We are thrilled to have received an award from Big Lottery Young Start Fund in support of our new ‘Generation Creative’ project.
The aim of ‘Generation Creative’ is to extend the benefits of participation in Room 13, and deliver our cornerstones of creativity, enterprise, arts and philosophy to greater numbers of young people in the Lochaber area, many of whom haven’t been able to access Room 13 previously.
The £49,490.00 award from Big Lottery will ensure the fantastic new Room 13 studio facilities in Caol Joint Campus are used for the wider benefit of the community, with a key focus on developing young people’s creativity throughout the region. This project will enable our lead artist Richard Bracken to work with children and other contributing artists to develop a programme of delivery for primary and high school students, starting January 2017 and continuing throughout the academic year 2017/2018.
In the course of this project, Room 13 will work with 10 primary schools in the Lochaber area to provide opportunities for children to work alongside professional artists and develop creative projects based on their own ideas and initiative. We will also develop and extend our youth volunteer group (aged 13-21) to involve students from the four local High Schools enabling them to develop their own ideas and projects, gain experience and build an understanding of the economic prospects of a career in the creative industries.
Room 13’s Generation Creative project aims to meet two Young Start outcomes:
Confident – children and young people have more confidence and skills.
Enterprising – Young people are better prepared for getting a job or starting a business.
‘The support from Big Lottery is a really valuable investment in Lochaber’s Room 13 studios. It will allow us develop key aspects of our work with schools and young people at a time when there is more demand than ever for the sort of services our artists and studios can deliver, with less and less provision to support this work. We are looking forward to getting ‘Generation Creative’ underway!‘
Claire Gibb, Chief Executive, Room 13 International
Room 13 International would like to pay tribute to Frances Gough, teacher and exceptional human being, who died on 31 December 2013 after a short illness.
Frances was Principle Teacher of Additional Support Needs at Castle Douglas Primary, prior to that she worked at Caol Primary School where, among other things, she became an active and enthusiastic advocate of Room 13.
She continues to be remembered with fondness by her colleagues and the many, many young people whose lives were touched by her fun and caring spirit.
‘In my working years, I have never met a teacher who had such a deep and caring understanding of the needs of our pupils as Frances. It was a privilege to work with her and to be inspired by her tenacity, care and intelligence’
Mrs McGrachen, Speech and Language Therapist
Putting people at ease, enabling communication and allowing the expression of individuality to flow naturally was one of her great strengths and nowhere was this more valuable than in her work with Room 13.
Frances was part of the team that travelled to South Africa in April 2005, to help set up the first Room 13 studios in the region. She was not phased by the challenge of communicating across cultural boundaries and languages. How to you break the ice with 600 well drilled, exquisitely behaved, polite, respectful and immaculately presented South African school children? Easy, with an impromptu Scottish country dancing lesion! In no time Frances had commandeered the school sound system to blast out some traditional tunes, and had the students up out of their seats and lined up in the school yard performing Strip the Willow!
This is just one example of the fun and spirited way that Frances worked her magic! In her 48 years, Frances played an important part in lives of many individuals and also contributed significantly to Room 13. We pay tribute to her on this anniversary of her death, and offer heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends who love and miss her.
Poi Documentary film 2m45s Poi Artists’ Statement by Audrey O Brien – Download
A homage to John Cage prepared piano* by Lochaber High School S3 Music class; applying new and experimental ideas and methods to music, art and technology. The film showcases the pupils’ pictures and film, sound from field and voice recordings; sculptural objects, drawings and interactive artwork*.
Room 13 Artist in Residence Audrey O’Brien worked with the class to explore new and experimental ideas and methods to music, art and technology using new electronic touch board tool, which allows any surface to connect to the digital world by conductive material or electronic paint.
Over four class periods in May/June 2016 Audrey worked with music teacher, Mr Young and 17 young people to learn and use and create their own ‘instruments’.
Mr Young had previously taught the class about one of the major figures in the modernist movement in music, John Cage. The class studied Prepared Piano – in which Cage placed objects on piano strings to alter the sound when played. To reintroduce this method, Mr Young suggested the pupils experimented with objects on the school piano strings.
