Story Makers previously ran 2010-2014. Story Makers was devised by Fusion Arts in partnership with Integrative Arts Psychotherapist Helen Edwards. The project is designed to support developing speech and language in 7-11 yr olds with communication needs through engagement in the arts. It worked with a number of children from 3 different primary schools from the Oxford area.
Story Makers is supported by BBC Children in Need.
Story Makers runs for 12 weeks in the Autumn term. Each year the children are taken to a different Oxford Museum, to discover the collections and find inspiration in the objects and the people who made them. The children are accompanied on their creative journey by Teaching Assistants, a Speech and Language Therapist and volunteers.
The participants as Story Makers experience themselves in a new context as artists, creating, reflecting, improvising and sharing with the group. This may translate into chances for participants to build self-confidence, capacity for emotional expression and to reduce individuals isolation.
The group visit the partnering Museum a couple of times coinciding with the start of their school terms. Following the Museum visits the children create new stories; exploring narrative and poetic word, experimenting with mark and model making, enacting characters from their stories using costume, face painting, shadow play, dialogue and sound. This helps to enable the children to build up their capacity for taking in, understanding and reflecting on information as well as their expressive capacities, and so enriching their vocabulary for communications. The project then culminates with an exhibition at the Museum. Previous partner Museums included the Ashmolean Museum, Pitt Rivers and The Museum of History of Science.
The project is funded for another 3 years starting 2016. In the final year Fusion Arts will host a symposium where staff, practitioners and educators can share their experiences and thoughts on best practice and further impact in the future.
Story Makers is an inspirational project that can really make a difference to children’s day to day lives and their futures.
It gives a really good overview of the project. The Echoes programme is not currently funded for this incarnation of the project, however we have been in conversation with Artscape regarding similar work and so it may be incorporated again in the future.
Video made by children at Pitt Rivers Museum as part of the Story Makers project
Story Makers 2016
Stories of Stone, Body and Bone
Integrative Arts Psychotherapist Helen Edwards has been working with 3 schools, New Marston, Wood Farm and Rose Hill Primary Schools since September offering this imaginative and inspiring arts based project to children with communication difficulties and the adults who work with them in schools. The Story Makers are working with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History this year, exploring Stories from Stone, Body and Bone.
Story Makers, funded by BBC Children in Need and developed in partnership between Helen and Fusion Arts since 2010 offers children and adults new ways of conceiving of themselves as artists. Everyone, children and adults, creates new art work alongside each other and all are encouraged to try out original and imaginative ideas. The Story Makers have explored rocks and minerals in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, accompanied by their little Story Making friends conceived in their imagination, and created out of fabrics and wool. The focus is on the direct experiencing of the museum collections, engaging the creative self, through direct feeling and sensory observation, using the hands, body and senses, engaging self awareness, self confidence and the sharing of experiences. New ideas shared in the group build and blend together, creating a playful, trusting and thoughtful atmosphere which can serve as a potential space for developing the capacity to think reflectively and dialogically, leading to the natural enrichment of speech and language. As images appear in clay, drawing, collage, paint, charcoal, and modelling they offer new meanings, bridges to understanding deeper communications already understood through sensing, touching, holding, moving, colour, forms, free association and play. Story Makers listens to how deeply felt experience may flow into a mode of communication, a language portraying feeling through gesture and movement. Stories emerge through artistic imagery and can be transcribed into narrative, dialogue and poetry, forms in which there can be meeting between Science and Art.
Inspiration is taken from active engagement with Museum visits which have been thoughtfully designed to bring alive the richness and appreciation of beauty and understanding held in these world renowned collections. In this exciting 2016 project, groups will so on to work with the imagination, body and senses to develop a series of images and interactive sculptures and fabrics along the theme of ‘Stories of Stone, Body and Bone’. Story Makers engagement with rock, mineral and stone collections to understand time and tectonic processes, will lead on to investigating the evolution of bone and skeleton, and implications for movement and sound gestures in communication.
Their will be an Exhibition of Story Makers work at The Oxford University Museum of Natural History early in 2017 as well as a family open day where you can find out more about the project.
We are grateful for the support of BBC Children in Need
and the assistance of Chris Jarvis & the Oxford University Museum of Natural History
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