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Local History

Elthorne Park Peace Garden

Friday 23rd July, 3-5pm

Islington Heritage Service invites you to attend a series of events in the Peace Garden of Elthorne Park to commemorate the unveiling of a WW2 memorial plaque and the re-installation of Upon Reflection, a statue by Kevin Atherton.

The V2 Rocket Memorial

A black and white image of boothby Road after the attack. People are walking through rubble. Many houses are completely destroyed.
Boothby Road in the aftermath of the attack, 1944. Photo credit: Islington Local History Centre

On Sunday November 5th, 1944, a V2 rocket was launched from Hague in the Netherlands. Its target was London. At 5:13pm it exploded at the junction of Boothby, Giesbach, and Grovedale Roads in Archway. Residents from St John’s Way also suffered in the attack.
This was the first long-range V2 to hit Islington. 35 people died in the attack, with another 219 suffering injuries. The oldest person to die in the explosion was 92 years old. The youngest was just five months old. Many houses were destroyed or damaged beyond repair.

Philip Noel-Baker

Black and white photograph of the 'Upon Reflection' statue. It is a bronze image of Philip Noel-Baker with his hands in his pockets looking down into a pond. The statue is surrounded by people looking up at it.
Upon Reflection after its initial installation. Photo credit: Islington Local History Centre

Baron Philip Noel-Baker (1889-1982) was a Nobel Peace Prize winning politician. His father was the Liberal MP for East Finsbury when he was young, before Philip started his own career in politics. He was very active as a Member of Parliament, consistently advocating for worker’s rights, the removal of occupying forces from countries in peace-time, and the rights of refugees. During WW2, he was Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and denounced the bombing of German cities. In 1979, he co-founded the World Disarmament Campaign with Fenner Brockway.

Events for adults

3pm: Unveiling of V2 memorial plaque
4pm: Unveiling of Upon Reflection
Walking tour celebrating the Peace Garden. Please book your ticket ahead of time.

Events for children

Categories
Refugee Week

Paradise Park Children’s Centre

Paradise Park Children’s Centre is an important stop in Islington’s refugee and migrant history for its links with a key member of Islington’s Somali Community, Councillor Rakhia Ismail. Since 2014, Councillor Ismail has held her monthly Councillor Surgery at Paradise Park Children’s Centre, helping her local community with a variety of services. In May 2019, Councillor Ismail made history when she was elected as Islington’s incoming Mayor and the first ever female Somali Mayor in the United Kingdom. Islington has one of the largest Somali communities in Britain and as a local Somali resident and Councillor, Councillor Ismail has been at the forefront of supporting Somalis in London, alongside her wider role supporting her ward of Holloway.

Stop 5: 164 MacKenzie Rd, N7 8SE

From the early 19th Century, when Somaliland became a British Protectorate, the first Somali seamen came to London, to work in the Merchant Navy, and settled near the docks in Tower Hamlets. Accounts of the time show that many of these seamen only planned to stay in London long enough to earn enough money before going back to their families. In Somalia, they were dubbed ‘The Fortune Men’ as they promised to take their wealth back home. Because they saw their stay as temporary, many did not learn English or integrate fully into British society.

Somalia, located on the Horn of Africa, occupies an important geopolitical position between sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and southwestern Asia. A former British Protectorate and an Italian colony, Somalia became a nation state in 1960, but by 1977 war had broken out with Ethiopia over disputed land ownership and caused severe difficulties to Somalia’s fragile economy; prices of fuel and grain increased, and these stressed were amplified in 1978-1979 when a severe drought affected most of the country, bringing the Barre Government to the verge of collapse.

Three opposition parties formed and soon committed to an armed struggle against the government, initiating a civil war. Northern Somalia was worst affected at this time, with towns destroyed and 72,000 people killed in the town of Hargeisa alone. 400,000 fled the country. Following further drought and the effects of war, the country faced severe food shortages and in at least 500,000 Somalis died of starvation in 1992. The state-run health system had collapsed entirely, with only a few rudimentary facilities run by foreign relief workers. It was within this context that many Somali refugees arrived in Britain to start a new life.

