On 13 Dec 2016, 13 TBWA offices around the world, including New York, Johannesburg, Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore, simultaneously launched SIYEZA exhibition to raise funds for Room 13 South Africa, and boost the global profile of Room 13 International.
TBWA Worldwide President Emmanuel Andre explains why TBWA values the transformative power of ideas and creativity and backs Room 13 International as part of their mission to provide a creative outlet for under-privileged children in some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities.
“Talent and ability are evenly distributed across the human race, but opportunity is not. It’s our role and our future to detect, invest and promote the talent the world is providing.”
In October, a team of volunteers from across the TBWA collective participated in SIYEZA (meaning “we are coming” in isiZulu), a five-day photo-adventure across South Africa.
TBWA teams, led by Emmanuel Andre, visited five different Room 13 studios in the South African townships to teach photography skills to Room 13 students. In addition to his “day job,” Andre is an accomplished photographer whose portraits have been published and featured in galleries around the world.
The sessions aimed to unlock the talents of young people by giving them a rare opportunity to learn photography skills and explore their own creative intuitions.
The resulting exhibition includes photographs featuring the young people who participated in the SIYEZA project. Sales of prints and merchandise will raise funds to support the Room 13 studios in South Africa.
Inspired? Donate to Room 13 International to help us support the growth of creativity worldwide.
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.
Lochaber is a great place to live. There are many opportunities here that we can build upon if we think creatively. More than murals and backdrops, the arts can contribute significantly to the social and economic wellbeing of a place. Land use, food production, energy, play and education are some of the many topics that artists and creative groups are getting to grips with throughout Scotland and beyond.
After narrowly missing out on a Creative Places Award in 2015, there is real appetite for creative and enterprising activity in and around Fort William.
Thinking bigger than the Ben, what could be achieved here?
As part of Lochaber Ideas Week 2016, Room 13 will host ‘Creativity = Capital’ a panel discussion exploring the economic benefits of creativity in communities. This event, and accompanying exhibition, will aim to get discussion going about the positive economic and social impact of creativity on communities, and get people thinking ‘Bigger than the Ben’ about what could be achieved here.
Room 13’s lead artist Richard Bracken will be joined by invited guests, each with an interest in, and experience of, developing creative communities. The discussion will be chaired by local artist and creative co-ordinator, Ali Berardelli.
An accompanying exhibition ‘Thinking Bigger than the Ben…’ will be on show at The Moorings Hotel throughout Ideas Week from 14th – 17th November 2016.
“With examples from across Scotland and further afield, this event is intended to explore the function of artistic intervention in creating thriving and prosperous communities.
The point is not to replicate these actions in Fort William, but take the opportunity to consider the potential and develop something high quality that is unique to Lochaber. Ideas Week is a great platform for new projects and partnerships to emerge, and it will be exciting to see how these can be taken forward over the coming year.
Richard Bracken, Lead Artist, Room 13 International
Confirmed guests include:
Joss Allen, Project Manager, at Deveron Arts
Deveron Arts is a contemporary arts organisation based in Huntly, a market town in the north east of Scotland with a population of 4,500.
Deveron Arts has no building, instead the town is the venue; acting as studio, gallery and stage for artists of all disciplines invited from around the world.
Engaging with local people and the community through topics of both local and global concern, Deveron Arts uses found spaces throughout the town and its surrounding areas. Their approach brings together artistic and social relationships in a global network that extends throughout and beyond the geographic boundaries of Huntly.
Ian Peter MacDonald, Chair, An Ealdhain Arts Trust
An Ealdhain Arts Trust is a charitable Trust based in Fort William which aims to excite and inspire and bring world class art to the west Highlands.
Bright Productions is a performance based company in Lochaber. Bright Productions is run by Ilona Munro as a sole trader, working with a great team of associates, who have a range of creative skills both live and studio based.
Ilona and her team are excited by education, entertainment, radio and theatre productions. Much of their work responds to other organisations’ needs, and they delight in meaningful partnerships. Current partnerships include Abbeyfield Care Home, Mental Health work in schools and Creative PE Pilot Project with Highland Council. Bright Productions staged Fort William’s first ever outdoor panto and have been part of training through role play.
In 2017 the company will be premiering three new shows: Lament: The Massacre of Glencoe, The Recovery Version (Edinburgh Fringe) and Scrooge, and will also be touring an intergenerational show that was part of the Luminate Festival: Wan Fur The Weans.
Lochaber High School students Maddie Lennon, William Landsborough and Jennifer McKenna worked with Room 13 Artist in Residence Audrey O Brien to present Synaesthesia, an interactive art workshop using new digital media to explore Synaesthesia, a condition that can make you see sounds as colours.
Taking over a corridor on the second floor of Lochaber High School, the artists splashed colour into the minds of a lunchtime audience. The school is newly refurbished and it is forbidden to hang anything onto the walls. Artist Audrey has been encouraging the group to take ownership of the white spaces and propose changes through visual art ideas and events. This temporal event was the outcome of the Ideas group which developed through a series of quick lunchtime conversations, building tours and ideas sharing.
The idea came from one of the artist’s experience of synaesthesia. The artists used technology new to the school – a creative electronic tool with touch sensors to present this invention to their audience. Four musical tracks were selected from Maddie’s personal collection and uploaded to a touch board. People touched the interactive surface to set off an audio sensor. MP3 files were played and the audience was to select a colour to represent what they “saw” when listing to the four musical tracks.