The project started by collecting the objects pupils had in their school bags that were conductive, adding these to a collection of conductive objects on a table in the middle of the room. The most notable object to emerge from a school bag was a ruby shoe! The metal studs recorded on the piano generated unusual sounds.
A series of field recordings were then made by pupils from their own environment.
Sculptural objects were made by cutting and bending aluminium wire rods. These small sculptures would form the main body of their ‘instruments’ and the surface to connect to the digital recorded sounds via the Touch Board.
The project culminated in a performance with pupils acting as both audience and participants as their handmade ‘instruments’ were played alongside an improvised musical score.
Pupils photographed and filmed the entire process, which is shown here in this short documentary film.
In the Poi Artists’ Statement written to accompany the film, Audrey O Brien explains:
‘The title Poi comes from a tradition of performance art using voice, music, objects and dance (originating from New Zealand). It also means object manipulation. I have used the word Poi as a symbol of young people shaping and constructing their own learning. I like to use materials easily changeable. In this project, aluminium wire rods were shaped to make objects in the instrument construction. I wanted to find a word that supported the idea of young people having more control of their learning experience.’
Audrey O Brien was appointed by Room 13 International to work with pupils and staff to develop and deliver a series of cross curricular projects and creative engagements at Lochaber High School. Audrey’s role, and the many projects she effected during her residency with Room 13, was made possible with project funding from Highland Youth Arts Hub and supported by Creative Scotland’s Time to Shine initiative.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first ever dada event, Room 13 invited members of the public to stretch their imaginations in a dada and surrealist manner at a recent event in the new Room 13 Community Studio at Caol.
Marking 100 years since the first ever dada event, on June 23rd 1916, Room 13’s dada day event was a playful introduction to Dada or Dadaism, an artistic movement that spread across Europe during and after the First World War (1914 – 1918). Short lived but prolific, the movement was a response to war and to what the artists saw as unprecedented horror and human folly. The works they produced were an active engagement of politics and culture.
This event was the inspiration of Audrey O’ Brien, and marked the end of her time as a visiting Artist in Residence at Lochaber High School. Audrey has been in post since October 2015, working with pupils and staff to develop and deliver a series of cross curricular projects and creative engagements.
Audrey likened her experience of Room 13 to this movement and wanted to host a celebration of its 100th anniversary because:
“Dada art derided the idea that the artist was deserving of special status. The artist was a fallible mortal like everybody else, conversely, everyone else was capable of the same creative freedom as the artist.”
Dada & Surrealism, Robert Short
Room 13’s Dada Day was attended by Art, Music and History classes from Lochaber High School, and curious members of the public.
The event featured film screenings, sound installations, and visual displays representing the spirit and history of dadaism. Participants were encouraged to try out a variety of art techniques popular with the dada artists: Poem recipes, photomontage, experimental film-making and not forgetting to pay a visit to the Toilet Gallery!
Audrey followed up with a final visit to Lochaber High School on Wednesday 29th June to pose questions to pupils and reflect on their experience of Dada Day. She found that the teenagers have a lot to say in relation to recent events and political upheaval. Audrey explains:
“I am interested in the artistic movement Dada or Dadaism to provoke young people to think about the ideas behind this movement and provoke conversations on what current issues are important to them. It happened that my visit fell in the wake of the referendum. In their responses to questions such as ‘What issues are important to you and why?’ the pupils showed an acute awareness of recent events and concerns for their future.”
Audrey’s role, and the many projects she has effected during her time with Room 13, was made possible through project funding made available to Room 13 a partner in Highland Youth Arts Hub and supported by Creative Scotland’s Time to Shine initiative.
As well as supporting an artist to work with Lochaber High School and Room 13 Community Studio, this 2 year project has enabled Room 13 to deliver a range of different activities across Lochaber, involving over 300 young people aged 5-25. Room 13’s programme for Highland Youth Arts Hub has included workshops for Very Young Artists, mentoring and development of a youth volunteer group at Room 13 Community Studio and a series of workshops aimed at helping schools and remote communities to Grow Your Own Room 13.
The principles of Dadaism centred on deliberate irrationality, anarchy and cynicism, and the rejection of the laws of beauty and social organisation.