Hand printing textiles as part of local Somali community group, Back 2 Basics Create

Some of those who arrived were political refugees, fleeing persecution and repression, whilst others were escaping the devastating impact that war had brought to their life in Somalia: famine, insecurity and abject poverty. Many suffered from malnutrition, bereavement, stress and were often deeply traumatised by the civil war. Upon arrival, Somalis faced a language barrier, culture shock, problems understanding their rights and racism. Such problems meant that some people became isolated and house bound, and prevented them from taking up many social or healthcare services on offer in Britain. Moving to a country by choice is very different to arriving as a refugee, when people have been forced to leave their country due to conflict.

If people come together, they can even mend a crack in the sky

Somali proverb

By 2009, the UK was believed to have the largest Somali community in Europe. The 2011 census suggested there were 99,484 Somalis in the UK and over 2,500 people in Islington identifying Somalia as their country of birth, (>1% of Islington’s total population). An important member of this community, Councillor Rakhia Ismail, has worked hard to support Somali refugees and made history in May 2019 when she became the first female Somali to hold the position of Mayor in the United Kingdom. Councillor Ismail was born in Somalia and came to Britain as a refugee in the 1980s. She has lived in the Islington since 1993 and was first elected to Islington Council in 2012.

2019-2020 Mayor of Islington, Rakhia Ismail

Since 2014, Councillor Ismail has held monthly Councillor surgeries at Paradise Park Children’s Centre. The surgery acts as a one stop shop for local residents, where they can find all the information they need. These are important meetings as the community can meet with their representatives directly, ask questions and raise concerns. The Paradise Park Children’s Centre has played a vital role by providing a safe and welcoming space for locals to engage with Councillor Ismail for six years now. The Centre itself was built by Islington Play Association and Islington Council in 2005 and is described by Councillor Ismail as having “the most amazing, friendly and diverse community”.

For over two decades Councillor Ismail has worked in the voluntary sector, first engaging Somali and BAME local residents with children’s services and then in schools across London. She is the founder of Back 2 Basics Create, a charity supporting hard to reach women and mothers and to advance education and relieve the needs of Somali communities within London. She was a founding member of Islington Stand Up to Racism, where she campaigned against Islamophobia. Previously, Councillor Ismail has worked as a freelance surface pattern designer and teacher. She also led numerous art projects placed at venues across London, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Crafts Council, and Islington Museum.

Rakhia Ismail

Councillor Ismail said of her role, “It is such an honour to (be) the Mayor of Islington, the borough is my home and this role is a chance to meet and experience the inspiring people and all the things that make our community so amazing.” Aisha Abdi, a committee member at Finsbury Park Mosque, said of Councillor Ismail, “She is a role model to all Somali women. Her becoming mayor is a good opportunity for the younger generation of women to know what’s available to them.”

More wonderful work is being conducted locally by the Islington Somali Community (ISC), a registered charity that was established at the end of the 1990s to help newly arrived refugees. The organisation works with Somalis of all ages in Islington and neighbouring London boroughs to “improve the wellbeing of the Somali population and to work towards the full integration of refugees in the local community”. The group has become an essential pillar for the Somali Community, with over 3,000 cases dealt with a year – providing advice and information to Somali refugees and asylum seekers.

Some of the ISC’s invaluable work includes:

  • Crisis Intervention – help refugees and asylum seekers experiencing acute mental ill health
  • Connect – support to older isolated Somalis in Islington, a two year project focused on Finsbury Park
  • Mother tongue and Supplementary School – classes offering educational support and Somali language – Montem Primary School, Hornsey Road
  • Regular women’s support group
  • Support for young people to:
    • Re-engage with education, training and sports
    • Provide tailored education away from alcohol and drugs
    • Progress unemployed young people into training and jobs.

Organisations, such as the ISC help refugees come together in their shared experience, as well as help subsequent generations of migrants connected with their cultural heritage through engagement and language programmes. With a long musical and art tradition, a core component of Somali heritage lies in their poetic tradition. Somali refugees have brought with them a rich cultural heritage to Britain:

I remember who I am

I am a scattered daughter

Somalia my country

East Africa the broad place

I call home

Excerpt from a poem by MAMA East African Women’s Group 1995

This article was produced for Islington as a Place of Refuge, an online tour developed by Islington Museum and Cally Clock Tower, in conjunction with Islington Guided Walks. Centred around Refugee Week 2020’s theme of ‘Imagine’, Islington as a Place of Refuge explores diverse stories from migrant history in relation to the London Borough of Islington.

