Aspex Portsmouth

A Town Shaped by Us, St John’s Primary School

The work on display comes from a collaborative project between Aspex and St John’s Primary School in Gosport,  responding to Bettina Fung’s digital artwork The Sea Changes Into Words.

The project was originally intended to take place with pupils from the school’s art club over one academic year, in which the pupils would go on three gallery visits to view the exhibitions and take part in artist-led workshops, developing a wide range of skills and confidence. The students were only able to visit the gallery in person once before the Covid-19 lockdown, however when classes were able to meet again we developed creative workshops that could be led by teachers at the school. 

In the Spring of this year Aspex’s Learning Team visited St John’s to run activities inspired by The Sea Changes into Words with half of KS2, which was then delivered by teachers to the rest of KS2. The work in this exhibition is the result of those workshops: origami houses, flats, caravans, boats and other homes, each one representing a child in KS2 and decorated to reflect the individual pupils’ personalities, hobbies and interests. Inspired by the ideas in Bettina’s work of imagining alternative futures, the individual homes come together to create the patchwork town displayed here. The pupils enjoyed exploring Bettina’s ‘choose your own adventure’ game in classes, and some even contributed to Bettina’s Virtual Gathering Space by sharing their hopes for the future in the game, sending them to the artist on virtual coloured balloons! 

Students from the original art club cohort have also submitted Explore Arts Awards and are looking forward to getting their awards soon, celebrating their hard work.

This project was supported by the Hornpipe Arts for Schools Small Grants Scheme.