Everyone has a unique view and something to say about it

The post title is a fragment lifted from a Radio 4 programme as I was waking up this morning, on ordinary people writing their family histories. It has helped me lift myself out of a torpor with a familiar ‘personal unworthiness’ narrative flowing through it. Here I go with my first task – to write a few paragraphs, just for me, parts of which might feature in some thesis rationale.

I recently observed a fabulously noisy and messy class of Year 5 children in a Lambeth primary school engaged in a design project making 3D models of fantasy buildings with recycled materials brought from home. Inspired by visits to the Southbank, the buildings would eventually form a town scape in the playground, digital perspectives on which produced material for inclusion in their edited films, screened at the BFI as part of their annual Cultural Campus programme.

I think virtually every word of these 2 sentences has something to say about the heart and soul of my thesis and this is where I have to start, that is, with my personal motivation to embark on this study. What we have here is an amalgum of notions with contemporary currency: the engagement and agency of young children, participating in an authentic out-of-school environment; the crafting of both material and digital products; a partnership between 1) a cultural institution, 2) a classroom teacher and 3) a facilitating agency with technical expertise (Lambeth CLC); the use of new digital technologies to make and distribute texts and other stuff I haven’t thought of yet…

The contention is that the process of making stuff is the embodiment of learning stuff: the forming of a sentence, the shaping of a plastic container, the editing of a video clip, the selecting of a sound effect or piece of fabric, choosing the right word in a line of poetry: all necessitate trial and error, experimental decision-making, whether they be aesthetic or logical in nature and also a certain amount of ‘making do’ with available time and resources. So the learning value is as much about process as about what we have to say about the product.

I can’t resist posting a few photos, which is something I said to myself I wouldn’t do because all aspects of photo editing distracts me from writing, but hey… maybe this very rationale is something I should look at reversing …

I have yet to see the kids’ final products but I guess it doesn’t really matter…

May 13 2013: (somehow I find myself fighting off feelings of cheating whenever I subsequently edit a post?)

Here’s the final film I cavalierly suggested didn’t matter whether I posted … I think the children might contest this …

‘Studies from the Southbank’ by Walnut Tree Walk Primary from Lambeth CLC on Vimeo.

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