Categories
It's Ours Whatever They Say

It’s Ours Whatever They Say

Roz Currie, Curator


Islington has less open space than any other London borough –its twelve adventure playgrounds are vital in providing a place for the children of Islington to play. This exhibition explores the story of the adventure playground movement in Islington. It was curated by Jordan James of Islington Play Association as part of the ‘PLAY, PAST, PRESENT AND IN PERPETUITY’ project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The exhibition includes banners made by the children of the playgrounds, archive photographs from the history of IPA, and a film reflecting the early story of the organisation.

There is also a den which all visitors to the museum have helped build, change and make their own…

den

To find out more about Adventure Playgrounds in Islington please visit the IPA website or look on Islington Council’s website

Categories
Blog Post

The History of Martin Luther King Playground

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By Jordan James

In 1968 an Adventure Playground opened for a summer play scheme on some derelict land. It was a 10 acre site surrounded by a high corrugated iron fence, completely empty and unused and there was at the time nowhere for the children to play. The Greater London Council (GLC) gave permission to the parents to use the land for a summer play scheme.

martin-luther-kingChristian Aid agreed to help fund the volunteers on the scheme on the condition that the funding was matched. One of the play workers, Anne Power, approached the Martin Luther King foundation which was giving out grants to fund community projects in multiracial areas in the county. The foundation agreed to give the playground a grant as long as it was named after Martin Luther King -it has remained that way ever since.

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MLK’s banner made for the 2016 exhibition

On the first day that they opened their gates, hundreds of children poured into Martin Luther King Playground and TV camera crews arrived to interview the mothers. By September 1968 the GLC agreed to a permanent playground on a corner of the large 10 acre site. They also announced plans to turn the rest of the site into “Paradise Park“.

The corner the Adventure Playground had been given had a derelict Woodbine Tobacco Factory on it. In the Spring of 1969, with the help of prisoners from Pentonville Prison, the Martin Luther King Association members and parents started to do up the playground.

The playground was the first project that the Foundation had supported and so they brought Coretta King, the widow of Martin Luther King, to visit. She, her sister-in-law and two of her children spent time at the playground with the mothers and children. The playground was also visited by Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

To find out more about Adventure Playgrounds in Islington please visit the IPA website or look on Islington Council’s website

Categories
Blog Post Education

Inspired by Peter Yates: St John Highbury Vale and Gillespie

Day and Night Winged Bulls: an exploration of community by pupils from St John Highbury Vale Church of England Primary School and Gillespie Primary Schoo

In spring 2016 artist Ella Medley-Whitfield and Islington Museum worked with pupils from year 4 at St John Highbury Vale Church of England Primary School and year 3 at Gillespie Primary School on an art project inspired by Day and Night, Winged Bulls by Peter Yates (1920-1982). It was a chance for pupils from different schools to make new friends, share ideas and be creative together.

I liked the opportunity to make friends with Gillespie by working with them.’ Zac

‘I think the children from Gillespie were nervous by we did well at getting to know each other.’ Eddie

‘I enjoyed talking to my partner about what it was like in his school.’ Benji L

 

‘If you look closely at the mural you can see: St Paul’s Cathedral, dolphins, a flying bull, and sword, a well and a path.’ Thalia

Yates REstored

Bevin Court is a grade II* listed housing scheme built by famous Modernist architect Berthold Lubetkin. Peter Yates was invited to paint a mural in the foyer reflecting the local area. He painted a bold abstract mural using themes from the Finsbury coat of arms. Since 2014 Islington Museum, with funding from  the Heritage Lottery Fund has been conserving and restoring this famous mural to its original splendour. Find out more about the mural and Bevin Court on the project website.

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Working together, pupils from St John and Gillespie explored the mural, looking at the different symbols and discussing what they thought they meant. They were particularly fascinated by the image of the dolphin and St Paul’s cathedral. Pupils then began to think about their local area, the buildings, spaces and communities that are important to them. They debated what images they would choose to represent their schools, as well as their shared identity as part of the local community.

