PEA Smart, and the importance of art in the home school community.

February 5, 2019 § Leave a comment

Pea

“To be a teacher is my greatest work of art, the rest is a waste product, a demonstration”  -Joseph Beuys. 

 “Art alone makes life possible – this is how radically I should like to formulate it. Even the act of peeling a potato can be an artistic act if it is consciously done.” – Joseph Beuys

 

Over the last 2 years I have been running and organising a private tuition art tuition and community group called “PEA Smart”.

PEA Smart focuses on delivering photography, English and Art education to children primarily, but not exclusively, within the home education community. The project began with the idea of making these area’s of education accessible to all regardless of cost or educational background, so far the idea has been incredibly successful.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of PEA Smart, is that we have been given the opportunity to see how the arts can help those overcome issues with self confidence problems and  social anxieties, in a time where the arts are under attack from governing bodies, I feel that the strong evidence being shown within PEA Smart towards the trans-formative powers of the arts, build a strong case for a re evaluation of the funding available to the arts sector and, perhaps a stronger case that pedagogues should be looking at as a whole.

Work drying

Student work drying in one of our studio’s, 2019 

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Portrait by student Jack, created through Photoshop, 2019

Joseph Beuys, a greatly appreciated artist and proponent for arts education, once stated that “Without art, man is inconceivable on a physiological level” , and why would we disagree? when creative acts and the arts are so well known for their guaranteed ability to help develop self realisation and understanding. In 2018 it was reported that 9 out of 10 UK schools had cut funding to their Arts, music and drama departments. We are effectively watching creativity being squeezed from our schools, with Ofsted standing up and claiming that “Academic” qualifications are the most successful route to higher education…. that’s all well and good for academics though…

Death on Dovestones.jpeg

Poster from Student Cody, advertising her photography exhibition, 2018.

During my time within academia, it was never more apparent, that there are different types of thinkers in the world, than when i was at university studying my Masters, this is an institution where the area’s of study are literally divided and separated to different buildings and campuses etc. yes, collaboration between the area’s and subjects was some what encouraged, however there was no doubt in this area that people think, and learn differently, academics, and creatives! Ofsted’s statement in light of this, appears to me to be just lazy Utilitarianism.

Images exploring dementia and mental health, part of a community led project, Manchester art and crafts centre, Arron Hansford, 2017.

The arts has a long well known relationship with health and social issues, it is known for having no boundaries and, more importantly, no entry requirements or expectations, in fact art is something done completely on ones own terms, the world will always require free and independent thinkers, people able to develop and articulate their idea’s and people that can think outside the box, the destruction of creative led programmes in schools, is an attack on free thought and expression.

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Painting exercise completed with students of pea smart, 2019. 

people are not always able to express themselves through usual and familiar methods, such as conversation or the written word, so art itself has become an option that many can turn to, stress, anger, disappointment, depression, all can be filtered through individual expression, if we take away the creative options, then how can we teach younger people to express themselves in alternative yet healthy ways?

 

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