I have over ten years experience working in schools across all key stages and all abilities, including children aged 5-18 years. This includes working on individual small-scale pieces, to larger-scale collaborative group pieces, all tailored to curriculum requirements. Each workshop is designed in consultation with the school. To date, the workshops have given participants experience of skills and techniques to take their designs into 3D outcomes during the sessions and beyond. All materials are locally sourced from a community scrap-store and can be altered to suit all school budgets.
Past examples include:
- Performance/Prop pieces for theatre, including ‘The Elephant in the Garden’ and ‘George’s Marvelous Medicine’
- Buildings – large and small – even a cardboard castle that the school used as a play resource
- Portrait sculptures for KS4 (GCSE age) – focusing on ‘identity’. Students learnt cardboard techniques to add form and features to their sculptures
If you subscribe to NSEAD (National Society for Education in Art and Design), you can find an article about me in issue 23 from 2018.
“The project provided the children with experience of making sculpture related to our topic North America. The children were completely engaged and enthused for the entire day. All the children took exceptional pride in their work and were desperate to get it finished. James is brilliant to work with, incredibly well prepared, hard working and flexible. He is also very inspirational and the children loved him.”
Lowenna Sharpe (teacher) from Buckfastleigh Primary School
Key Stage 3/4 Cardboard Portrait –Teaching Resource, 2023
Size: 48cm x 33cm x 36cm
This 1.5 times life-size cardboard head was developed to demonstrate a process for using a drawing or image (front and side view) of the face to create a three-dimensional portrait.
I have designed this workshop as part of a continuing commitment to enable students from all backgrounds to have equal access to sculptural activities. If you look closely, you can see the connections between the techniques used in ‘Cardboard Self-2’ and this cardboard portrait.
Working with cardboard has always been about creating and supporting a level playing field for the arts.
Cardboard Art doesn’t necessarily have a strong presence within the hierarchies of Art and Art history. It can be hard for some people to describe, assess or even critique, however as a material, you are free to make anything you can imagine.
I have worked with a wide range of groups and people of differing abilities within the community for over 20 years. This includes at festivals, museum drop-in sessions, disability art groups, library art sessions, community centres, scout groups, as well as breakout sessions for staff development in museums and organisations. These workshops are tailored in collaboration with the venue/organisation’s requirements and group sizes and abilities.
“Since its inception in 1988 Artists First has sought to work with and support other disabled artists. Since meeting and seeing his work in the late 1990’s James has become our number one ‘go to’ artist for workshops and collaborations. James’ understanding of his own artform and his ability to share his skills and knowledge with others makes him truly inspiring to work with. From our first major project at Spike Island for Year of the Artists in 2000 right through to our residency at Tate Liverpool and for ground-breaking schools projects such as ‘Reflections of Ourselves,’ James has been involved with Artists First – leading, inspiring and collaborating.”
Andrew Harris, Arts Coordinator and Co-founder Artists First