‘I worked very well Ahmed. I was good at drawing and he was good at cutting. We made a perfect team. I loved the idea of the art project with Gillespie.’ Krishna

‘We combined the St John’s and Gillespie symbols together to make our picture. We fitted in as many different flags as we could to show that everyone is equal no matter which city or country you are from.’ Poppy

 ‘If you look closely at our banner you can see that it has landmarks such as the Emirates Stadium. There are also symbols like the London Underground sign.’ Niamh

Pupils from the two schools were paired to create these collaborative images. Once they had agreed on their designs, they drew the images on to lino. Using lino cutters, they had the challenging task of then cutting out their designs. It took a lot of perseverance!

I was most proud of my partner because he tried really hard with the lino tool.’ Eliza

The lino cutters were very difficult to use because they hurt your hands but the hard work paid off because the prints look wonderful.’ Phoebe

‘I learned how to use a lino tool. It was fun although it was really difficult because the lino was so strong.’ Martha

 

Then the really fun bit happened, as pupils used printing ink to print their lino block on to fabric. Each pair printed two fabric artworks, one for the St John banner, and one for Gillespie. The fabric pieces were finally sewn together by pupils to create the two textile banner.

 ‘I found the printing challenging, but I love challenges!’ Eddie

‘I felt very proud when I saw my print because it looked excellent.’ Milo

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The final banners were displayed at Islington Museum in June 2016, alongside photos of the project.

Look at the banner to explore what is important to our pupils. Join us in celebrating our shared identity as part of the same local community.

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What we thought about the project:

‘I noticed that Gillespie call their teachers by their first name instead of their surname.’ Ruby

 ‘I really enjoyed working with Alice. It was fun to meet her.’ Cali

 ‘I enjoyed working with my new friend, Lucy. She had really good ideas.’ Thalia

 ‘I worked with Maya. She has loads of good ideas. It was good because they didn’t just talk to their friends, they let you join into their chats.’ Polly

 ‘I enjoyed working with my partner because he was really kind and we made friends really quickly.’ Benjy P

‘I am most proud of learning how to use lino because it is a fun skill. I also learned to sew!’ Benji L

 ‘I enjoyed using the lino cutters because I have never used them before.’ Precious

‘It was very funny when my partner Michael got yellow paint on his nose.’ Leyla

 ‘It was really funny when I got orange paint all over my face!’ Martha

 

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Blog Post Collections Education Imagine Islington

Inspired by UV light therapy goggles: Ella Phillips and Robert Blair Primary School

Panel 3 -Goggles

In 2016 artist Ella Phillips worked with teacher Emily Evans and Year 1 at Robert Blair Primary School on the exhibition Imagine Islington. Ella supported Emily to design and deliver a 5 workshop programme for the classroom, inspired by Islington Musuem’s UV light therapy googles.

Ella also worked alongside the pupils in their classroom to create her own new artwork inspired by the goggles and the pupils.

Why we chose the goggles:

‘The U.V goggles and some intriguing photographs of U.V treatment therapy, first made me curious about this object. As I continued my research, I discovered the connections between this object and the Finsbury Health Centre. Not only a leader in free healthcare, this centre was also an architecturally innovative space designed by Berthold Lubetkin. I decided that I would like to explore two areas inspired by the object: how can we reimagine/ re-design our environment? And, what are the effects of light & colour on mood? Bringing together art and science, I wanted the project to embrace the idea of experimentation. This meant repeating activities to discover our favourite results. The class loved the freedom offered by experimentation and enjoyed creating stories about their favourite colors.

Ella

Our Artwork

The class experimented with a wide range of techniques including creating colour, printing with UV and experimenting with colour and emotion. The final installation piece is the outcome of these explorations.

Light Therapy 

Each student painted a light bulb in their desired colours which have been used to create a light installation, transforming the space into a living painting. 

Ella

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Blue Window 

Children mixed coloured light using gels, created their own paints with natural materials and used sunlight to create x-rays of objects from their classroom. I have collaged their x-ray ‘cyanotypes’ onto acetate, so that they can act as windows/ frames through which to view the exhibition.

By placing objects onto light sensitive paper, the spaces in between them turn blue. These x-rays have been collaged and printed onto acetate. These windows, printed with translucent blue traces are suspended at various points around the exhibition space. As you move between them, the room shifts between shades of blue.

