A magi­cian calls

Anoth­er old sketch­book page I scanned in. This one is from a couple of years ago. I was teach­ing on a resid­en­tial course for teen­agers. It was in an old nunnery in the middle of nowhere, so the staff organ­ised a lot of even­ing activ­it­ies and film show­ings to keep them amused. One night a magi­cian came to do a show, and I made these notes.

School anim­a­tion project

For the past few months, I’ve been work­ing with a group of students and an English teach­er at a school in North London to create a small anim­ated film. The students were set the chal­lenge of coming up with a story that reflec­ted some­thing about the school and the students with­in it. The school is very diverse, and they created a story about a girl who comes to London as a refugee, and is miser­able at school because she doesn’t know any English yet, and can’t under­stand anything or anybody. However, she soon starts to learn the language, and becomes far happi­er once she can under­stand and make friends. The anim­a­tion delib­er­ately has no music or sound effects other than the voice-over, because the music teach­ers are plan­ning to use it as a compos­i­tion project in class.

Tea Party

This is some­thing I had to make in a short peri­od of time at work recently. Invit­a­tion cards for an after school event for kids who volun­teered for a specif­ic thing earli­er in the term. It was nice to have some­thing I could actu­ally draw. Last week I was sort­ing out endless posters of geometry equa­tions. There’s not a great deal you can do with those in terms of illus­tra­tion . . 

The wonder of card­board: making anim­a­tion with school chil­dren

Since just before Christ­mas, I have been doing a weekly anim­a­tion work­shop with kids at a school in North London, work­ing with one of the English teach­ers. The brief was to create a short film which told a story that repres­en­ted the school and the exper­i­ences of the students in some way. The students range from 12-18, with the young­er ones being the art assist­ants, and the sixth-formers being the produ­cers. They came up with a story them­selves about a refugee girl from an unnamed coun­try who flees from a war to London, but is then unhappy at the school because she doesn’t speak English (quite a common real story at this partic­u­lar school). Gradu­ally however she starts to learn and under­stand, and feel happi­er and make friends. In the initial sessions, some of the inspir­a­tion clips I showed them included Persepol­is, The Science of Sleep, and my own Erika Pal’s the House.

Aban­doned school science lab

I was doing some resid­en­tial teach­ing for the last 2 weeks. A group of year 9s from Chile came on a school trip, and I gave them lessons about English and Brit­ish History/​Culture and took them to vari­ous histor­ic­al places like Cambridge and Canter­bury. I was work­ing in the middle of nowhere, in this old manor house in the middle of a nation­al park. The house had been a board­ing school from the 1920s to 2005, and the company I worked for was only using part of the build­ing.  We were the last school tour to be there before it was going to be handed over to the new owners, who no-one knew much about, but didn’t seem to be using it as a school. There were lots of locked up rooms that had been used by the board­ing school, but weren’t used for the language holi­days, like the science lab, and they had piles of school stuff lying every­where. The atti­tude was pretty much feel free to explore, just make sure the kids don’t get into anywhere that could be danger­ous.