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Smart Art: Aberdeen school pupils and University collaborate to create ‘word wall’ installation


Pupils from Aberdeen’s International School have recently teamed up with a Graduate-in-Residence from Robert Gordon University to create a sculpture installation as part of an annual ‘Art & Writing’ project. 

International School - Karen LawKaren Law, current Graduate-in-Residence based in the Sculpture Department at Gray’s School of Art, has collaborated with over 170 pupils aged 3-12 years to create the artwork, which was recently installed in the School Library.

Using books the children have been reading in class for inspiration, Karen has encouraged them to think specifically about creative typography i.e. how words and text can visually represent their meaning, with each pupil contributing a word or illustration to the piece.

The pupils came up with a list of words from brainstorming sessions during language time in class with their teachers. Karen assisted the pupils in transforming these words into different compositional styles and then onto 28 Perspex wall sheets.

Karen comments:

“My own sculptural practice is concerned with text and language, so this project was a great opportunity for me to work with young children to explore the idea of text as art.”

The talented artist, from Aberdeen, achieved a BA (Hons) in Sculpture from Gray’s last year, and also recently completed an internship with Aberdeen City Council Arts Development Team.

The Gray’s School of Art Graduate-in-Residence scheme, now in its fourth year, aims to provide recent graduates with a period of stability as they move from education into the art world. Graduates participate in studio critique, teaching and mentoring to advance their career as practicing artists, and also gain access to studio space, workshops, IT facilities and support.

Karen adds:

“The project for me as a recent graduate has been really rewarding and has given me the opportunity to gain experience of working with children and of producing a collaborative artwork.”

Nicolina Rhea, Art Teacher for Middle and High School, comments:

“The School holds an annual Art and Writing Fair which aims to highlight our pupils’ talents and expose them to the connection between various themes in language and art.

“This is the first time we have collaborated with Gray’s and we felt this project really suited the School as all ages of pupils could be involved. Younger pupils, whose writing skills are still developing, could help with illustrations, and older pupils could decide on the themes of the installation.

“Projects such as this provide a hands-on way for pupils to understand what they learn in the classroom and allowed them to work with a local artist. We really hope to continue the link with Gray’s in the future.”

The ‘Word Wall’ sculpture was unveiled at the School’s annual Art & Writing Fair at the end of April, where pupils acted as tour guides showing their parents around the installation.

Issued by:
Sarah Grieve
Communications Officer | Faculty of Design & Technology
Robert Gordon University
Schoolhill
Aberdeen
AB10 1FR
Tel: 01224 262206
Email: s.j.grieve@rgu.ac.uk.