Ella

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Categories
Blog Post Education Imagine Islington

Inspired by WWII embroidered postcards: Sarah Pimenta and Morelands Primary School

In 2016 artist Sarah Pimenta worked with teacher Louise Murtagh and Year 1 at Morelands Primary School on the exhibition Imagine Islington. Sarah supported Louise to design and deliver a 5 workshop programme for the classroom, inspired by the collection of embroidered postcards from the Second World War.

Sarah also worked alongside the pupils in their classroom to create her own new artwork inspired by the postcards and the pupils.

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Why we chose the embroidered postcards:

‘We chose the postcards to fit into a topic the class were already covering and also because of the story of Leonard & Margaret. We thought the idea that Margaret had kept the postcards from Leonard so safe for so many years was a lovely message about treasuring and valuing things given to us by people we love.

 The simple designs of the postcards depicting images from France and England was also an interesting point to start thinking about heritage and identity visually.

 We also thought the postcards would tie in with an upcoming topic our class would will be doing called ‘Hurrah for the holiday’s. We thought it would be interesting for the children to explore the idea of why people send postcards and who people choose to send those postcards to.’

Louise

 Our artwork:

Year 1 created an installation piece inspired by Leonard’s postcards. The installation combine screen prints and a sculptural mobile.

Hung on the wooden frame were wooden postcards printed with the pupils’ designs exploring their cultural identity. The images referenced those on the postcards sent by Leonard.

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Alongside the mobile were three screen printed artworks. Sarah worked with the pupils to create these screen prints from their drawings. Sarah cut out the pupils’ drawings to create stencils, which she then composed on the screen. The pupils screen printed these stencils onto a fabric background. Once dry, Sarah added a different colour wash, chosen by the pupils, to the three works. The final collaborative artwork expresses the vibrant cultural backgrounds of the class.

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Sarah worked alongside the pupils to create her own artwork inspired by the embroidered postcards. She explored her own cultural links to Goa and Kenya. She collected objects from both countries, including images, postcards, stamps, adverts and even shopping bags.

‘I decided to focus on print methods that I don’t normally use in my practise, I chose to do lino cutting as I thought it was a technique which was better suited to working within a classroom setting. It awakened a love for lino printing that I hadn’t felt for a long time ( I first did it over 20 years before as an art student). As part of my own work, I printed my blocks in a Print studio on a professional press & had the chance to experiment a bit and learn some new processes including chine-collee which inspired me in my classroom delivery .  I learnt that despite being a printer there is always something new to learn & the importance of experimenting.  I am definitely going to continue to learn more and develop even more techniques! I’ve a feeling that it’s the beginning of a new creative journey, I definitely intend to continue with my experiments.’

 

Sarah

Dad’s Flamingo

Sarah’s dad when living in Nairobi, was given a flamengo as a pet by one of his students. Sarah referenced this unusual pet in a lino and chine-collee print inspired by her cultural heritage. The pose of the flamengo is taken from her father’s photograph, while the background text is from a piece of newsprint collected from Kenya.

‘I loved the idea of exploring the concept of cherishing something that had been sent by a loved one far away.  The story of postcards being sent between countries by loved ones is a theme from my own migrant history, messages flying across the worlds from Kenya in Africa & Goa in India to England –  some probably during the same time frame as when Leonard was sending cards to Margaret. I’m  pleased to have finally made some work which explores my heritage.

By some serendipity at the beginning of this project two people dear to me travelled to Kenya & Goa.  I explained the project to them & they both agreed to send me stuff from their travels; postcards, bits of fabric, scraps of paper, money etc which I could use a impetus for my artwork.   I decided to make some simple lino prints using imagery and ideas from this collection of well travelled inspiration with a view to gifting a print back to Lucy & Ruth to complete the cycle of giving & receiving.’

Sarah

KENYA Ruth

 

Kenya Ruth uses chine-collee to incorporate the ephemeral brought back by Ruth from Kenya.

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Dahlia string

Dahlia string, feathers and coins from Kenya are relief printed on to fabric, the dye from the string merging with the ink.

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GOA Lucy

Mirroring the techniques used by the pupils and referencing the visual language of the WWI postcards, Sarah combine layers of lino prints and chine-collee.

