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Posted 18.01.17

Making Learning: Journey to Tate Exchange

By Sarah Packer

From 23-25 January we're setting up a school in Tate Exchange to explore new horizons in creative learning.

It will be a place of exchange, trust, generosity, openness – and risk – as we follow our creative inquiry in the public gaze. What will you make of this? What can we learn here? And what’s your role from now on in making learning?

In the run-up to our Tate Exchange takeover, we partnered up with Plymouth School of Creative Arts to host a series of creative briefings at The Red House, Palace Court and Tavistock Place campus with students aged nine through to Postgraduate level study. Here students had the freedom to experiment, interact and interrupt — exploring the making learning process and how their findings could shape our pop-up event at Tate. 

We caught up with some of the student’s involved to hear how the briefings went…

Artemis Guy (17), who is studying an Extended Diploma at our Palace Court campus, said: "There was lots of space to be very creative and do lots of art, and we talked about what art is."

"It was nice to see a huge diversity in people of different ages and backgrounds that I’m going to be working with."

"I learnt a lot about how different people work and it was interesting to see the contrast between the younger people, who were very enthusiastic and went ahead with it, and the older people who were more hesitant to just go with the flow and start doing things."

Also studying at our Palace Court campus, we heard from Cecily Bedner (17) who gained a new perspective from the open nature of the briefings: "I came in not really knowing what to expect but we ended up doing some really interesting activities."

"They involved us experimenting and working together through digital and physical drawing and then we had a group discussion about what we are going to do at Tate."

"Art means everything, art is emotion." — Rafe and Kristians

"It’s nice that we are all getting to know each other and we are all comfortable with each other. I didn’t know today was going to do that, but now that I have come out of it I’ve realised that today was really important for getting to know everyone."

"It’s been really important to erase any hierarchy to do with age. I learned how education can really be different and much more fun than what I went through when I was their age, I think creative education is amazing. I’m a big fan."

Regular staff and student briefings helped shape ideas and aims ahead of our Tate Exchange takeover.

Eight-year-old Edith described what she learnt at the briefing hosted at The Red House: "I did drawing and learned about art and what it is. I tried to draw a fox with my eyes closed and helped someone else to draw a big map...I learned that the Tate Modern is very cool!"

"It’s been really important to erase any hierarchy to do with age... I think creative education is amazing. I’m a big fan." — Cecily Bedner

Masters student Paul Hillon (48) described the run-up to our Tate Exchange event as "collaborative" and a way of understanding the different ways of learning: "The project is shaping up to represent people in education from primary school up to postgraduate level and we should all be involved, but I think it’s about getting to know each other, and also understanding how the different individuals and different age groups work."

"I learnt today not to underestimate the value that a younger cohort can bring to the group. I think when you see the amount of questions that were asked, the first people to throw their hands in the air were the children from Plymouth School of Creative Arts."

Experimenting with creative processes through collaborative, active drawing.

"They don’t have the inhibitions that we might get once we’ve been through the academic wringer, if you like."

"It was amazing to see actually - not worrying whether their answer could be considered right or wrong, or silly… none of that. That’s purely them saying exactly what they think and if we could all do that more often, that would be fantastic."

We caught up with eight-year-olds Rafe and Kristians after one of the briefings about what they did, what they learnt — and what art means to them: "We made lots of random things and everything we can possibly think of."

"We made art smudges, mess, dance, more mess! We learnt what art is, how to make mess — what art will be, what it was and what art will become"

"And that art means everything, art is emotion."


Follow the journey as students aged nine through to Masters level study take charge of their learning, curating a collaborative project for London's Tate Jan 23-25. Join us and contribute to our shared understanding of how learning is made.

Join the conversation: @TateExchange @plymouthart #TateExchange #MakingLearning

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