Artists, musicians, writers and intellectuals discussed their love of the irrational and the nonsensical in terms of a rejection of the political and cultural values which they argued had created the war in the first place. The movement was based on the principles of deliberate nonsense and ‘childish’ responses; th
Young artists from three Lochaber schools have been making use of Outlandia, the treehouse and artists’ field station in Glen Nevis, as part of a programme of workshops for very young artists being run by Room 13 with support from the Highland Youth Arts Hub. In May 2016, three school groups were invited to Outlandia to participate in a series of projects with local artists Ali Berardelli and Jen Deschenes.
Spean Bridge Primary School P6/7 class worked with the artists to illustrate an ancient Gaelic poem, Allt an t-Siùcair (The Sugar Burn) by Alasdair mac Mhaighstir Alasdair which explores the landscape around a burn in west Lochaber and used screen printing to create final images that have been on display in Outlandia. A sound work accompanied the images. The group travelled to Glen Nevis and walked to Outlandia to view their artwork and also to participate in a drawing and printing activity making mini sketchbooks from Outlandia. The groups were accompanied by Ruari Watt, Forestry Commission’s Communites, Recreation and Tourism Ranger who provided activities and information for all the pupils leading the pupils on adventures through the forest.
A group from the Learning Support Base at Lochaber High School worked with music therapist and teacher Clare Reynolds when they spent time at Outlandia. The group also worked with Ali Austin, the Nevis Property Manager with the John Muir Trust making journey sticks, a method of interpreting and illustrating the journey to Outlandia.
Lundavra Primary 6/7 class visited the West Highland Museum as part of the Outlandia project to view the [wish] [miann] exhibition by Ali Berardelli and Jen Deschenes currently on show until later in the summer. The group then walked from Lundavra School across the Cow Hill to Outlandia where they participated in a drawing workshop and forest craft with Ruari Watt from Forestry Commission Scotland.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for young people to explore Glen Nevis and Outlandia; the pupils tried out different drawing techniques and were encouraged to look closely at the environment and make images that related to this. Taking groups to Outandia has been a real adventure, travelling on the different routes there and everyone enjoyed the experience. Working with a variety of people, artists, rangers, teachers has been very successful and we hope to be able to expand on this project in future years.We are thankful to Room 13 International who have afforded this opportunity.”
Ali Berardelli, lead artist ‘Very Young Artists at Outlandia’ project
This project has been a great example of partnership working within the Lochaber community, from schools, Nevis Landscape Partnership, Forestry Commission Scotland, John Muir Trust, Room 13 International, the Highland Youth Arts Hub, and individual artists. The outcomes from the project and images will be available on the Outlandia blog and website.
Post Author: Ali Berardelli
Ali Berardelli is a visual artist and project manager who lives locally in Fort William. Having been brought up in Lochaber, graduating from Glasgow School of Art in Illustration, and working within the Highland Council in arts development, Ali has been very involved in local community development work and has a strong interest in the visual arts. Ali has a young family and has worked with schools and community groups throughout the area helping to foster creativity in our community.
Jen Deschenes is a textile based artist and designer who comes from the island of Whalsay, off the Shetland mainland. A strong interest in history has led her to design intricate embroidery work and explore printed mediums. Jen has made her home in Spean Bridge and has two children. She has exhibited her artwork widely to international acclaim.
Clare Reynolds is a cellist, music therapist, and support for learning teacher who works with over 100 children from age 6 months to 18 years on a weekly basis in Fort William. She was raised in Lochaber and returned to the area with her family and has since provided extensive musical knowledge and developed unique opportunities for people to engage with music across the community.
Outlandia is an off-grid, treehouse studio imagined by artists London Fieldworks and designed by Edinburgh based Malcolm Fraser Architects. Inspired by childhood dens, wildlife hides and bothies, by forest outlaws and Japanese poetry platforms, it is located in a copse of Norwegian Spruce and Larch in Glen Nevis on Forestry Commission land at the foot of Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands, approximately three miles from the town of Fort William. Outlandia is an artist-led project built as a multi-purpose platform for the use of diverse community groups as well as selected artists and is in line with The Scottish Forestry Strategy that aims to create opportunities for more people to enjoy trees, woods and forests in Scotland, and to help communities benefit from woods and forests.