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What we thought about the project:

‘It was a pleasure to see the pupils responses to the artwork they had created themselves and see their enjoyment in the printmaking process which was their first attempt at this type of arts activity.  They were also very receptive to my work & were full of questions!’

Sarah

‘I learned that it is possible to use a historical object and turn it into a really interesting art project. I liked the idea of making it personal for the children so they felt connected to their work and could see the importance of why Margaret kept the postcards safe. The children enjoyed talking about their family and what they know of the countries in which their family live.

It was important not to limit the children’s interpretation of what our idea was important too. The outcome was not what I had imagined but the results were personal and have a story to them and so I think they are real works of art as they have so much thought in them.

Through observing Sarah, the children were able to see a range of ways to design and print work and also to see how a professional artist works and the amount of time and skill that is required. They could see the importance of thinking and improving your work.’

Louise

Categories
Blog Post Collections Education Imagine Islington

Installations inspired by Joe Orton’s Book Covers: Ella Phillips and Vittoria Primary School

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In 2016 artist Ella Phillips worked with teacher Helen Roberts and Year 4 at Vittoria Primary School on the exhibition Imagine Islington. Ella supported Helen to design and deliver a 5 workshop programme for the classroom, inspired by the Joe Orton book covers held by Islington Museum.

Ella also worked alongside the pupils in their classroom to create her own new artwork inspired by the book covers and the pupils.

Why we chose the book covers:

‘As an artist, I often work digitally and found the materiality of the objects appealing.

I was interested in how different places invoke certain behaviours and how Orton & Halliwell chose to subvert this within the library space. I wanted to create a connection between their history and contemporary culture, through playing with the idea of ‘hacking as a method of cutting and technological subversion. What does changing an image or text with your own ideas, say about ownership and personal agency? Collage offered an effective way to explore this, with children of all abilities able to make impacting images quickly.

Ella

 Our artwork:

Pupils created an installation, Library: Hacked:

Each student created ‘hacked’ text, book jacket covers and concertina books. These were put together alongside their ‘spliced portraits’ to create a topsy-turvy library.

Bringing together all of these elements, the class created a library installation with our own ridiculous rules to help you understand how to behave! Look around and you might see our spliced portraits, but nothing is as it seems in the ‘Library: Hacked’.

Ella

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Ella created While Reading 

This installation was composed of a hand carved book, created from a hacked library text with a video nestled inside. From the book was a pair of headphones playing a video. Sense and nonsense, everybody is welcome!

Ella Phillips_While Reading, video installation, 2016

 

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Categories
Blog Post Education Learning Events

A Sense of Place

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In 2015/16 Islington Museum partnered with Morelands Children’s Centre on ‘A Sense of Place’, kindly funded by Islington Giving Supporting Families Programme and the Bunhill Councillors.

Over 5 day long workshops we worked with local families from the King’s Square Estate. Families joined us at Islington Museum for an interactive storytelling session with Dani Bradstreet. In the storytelling sessions we explored our local buildings, transport networks and parks. We pretended to drive the tube, ride historic horse buses, visit local buildings and play in the park with our local guide, Finsbury the fox. There was lots of masking tape, colourful scarves, ‘rain,’ and music involved.

Families then looked at historic images of the local area. They were fascinated to see how the King’s Estate has changed. While many of our older participants were able to share lovely stories about their memories of the local area. We used these images as inspiration for our own drawings.

The adults then used cutting tools to turn the archival images and our drawings into stencils. While the children got messy with play dough, giant drawings, watercolour experiments and printing.

Our project artist Sarah Pimenta worked with families to do mark making on pieces of fabric using tools as varied as leaves, bricks, stamps and hand prints- a particular favourite with the babies!

 

Sarah then screen printed the stencils on top of the fabric. She was guided by our very enthusiastic helpers!

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The resulting printed have been turned into a fabric book telling the story of our local area through art and written memories. To see the beautiful screen prints in this tactile artwork follow this link.

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Sarah also took the artworks and re-interpreted them as a digitally printed map of the local area. This beautiful art piece celebrates the creativity of our local families and the things that make our local area special to us. A copy of the map will hang in both Islington Museum and Morelands Children Centre for our family audiences to enjoy.

