This year, our theme is Perspective: Seeing and Responding. Familiar to children as one of our character strengths, perspective means the ability to see the bigger picture in life. Perspective is about being able to see the forest as well as the trees, to avoid getting wrapped up in the small details when there are bigger issues to consider. Seeing and responding refers not only to how we react to situations in life, but encompasses our emotional and artistic responses to music, art and the environment through dance, song, poetry writing and painting.
Parents, carers, governors and other visitors had nothing but praise for the performances this week. The dances were amongst the best ever seen at Sherington and so too the songs. By eleven o’clock each day there was barely a dry eye in the house, for all the right reasons. Our gallery opening was a huge success on the final morning. Thanks to all of you who were able to come and view children’s artwork and poetry. Feedback from this event has been hugely positive; children were able to visit other classrooms later in the day.
As well as the dance performances, there are many other elements that make up Arts Week to consider: Mr O’Leary has been working with year 6 pupils across the spring and summer terms to create their films for the Oscars celebration at Picturehouse in Greenwich; Mr Hinchliffe worked with teachers and pupils on the appointment of the new Poet Laureate; our highly experienced peripatetic music teachers closed the week with a performance in the playground.
Our new poet laureate was crowned during an assembly in which all nominees read the poem they had created in the workshop. And for the first time, a deputy was also appointed – due to the particularly high standard this year. Shannah Ekombo, the present holder of the title, was thanked for the outstanding contribution made throughout the academic year.
Our deputy poet laureate 2023 is Molly Grehan and our poet laureate 2023 is Sebastian Bakardzhiev.
Their poems are here (Molly’s first):
A new start…
The forming of a group coming together
A new community that stands together
A glob of happiness shifts into a war
One desperate fighting
One hurting disaster
One light that has been lost
Or mould alone
A wakening of forgiveness
A beam of light shivers down on a new generation
The beginning of a country.
Frozen or thawed
On the battlefield
One family, two tribes
Shards of daylight
Some abandoned, some surviving
Emerald green warriors – brave yet feeble
A losing army
On the battlefield
Some escape into the forest
Call of the wild
Leave to see safety
Stay for another shot
Carry on with passion
This year’s theme, Unity, builds on 2021’s theme, Reflection – Who Am We? Children have been introduced to the concept through assemblies and in lessons. Pupils and staff are here represented by their own terracotta figure, each individually modelled by the subject.
540 figures were positioned class by class, nursery to year 6, to create the installation which symbolises the strength of the group over the individual. Whilst knowing that we are each there, the impact of the group as a whole gives the work its power. Together, and in unity, the strength of the group far outweighs that of the individual.
The Terracotta Army (a collection of terracotta sculptures dating from 210-209 BCE) provided the inspiration for the installation.
In addition, children from reception to year 6 worked on dances, songs and poetry that were shared with the community in the penultimate week of the summer term.
All children, across the school, wrote American cinquain poems based on our Arts Week theme: Unity. Folders containing all pupils’ poetry are available to view in the Creation Station during Arts Week and the final week of term.
Teachers submitted names of potential poet laureates for 2022-2023 and the shortlisted children participated in a workshop with Mr Hinchliffe. Following this, a selection panel chose the new recipient, who was crowned on July 15th.
Congratulations to Shannah for winning the distinguished title of Sherington Poet Laureate. Shannah is now officially appointed to write poems about special events and occasions during the 2022-2023 academic year.
Shannah was selected from a strong shortlist but impressed the selection panel with the poem ‘Together we stand’. The winning poem is featured below.
Reflection: Who Am We?
Our theme for this year is designed to enable our pupils (and staff) to reflect on who we are as individuals and the role that we play in being part of a community. The question ‘Who Am We?’ is grammatically correct in Korean and has been used as a title for a body of work by the Korean sculptor and installation artist, Do Ho Suh. The works examine ‘unique’ and ‘unison’ – our individuality and connectedness. This theme seems particularly apposite in the current climate. Do Ho Suh’s work will be the inspiration for this year’s KS2 dances. Reception and KS1 will take theirs from works of art that depict reflection and symmetry. As in previous years, Wendy Steatham will lead dance workshops for teachers and children, providing the opportunity for our school community to work alongside a professional choreographer.
All children will be given opportunities to learn about self-portraits and draw their own in pencil and oil pastels. Each child in the school will record all of their work in sketch books purchased especially for this art project.
As well as the dance performances, there are many other elements that make up Arts Week to consider: Mr O’Leary has been working with year 6 pupils across the spring and summer terms to create their films for the Oscars celebration at Picture House in Greenwich; Mr Hinchliffe will be working with teachers and pupils on the appointment of the new Poet Laureate; our highly experienced peripatetic music teachers will close the week with a performance alongside a small year 6 ensemble; and Ms Portman was able to resume singing assemblies this term (outside, and in year group bubbles) for our Arts Week concert performances.
Arts Week is an important platform – it provides a glimpse of our arts curriculum to a wider audience. The quality of the work is a testament to the expertise of lead teachers at the school; it’s evidence that at Sherington, we truly believe that the arts are a vital component in our children’s education and future.