Other participating organisations:
Forestry Commission Scotland http://www.forestry.gov.uk
John Muir Trust https://www.johnmuirtrust.org
Highland Youth Arts Hub http://hyah.co.uk
Congratulations to 17 year old Emma Cameron from Strontian, winner of The Rotary Club of Lochaber’s Young Artist of the Year Award, 2016.
Emma attends Ardnamurchan High School, and has been a regular at Room 13 since the age of 8! She was delighted by her win and said: “Thank you to the Lochaber Rotary Club and Room 13, I’m glad that my art was received so well as I’ve put a lot of work into it over the past year.”
Emma won £100 voucher for ArtMedia store in Inverness. Runner up this year was 8 year old Matilda Van de Peer, also from Strontian, who won a £50 voucher.
A further 3 young artists had their work Highly Commended. They were: Bethan White, from Ardnamurchan High Shool, Joanna Wood and Francesca Marie Rose from Lochaber High School.
The prizes were awarded at a presentation and reception for the entrants and their parents hosted by Room 13 Community Studio on 25 May 2016.
The selection panel were delighted by the quality of the entries this year. Portfolios were submitted from across Lochaber and the award winners were chosen by Lorna Finlayson from Art Lochaber, local artist Ali Berardelli, and Margaret Boyd, representing the Rotary Club of Lochaber.
Both Emma and Matilda’s work will be on display at the Art Lochaber exhibition taking place at the Ben Nevis distillery between 20th May and 1st June. The exhibition showcases local artists working in oils, acrylics, watercolours, pastels, batik, wood turning, and papier-mache sculpture.
Room 13 International have have been running the award on behalf of the Rotary Club of Lochaber for three years. The Rotary Young Artist of the Year Award is open to young artists aged between 7 and 17 living and working in Lochaber. The winners are selected for demonstrating originality, development and enthusiasm as artists.
Young artists across Lochaber are encouraged to start thinking and preparing for next year’s award straight away!
The aim of this award is to encourage and reward the wealth of visual arts talent present among young people in Lochaber.
The award is open to young artists aged 7 – 17. There are no separate age categories. The Young Artist of the Year will be selected by a panel of judges viewing a small portfolio of work from each entrant. One overall winner will be named Young Artist of the Year,plus 2 runners-up and up to 4 Highly-Commended entrants.
The selection panel will be looking for evidence of a commitment to making artwork and evidence of the young artist’s originality, development and enthusiasm as an artist, regardless of their age or level of skill.
Awards will be made on the basis of overall achievement. Portfolios can contain visual work in any media, and may include photographs, films, sketchbooks and sculpture in addition to drawings, prints and paintings in traditional 2D medium.
‘Grow Your Own Room 13’ is an interactive workshop designed to help you understand what Room 13 is all about and how it works in practice.
Artists involved in the original Room 13 studio in Fort William will share the story of this remarkable initiative and help you explore how you can put Room 13 into action in your own school or community.
We are thrilled to be offering this new series of events to support and develop the Room 13 network. The first of the ‘Grow Your Own Room 13’ will be held at The Window, Room 13 International’s new organisation base in Caol. Look out for dates and locations of future events across Highland.
Wednesday 16th March 11.00am – 3.00pm
Caol, Fort William
This workshop is offered free with support from Highland Youth Arts Hub.
Places are limited and will be booked on a first come, first serve basis.
Book your place by contacting:
Interested in hosting a Grow Your Own Room 13 workshop in your community? Please get in touch.
A visual mass of ideas, transforming and diverging to form new lines of thought…
Following 3000 Ideas our mass exercise in creativity, an installation is on display as part of Lochaber Ideas Week 2015 in the Ben Nevis Distillery, Fort William. Open 10am – 5pm throughout Ideas Week 16 – 21 November 2015. Supported by Lochaber Ideas Week and Lochaber Chamber of Commerce.
Inspired by the work of Richard Long, a group of Room 13 children, young people and adult artists have been exploring this beautiful but under-used green area on the edge of south Bristol. Through clambering, climbing and walking, talking to people, looking at books and listening to stories and memories, their aim was to re-discover new meaning in a landscape that nobody has named, and to encourage new ways of seeing and using the Slopes for all.
This exhibition documents their collective journey of discovery so far. Poetic yet functional maps will be printed for public use in December.
This project is part of Bristol Green Capital 2015 Neighbourhood Arts Programme. #NAP2015