Moreland Map Design flattened final small design

The exhibition of the artwork was opened on the 5th July 2016 by our artists and the Mayor of Islington. The private view was a success with everyone:

‘This is the best party ever!’

‘What a fabulous event, so wonderful that so many families came to the museum to celebrate our great project!’

‘Really fun, it was lovely to see all the work together and lovely to see everyone again and share memories.’ 

‘When I told the children this morning, they said, ‘mommy, mommy, let’s go now!”

‘It’s been lovely to come and see all the work, the food was great and nice to meet the Mayor, great she got involved with the kids.’ 

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Learning Materials

UV Light Therapy Goggles: art and light

In 2016 artist Ella Phillips worked with teacher Emily Evans and Year 1 from Robert Blair Primary School on the exhibition Imagine Islington.

UV light therapy goggles

In the early 20th century rickets was a very common disorder among children, caused by a lack of vitamin D from food and sunlight. Their bones would become soft and weak, leading to bent legs and spines. UV light therapy was a new treatment used to help treat children at ground breaking local health centres, including  the Finsbury Health Centre and Manor Gardens, Islington. Patients, as well as their watchful parents, would wear these goggles during the treatment to protect their eyes as direct UV light can be very dangerous.

Activity 1: Building Detectives

  • images of buildings by Berthold Lubetkin: penguin pool, gorilla house, Spa Green Estate, High Point, Bevin Court, Finsbury Health Centre
  1. Split the class into teams named after colours.  Place images of the different places around the classroom (each image is mounted on a coloured back responding to the team colours and numbered). The torches must find their images and mime the type of building to their team. The team must guess what place they are miming. Once they guess the next person can go to find building number 2, etc.
  2. Once a team has guessed all their buildings correctly they are the winner.
  3. As a class discuss the architecture of Berthold Lubetkin. We will be focusing on the Finsbury Health Centre. Think about the different ways in which it was unique in Islington and London at this time.
  4. n.b. Islington Museum has lots of information about Finsbury Heath Centre and Lubetkin.

Activity 2: Colour experiments

  • different coloured acetate
  • emotion words on cards (happy, sad, worried, calm, angry, confused, excited, tired, creative, adventurous, lonely, silly, scared, annoyed)
  • torches
  • coloured gel
  • mirrors
  1. Discuss how different people see different colours. We used a picture for this and got pupils to discuss what colours they thought were in the picture.
  2.  Split the group into pairs, each with a torch and some coloured gels. Get pupils to shine their torch through the different coloured gels and discuss how it made them feel. Ensure they experiment with different colour combinations.
  3. Then challenge the pairs to work out how to make white light (combining red, green and blue.)
  4. Hand the pairs a mirror. Can they reflect light using mirrors? Can they then make their light walk across the wall?
  5. Bring everyone back together. Discuss their experiments.
  1. As a group then move on to look at the relationship between colour and emotion. Discuss, how do you feel when it’s dark? How do you feel when the lights are on?
  2. Back in their pairs, try looking through the coloured plastic. How do different colours make you feel? Get pairs to experiment and then feed back as a class.
  3. Look at the coloured acetate in larger groups. Stick them to a window. Around the acetate stick any relevant emotion words next to the colours. Remember there are no right or wrong answers, it is all about discussion and justifying your answers.
  4. Encourage the groups to layer two coloured acetate on top of each other on the window. Would you change the corresponding emotion words?

Activity 3: Colour and pigment

  • Blueberries, turmeric, paprika, blackberries, charcoal, chalk, oil
  • Paint brushes and pots
  • 3.D glasses x 30
  • Large sheets of watercolour paper
  • Powder paint
  1. Set up tables, each with some blueberries, turmeric, paprika, blackberries, charcoal, chalk and oil.
  2. Pupils choose an ingredient and place it in a pot. Add a little oil and mix to create home-made pigments. Encourage each table to make a set of colours to use.
  3. Paint test patches or squares of pigment onto the watercolour paper on your table.
  4. Pupils then use their favourite colours to paint their 3D glasses.
  5. Pupils finally use the powder paint. They can experiment, predicting what colours they will create when they mix the powder paint with their pigments. Pupils should note down their predictions on their paper and then test their predictions, painting swatches of colour on to the paper. Can they create colour scales? Colour contrasts?