Our musicians have worked really hard this year on improving their playing – sometimes remotely and independently. We’re so proud of the progress that our pupils have made, despite the lockdowns and interruptions, and we are really pleased to be able to share with you a recorded performance showcasing what they have been working on this year. Thank you to all of our music teachers who have helped our children on their musical journey.
Over the course of the lockdown period, we have built and made new connections: with personal friends old and new; with each other in the school community; with hobbies and music and news and books and stories. We have made connections in new and wonderful ways and returned to connecting through the written word. Despite having many liberties taken from us, the one thing that has remained, and grown stronger, is our ability to remain connected. The unique situation that we find ourselves in needs to be recorded and saved and, as I said in one of my assemblies, this period is history in the making, and this year we will creatively record the details that reflect this time. Our projects are designed to be uplifting and everyone in the household is encouraged to take part. Our theme this year is ‘Connection’.
Miss Burnell, Acting Head Teacher
Click here to read the full letter on Arts Week.
In the past, large art projects have been undertaken in school, led by artists who have worked with pupils to produce large scale installations that still adorn the building: the banners in the hall represent our centenary; the wicker mobiles in the same space were created in 2012 (when pupils from Sherington performed in the closing ceremony of the London Olympics). The banners that grace the Linnaeus Garden, the Creation Station, the exterior of the hall and the fence along Wyndcliff Road were all conceived and created as part of Arts Week. In recent years, pupils have worked on their own personal pieces of art, exhibited in the corridors and Creation Station. This year calls for a new approach.
Lockdown has prompted much creativity amongst people forced to remain in their own homes. One movement in particular caught our attention and forms the model for your art work for Arts Week. We are asking that you produce your own masterpiece in your home. However, there’s a connection to be made. We are asking you to recreate famous paintings in your own way. You might well have seen some already as there are many examples to be found in the internet. But before you go and search…wait. We have some created by our teachers to show you as examples.
Some have taken favourite paintings as a starting point; others have identified physical characteristics. Objects within paintings have prompted some teachers to use their ingenuity and creativity. How will you set about choosing or finding your painting to recreate? Who will be in it? What little clues can you include as a nod to the connection with lockdown? As is always the case, teachers have gone above and beyond, creating their own lockdown compositions that say so much about them – and about lockdown as a phenomenon. You can’t help but be amused by their photographs and we hope that they inspire you to give it a go too. We can’t wait to see them.
To mark the final day of Arts Week, we have a performance by our music teachers: Ms Portman, Mr Veacock, Mr Woodhurst, Mr Saadoun and Mr Smith. Usually, we’d share this event with the Sherington community at school but we hope you can find some space at home to dance and celebrate Arts Week 2020.
We are delighted to introduce our film by Temujin Gill, dancer and choreographer. Temujin was invited by us to devise a response to the BLM movement, building on the foundations already laid by Wendy Steatham in our dance videos for Arts Week.
Throughout his film, Temujin has woven personal experience, passion for dance and historical context for the genre. The theme for Arts Week – Connection – is explored on many levels. It’s a wonderful workshop that exercises minds as well as bodies.
We’d like to thank the Friends of Sherington for funding this project, which will include a live dance session with Temujin during Arts Week. The film will become a resource to be revisited as part of our year 5 curriculum and will continue to educate and inspire teachers and pupils in years to come. We must all exercise our curiosity and love of learning, and in doing so become better informed.
So get on your dancing shoes, clear a space and prepare for an exhilarating workout. Without further ado, it’s over to Wendy for a short introduction and then Temujin Gill.
‘Wait 4’ by Keppel Skies/courtesy of www.epidemicsound.com
‘Blues Manouche’ by Vendla/courtesy of www.epidemicsound.com
Teachers from Nursery through to Year 6 have sent out the writing tasks. There are different tasks – depending on the year group – but they’re all poetic in nature and will become part of the Arts Week extravaganza.
This specific task is to be completed over two weeks, with a submission date of 15th June 2020. You have time to relax and enjoy the opportunity to play around with your ideas; to plan, draft, redraft, improve further and read together. Children, you’re used to this process and I want you to show your adults how we make changes, striving to appeal to the reader in the fullest way – wholly embracing the purpose. Get those green pens out and ask your family members to be critics, kind yet firm. Don’t you shy away from both guiding and challenging them too.
If your outcome seems a little daunting on the face of it, don’t worry. Class teachers are available to support you, offering advice to get your creative juices flowing. The crucial thing to remember is that you should enjoy the artistic endeavour that lies ahead. It’s not a one-off sprint but a series of jogs, allowing you to look carefully at your environment as you meander and contemplate. You want to get the most out of the next two weeks and that will entail taking a variety of routes. By the time you’ve finished, you’ll have run a marathon. And you’ll feel such a sense of accomplishment.
Parents and carers, when you submit the finished work, please send it to the class teacher of your child/children. Teachers will respond with feedback as is normal practice. In addition, teachers in years 3, 4 and 5 will send me names of children who they recognise as being possible candidates to be the next poet laureate. I will then, in collaboration with Miss Burnell, look at their lockdown poems – as well as examples of other work produced throughout the academic year – and collate a shortlist.