Greetings from Korea 8th December 2017/ Helen Eragona Jupiter Artland’s Head of Learning, Kate Latham, and our Outreach Co-ordinator, Catherine O’Brien are in South Korea. Back in October, they were invited by the Korean government to speak to Korean arts educators about what we do as part of our learning programme, and host some workshops based on our teaching methods. Kate has sent us some updates from on the road.
 
Wednesday 6th December
I’d give my Right Arm…

Arriving at 4pm yesterday Korean time, there was just enough daylight left to give us spectacular views of the mountains, river and sparkly silver sky scrapers which greet you on arrival in Seoul. In sharp contrast to the chilly weather was the warm welcome which awaited from our Korean hosts and the decidedly hot authentic broth which was dinner.
Today’s workshop, we learnt in our early morning briefing, was gratifyingly popular. With four applicants to each available place it was fully booked within two hours of going live. No pressure!

A group of Korean educators (artists, teachers, researchers, artist practitioners and even one architect) gathered at KACES HQ to hear Jupiter’s take on ‘Littlesparks and the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence’. Their varied interests in our work included young people’s self-expression, using natural materials, the concept of children as innately capable learners, co-production and play. They cited developing their professional practice and understanding how dedicated arts learning spaces can best be utilised amongst the reasons for signing up.

Our presentation was well received, despite the need for many translation breaks. It was followed by a lively Q&A in which parallels were drawn, and differences highlighted, between the Scottish and Korean systems. Our discussion touched on the full range of Jupiter’s learning programme and there was much interest in our work with the elderly and those with additional support needs as well as our schools and early years programmes.

It emerged that creativity and its role in the modern world of work is a key topic of interest in Korea too. Lively discussion ensued around the dilemma of testing and measuring success, when the end goal is to provide child-led exploratory experiences. Both countries, it seems, have a way to go to crack the attainment nut.

A morning of talking was followed by a welcome afternoon’s making in a workshop called ‘Right Arm’ based on Gormley’s ‘Firmament’. A brief introduction to the work (with lots of A3 images) was followed by a life drawing exercise. Teams were challenged to draw a volunteer posed as though ‘falling from the heavens’ in a series of short poses. They were then tasked with collaboratively turning their preferred image into a 3D sculpture using matchsticks and blu-tac.

The teams discussed what they had been surprised by (fun), what took a long time (agreeing how to collaborate), and how they had worked together (loads of ways)! The final comments of one participant sum up the day’s learning perfectly.

 “I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the chance to be like a child. I was impressed by what you said about making opportunities for children to take risk and as artists, educators we don’t get those opportunities often either. All stakeholders should be encouraged to do it; children, teachers, government organisations, it is the only way to learn!”
 
Thursday 7th December
Let me know what life is like on Jupiter
Pastures new today as we journeyed through the mountains to PyeongChang to present a series of workshops to pupils at Junbu primary school.

Twenty 7-8 year olds joined us for each workshop and kept us firmly on our toes as we explored Antony Gormley’s ‘Firmament’ in  our ‘The Man Who Fell from the Stars’ workshop.  First up was a short description of Jupiter Artland, and our thrilling tale of the man who fell from the stars to Jupiter Artland, especially so he could have an adventure. With the help of our trusty translator Jenny, we invited the children to imagine our mysterious man roaming the Artland. Would he climb a tree, hide in the crystal cave or journey to the top of the highest hill? What would it be like to live amongst the stars? How would it feel to fall so very far to land on the earth?
As we handed out paper and crayons we told the children that we would be making our very own ‘star man’. Their first task was a drawing challenge; two minutes to sketch Kate posing as the star man. The children thought this would be hard! Next up, the teams had to nominate one child from each table to strike a second pose. We saw all sorts of shapes throughout the morning including a memorable ‘dab’ and some impressive dance moves. This time there was only one minute to complete the sketch. Even harder!
Working in groups of four or five, the children were asked to create a 3D version of one of the sketches using match sticks and clay balls to simulate the steel rods and balls of the original sculpture. Sturdiness was a challenge and some of the children needed lots of exploration time with the materials before they felt confident tackling 3D. However, everyone contributed to the work and the overall finished pieces were very impressive.

At the close of each hour session (three in all!) we discussed with the children what had been surprising or hard about their experience. Some of our favourite comments are below.

"i used my imagination to think about the man in the story’'
"At first it was hard (to make the sculpture) but I practised and then I could do it"
"I was surprised you could make a man just with sticks"
"The story of the man falling from the stars was surprising"
"I’ve done stuff like this with my dad so it wasn’t surprising"
"We had FUN" (said everybody).