Teachers' Studio

A collaboration with V&A Learning

In collaboration with V&A Learning we devised a summer school that gave teachers unique access to the museum, and offered opportunities for educators and practitioners to work collaboratively to share ideas and experience. We invited graduates Matt Raw (Ceramics & Glass), Bethan Durie (Visual Communication) and Rory Waudby-Tolley and Zoe Payne (Animation) to lead studio-based workshops at the V&A. Each practitioner drew connections between their work and the museum collection or context. The project also included behind-the-scenes visits to the museum’s archives and studios.

Day 1: Introductory activity and workshop with Matt Raw

We began in the Plaster Courts of the museum. The group explored three key themes that are often present in creative practice - process, collaboration and risk -  and considered the challenges and benefits of addressing these themes in the classroom. Taking the Plaster Courts as a starting point alongside these themes, the participants worked in small groups to develop a short practical workshop to deliver to the rest of the group as a way of testing out ideas and generating new ways to respond to a collection. Following on from this, Matt led a session in the studio alongside the museum’s huge ceramics collection. He selected prints from the museum’s collection, with a particular focus on typography.

 Day 2: Print archives and mono-printing with Bethan Durie

The second day began with members of the learning team at the museum outlining some of the online resources available for teachers. This led to a productive discussion about the challenges teachers are currently facing, and how museums and other institutions might best support them and their students. Leading on from this, the group worked with printmaker Bethan Durie. The group drew from a range of prints and drawings from the V&A collection paying particular attention to line and pattern. They also spent time in the Japanese galleries, collecting a range of forms, textures and compositions. After lunch, the group experimented with mono-printing techniques using their drawings and notes as a starting point. As the experiments dried, they were cut up and collaged into new pieces that reflected their experience of the Japanese gallery.

Day 3: Artist-in-residence visit and animation workshop with Rory Waudby-Tolley and Zoe Payne

The last day of the project began with a behind-the-scenes visit to the studio of V&A artist in residence Jamie Jenkinson. Then the group worked with animators, Rory and Zoe, to create playful pieces inspired by the Ceramics galleries. The session focused on how animation can be used to project and imagine the ‘in-between’. Rory and Zoe were keen to explore and subvert what can and can’t be seen in a museum in the present day.

Through a series of drawing activities, the group singled out details, imagined spaces and bodies to interact with the ceramics, and wondered how those objects might move. Large drawings became animated with ‘traces’ of movement as lines were drawn, rubbed away, and redrawn. Sequential drawings investigated objects from multiple viewpoints. Some brave participants even enacted an object’s movement with their own bodies, whilst the others drew them. In the afternoon the group used these drawings to make short animated pieces. Rory and Zoe set up three workstations so that the teachers could experiment with different ways to animate easily in the classroom: giving static objects life with a praxinoscope, filming cut out shapes and replacement techniques, and using a simple stop-motion app on ipads.