Pupils and teachers found common ground in thinking and discussing colour and sound perception, and the following comments were made in response to the piece:
Interesting project – I could “see” shape easier for violin but colour for the others.
Very interesting, I loved the idea of this.
I seemed to relate a colour to trumpets and violins which coincided with someone else’s’ choice → weird!
I was most confident of the drums – pink and red and pulsing. The violin was pretty intensely purple too. Very cool, thought provoking project!
Very interesting and fun. Have been using colour as a relaxation tool, related to memory and the colour → related to a shape and sound.
Interesting, weird, but very easy to see colours – so cool!
This is a great idea! it really made me think about the sounds.
Love the idea of this and its a great way to try and understand how some people see, hear, touch and smell the world.
Its really strange but it shows how certain colours mean different things to people.
Artists: Maddie Lennon, William Landsborough and Jennifer McKenna
Photography & Film: Jennifer McKenna, Zuzia Kruk, Audrey O’Brien
Technology: Bare Conductive Touch Board
Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards
Wynton Marsalis – I Can’t Get Started
Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade- IV. Festival at Baghdad – The Sea – The Ship Breaks [Part 4-4]
Spirited Away OST One Summers Day
Audrey O Brien was appointed by Room 13 International in 2015/16 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.
When sound triggers the visualization of colored, generic shapes, sound-to-color synesthesia is at play. For certain people, the stimuli are limited, and only a few types of sounds will trigger a perception. However, there are cases wherein many different sounds trigger color visualizations. Usually, the perceived colors appear in generic shapes – squares, circles, etc. http://www.synesthesiatest.org/types-of-synesthesia
Synaesthesia is a condition where a sensation in one of the senses, such as hearing, triggers a sensation in another, such as taste. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/synaesthesia/Pages/Introduction.aspx
The five most common forms are:
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
Room 13 International was thrilled to be represented at this event organised by Freelands Foundation and hosted by Tate Modern on Saturday 9th April 2016. Bringing together an eclectic mix of artists, teachers, curators, writers and organisations, the day provided an opportunity to foster unexpected connections and explore ideas about art, education, play and society. Featuring films, talks and a marketplace bursting with ideas and inspiration from a host of organisations who advocate, create and facilitate arts activity and development across the UK.
The 2004 documentary film about Room 13, ‘What Age Can You Start Being an Artist?’ was screened, and found itself in great company, as part of a programme of screenings throughout the day which included ‘Fully Awake’ a documentary about Black Mountain College* and ‘DADA’, Greta Deses’s unique 1969 film about the history and significance of Dadaism.
Mike Fairclough, Head Teacher of West Rise Junior School, took the stage in the main auditorium. His school is not only home to Room 13 West Rise but also a protected marshland complete with bronze age settlement and a herd of water buffalo. For the children at West Rise Junior School, everyday activities include forest school, bronze smelting, caring for the buffalo, sheep and a million bees, construction and maintenance of their very own roundhouse, archery and firearms training. Mike gave an inspirational presentation, explaining how his approach, which involves taking advantage of every possible opportunity to create the most interesting and exciting learning environment in and around his school, has lead to endorsement from OFSTED, Times Educational Supplement and the Health and Safety inspectorate.
The day concluded in conversation with Michael Craig Martin and Mark Wallinger, two speakers with years of experience as artists and educators. They talked of their experiences as professor and student during what could be considered a golden age of art college education. Their discussion included the observation that the most important difference in the study of art is its difference. There is no subject to be studied as such. There is no such thing as a general work of art. It requires an individual to jump in at the deep end on the first day, and grapple with the substance of their ideas and expression on the same terms as their professor, resulting in a specific, very substantial education. So the answer to the question ‘What age can you start being an artist?’ might be – whatever age you take that leap.
* Hidden in the mountains of Western North Carolina, Black Mountain College (1933 – 1957) was an influential experiment in education that inspired and shaped twentieth century American art. Fully Awake: Black Mountain College is a documentary film that explores the college’s progressive pedagogy and radical approach to arts education.
** As Bosnia descended into the depths of war, a group of artists and curators formed Ars Aevi Project as an expression of collective international will. Resisting the destruction of life and culture the group staged a series of contemporary art installations across Europe that focused on bringing the artists together to create and cultivate the heritage of the present day. This resulted in an extensive new collection of contemporary artworks being created and donated by the artists involved. Ars Aevi Project is now engaged in building a new Museum of Contemporary Art in Sarajevo, which will host the collection.
Post Author: Claire Gibb
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.
Join artist Richard Bracken in generating 3000 ideas for Lochaber Ideas Week 2015.
Everyone is welcome to take part. Ideas can be about anything and may be practical, social, community, creative, environmental or even purely fantastical!
Workshops will take place in the Window at Unit 1 Glenloy Street, Caol:
Wednesday 28th October 6.30 – 8pm
Friday 30th October 6.30 – 8pm
Monday 2nd November 6.30 – 8pm
Wednesday 4th November 6.30 – 8pm
Monday 9th November 6.30 – 8pm
Wednesday 11th November 6.30 – 8pm
Each workshop will include a 15 – 20 minute talk, followed by an interactive process of generating ideas.
Participation is free but spaces are limited so please click here to book your place.
The result – a visual mass of ideas, transforming and diverging to form new lines of thought – will be displayed at the launch of Ideas Week 2015 in the Ben Nevis Distillery, Fort William and then throughout Ideas Week 16 – 21 November 2015.