ultrared Four years ago, when I was invited to attend a meeting about a possible new project, called the Edgware Road Project, little did I know it would have such a huge influence on the way I feel teaching and learning should be developed at St Marylebone.
The Edgware Road to Marylebone area is an exciting, bustling, energetic place with huge diversity. It has a fascinating social and cultural history and serves questions about migration patterns, as well as state and social citizenship. Many of these issues are reflected in the smaller community of the school, reflections of imposed and peer rules, and the ethnic diversity are within its walls.
Ultra-Red is an artist collective that works within communities using ‘sound’ and ‘listening’ as a starting point to research. The dissection of ‘what we have heard’ becomes material that can be transposed into artifacts that represent the voices of the people involved or serves as a pathway to the next discussion.Like education, the ‘process’ is the key to any research / creative endeavor. It is through sitting and listening to the contributions of the students that you become heightened to their own awareness of the issues and the eloquent way in which they communicate them. Keeping a flexible approach to the project allows students to dictate its journey and allows for interesting and well-developed discussion.
Over the fours years there have been a series of workshops and lessons across many different age groups and subject areas. History and Geography lessons were visited by artists in residence, dance drama and music too. Citizenship was covered by all of the different projects and Art was a tool in which the research could be presented, We have made two films, 80 pieces of clay work, textile hangings, a hymnal book, and a live performance so far. There is a huge database with research from the school uploaded and artwork and imagery, which is being collated for the accompanying publication.
Where are we now?
In December there will be an exhibition of all this work and more, we are in the process of inviting students to participate in the final element of this phase of the project. Putting the finishing touches to the existing pieces, creating maps and sound commentary for visitors to the exhibition, and looking at the ‘future of the area’ thinking about regeneration and what this means. Finally we are developing this project into research and development in which students and staff can visit the ‘Edgware Road Project Headquarters’ named the ‘Centre of Possible Studies’ as a way to contribute to the ongoing life of the project.