Friday, 3 June 2011

Store Room Cupboard Cinema

Helena Tomlin is Head of Learning at Nottingham Contemporary

A couple of months ago during the Anne Collier and Jack Goldstein exhibition this spring, Phil Wise the Deputy Head at Larkfields Junior in Broxtowe rang me to talk about joining one of our Free Twilight Planning Sessions for Teachers. We run these on a regular basis for all teachers across all Key Stages. Our artist educators introduce resources and ideas that can be used to develop work in the gallery for ‘self-led’ sessions to give teachers confidence to run workshops themselves.

After a wide ranging chat and brainstorm over a cup of coffee here at the Gallery Phil decided he would send the whole school staff to work with us! The upshot of the meeting was a plan to develop their Arts Week in school in response to Nottingham Contemporary and the exhibitions on show at the time.

The results of this inspiring collaboration can be seen at

I went along to school to experience the Arts Week myself. After navigating my way to the correct motorway exit (I’m new to Nottingham still!) I was welcomed into the school and spent a happy hour watching the films they had made in a cinema created from clearing out a school store room...Phil had developed it into a wonderful pop-up screening space and I together with parents and families of the children involved took it in turns to enjoy a full viewing.

Although I’ve been working in arts education for over 20 years now, it has been a while since I have seen such a well thought out piece of work completed within a short time frame. What made the Arts Week so successful was Phil and his team’s ability to capture the excitement and evident fun all the children had in the making of the work. At Nottingham Contemporary we are keen to make visible the processes and practice of contemporary art making, and this project certainly delivered on this key theme.

The children and teachers had all taken on board the ideas generated by the two artists. These included thinking about repetition, suspense and a focus on one key element. To see more of Jack Goldstein and Anne Collier’s work at Nottingham Contemporary take a look at

I’m excited about what other schools in Nottingham will come up with after training with us and I’ll keep you all posted with further news!

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