Babylon ARTS & Highfield Littleport Academy celebrate nature, art and creative collaboration!

Babylon ARTS & Highfield Littleport Academy celebrate nature, art and creative collaboration!

On Thursday 6th June, Babylon ARTS and Highfield Littleport Academy celebrated the culmination of a large ongoing creative project, made possible by funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. This event showcased the creative work completed by the students and artists involved, while also offering further creative activities and reflection on the project.

In 2023 Babylon Arts was fortunate to secure funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for an 18-month project entitled ‘Inspired by Nature’, working with partners at The National Trust’s Wicken Fen site and Ely Museum.  The aim was to develop creative approaches that enabled connection and engagement for people with low vision, young people and the wider public, thereby improving access to arts and heritage for more people.  And we were also delighted to be able to involve Highfield Littleport Academy in a later hands-on, creative phase which culminated on Thursday 6th June.

All children at the school benefited from practical workshops in February and March 2024 with three professional artists, Lead Artist, Kaitlin Ferguson and Assistant Artists, Amy Wormald and Lyn Pryor, experimenting with a variety of printmaking techniques using natural inks from blueberries, beetroot and bark and taking into consideration nature, whilst referencing fossils and those we may leave behind!

A significant and magnificent truly co-created artwork, ‘Deep Time – Imagining Ely’s Prehistoric Landscape and Ocean’ comprising of 4 printed wall hangings on muslin that incorporate imagery provided by the artists and the children has been installed at an impressive height in the school hall to serve as a legacy and a reminder of the fruitful and creative interactions that took place in the school during the residency by the artists. 

On Thursday 6th June a Celebration Event brought together all the young participants, several parents and carers, teachers and the artists to enjoy the fruits of their labours and to engage in some further creative activity and evaluation.  The main highlight was that the children saw the finished artwork, ‘Deep Time’ for the first time and were very excited to see some of their own drawings incorporated and all the pupils credited on the wooden plaque alongside!  Other highlights of the project adorn the walls of the school where you can see framed prints made by the children and fired handmade clay fossils are on display in the hall.   During the event, children were given access to a Sensory Room where they enjoyed Kaitlin Ferguson’s film about Wicken Fen, accompanied by scented oils to stimulate their senses, a fossil digging station where they played amateur archaeologists, unearthing some 3D printed wooden fossils and a printmaking table where they produced a largescale communal print by using fossil stamps that they had made themselves during the project.  

“The finished artwork is fantastic, it depicts the students sensory and learning experiences perfectly,” said Yvonne Skillern, the Headteacher of Highfields Littleport Academy,

“It is great that every student from the most sensory learner to some of our artists of the future have been included in the project.  It has been of huge benefit to our learners and we would love to repeat this sort of project again.  A huge thank you to Babylon Arts for making this possible”

The children and parents even provided creative feedback on their experience of the project on sugar paper leaves with which they could adorn a tree or via dinosaur footprints that could be placed on a pathway through nature, printed using real leaves and plants!  Some of their comments included: “I want to be an artist”, “It made me feel proud of myself” and “This was the best day ever”.

Thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and to National Lottery Players for making this possible.

Photo credit: My Linh Le Photography

Ad Ad