Platek

Fantastical Blitz Day Image


Sonny (age 5)Zach (age 8) A bird inside another bird version 1

Zach (age 8) A bird inside another bird – versions 2Zach (age 8) A bird inside another bird version 2

And there were many conversations about the freedom of working this way.  Taking children’s work as the starting point for exploration and creative expression allowed people to play, to improvise, to be bold, and to be happy with what they made.

We loved the idea of the Wild Exchanges…. I didn’t necessarily think of them as children but just as people with interesting ideas.  (Katherine and Gregory from Manchester)

 

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