Activity 4: Sunlight photography

  • sun-photo paper
  • tissue paper
  • plastic bags
  • cling film
  • plastic straws
  • cardboard with marked frame area
  • clear acrylic
  • 6 x trays with cold water
  • pegs
  • washing line
  1. Remind pupils about the U.V treatment. Can you remember what the light was used for? Pupils are going to create their own sunlight x-rays in pairs.
  2. Spilt the class into 6 group, and each group into pairs. Each pair cuts different shapes out of tissue paper and plastic bags. Each pair also needs to collect different flat objects from the classroom or playground.
  3. Each pair needs to practise arranging the objects on the cardboard within the framed area, tying out different patterns and layouts.
  4. Each group in turn goes to the playground and arranges their objects in their chosen layout on the sun-photo paper. They then place the clear acrylic on top of their arrangement.
  5. Wait 5 minutes. Then remove the objects and submerge the sun-photo paper in a tray of cold water for 1 min.
  6. Hang the sun-photo paper up to dry on the washing line.

Activity 5: Interview a colour

  • paper
  • colour pens
  • Lubetkin buildings b&w images
  • scissors
  • glue
  • paint brushes
  • coloured ink/ watered down paint
  1. Split the class into pairs. One person in the pair chooses a colour and imagines they are that colour.
  2. Pupils introduce themselves as their colour character to their partner. What do you like doing? Where are you normally found? Where do you never go? Who are your friends? How do you make them feel? What games do you like to play? What’s your favourite part of the day?
  3. Swap over and let the other person have a turn.
  4. Can your colour characters have a conversation?
  5. Pupils then draw a picture of their character and cut it out.
  6. Pupils then need to create a background for their character by cutting out and collaging the lubetkin b&w images on to a new sheet of paper. Once they are happy with their collage pupils can use paintbrushes to add some colour with the ink/ paint. Encourage pupils to only choose 1 or 2 colours maximum. Remind them they are not colouring in the images but adding a colour wash to them, as though they were looking at their picture through a colour filter.

Activity 6: Mono printing

  • acrylic paint
  • paint trays
  • clear acetate
  • paint brushes
  • mark making tools: wheels, sticks, sponges
  • stencils of foods
  • cling film
  • paper
  • print rollers
  1.  Thought cloud with pupils what we need for a healthy life (healthy food, sun, water, time outdoors etc.) Link to the issue in the early 20th Century where children were growing up with a vitamin D deficiency, which the health centres tried to remedy with the UV treatment.
  2. Collect the mark making tools, cling film  and stencils. Discuss how each relates to something we need for a healthy lifestyle.
  3.  Dip the mark making tools in paint and use to create marks on the clear acetate.
  4. Once pupils are happy with their design on the acetate they can place the sheet of paper on top of their acetate. Use a print roller to ensure the paper is pressed down, to create a clean print.
  5. Peel the paper off to reveal the print.

 

Activity 7: Painting with light

  • light bulbs
  • glass paint
  • play dough
  • clear & coloured acetate
  • P.V.A glue
  • brushes
  1. Pupils are reminded of the colour character they became.
  2. Pupils paint a lightbulb in that colour. Use the playdough to stick the bulb in to stop it moving around.
  3. We used our lightbulbs to create a light installation.
  4. Pupils that are finished can choose a large clear strip of acetate, and cut it in to a window shape.
  5. They can then cut smaller pieces of coloured acetate and lay them on to their window. Once they are happy with the design, pupils can use PVA glue to stick down their design.

Painting Light Bulbs4.jpg

 Activity 8: Light boxes

  • shoe box
  • black paint
  • sharp pencils
  • straws
  • glow sticks
  • sellotape
  • camera
  1. Pupils work either individually or in pairs to paint their shoe boxes black.
  2. Pupils then pierce their box, using the sharp pencils to create holes.
  3. They can then thread the straws and glow sticks through the boxes to create a light installation.
  4. Photograph the installations, experimenting with still shots and moving shots.

 

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Want to know more:

Click here to find out more about the artworks created by Robert Blair Primary School and Ella Phillips as part of the Imagine Islington Project.

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