A chat with Corinne Marsh - Art tutor for young people
2nd June 2019
Marketing Manager Mary G. sat down a few weeks ago with artist and professional art tutor Corinne Marsh to find out a little bit about how her classes are structured, and her plans for a new art class for young people aged 12 - 18.
How long have you been working with children and young people running art classes?
Years, absolutely years now [laughs]! But mostly through one-off festival-kind environments. Engaging with the children; getting down and getting a bit messy, not worrying about things and seeing what they create rather than having in mind an end product. So it’s really like to focus on group work. So we leave the phones behind, ideally and just see what gets created together. So we do a number of little projects that are led by me and Kayleigh, who comes along to some of the classes with me. So we’ve done treasure boxes – what’s in their treasure box, we’ve done boogie-woogie birds which are little ruku puppets, we did a little song and dance with them which we filmed – anything goes!!
What have been some of the interesting things that the children have created when they have put their own spin on a project you have started with them?
When you have had quite a free project- by which I mean you’ve maybe suggested a starting point but then it’s been open for participants to interpret – what has been the most interested thing that one of the children have gone off and how they’ve interpreted the idea.
The image that is behind me here was a really interesting experiment. It involved children all contributing to the painting and they just reacted [artistically] to what the child previous to them had done before. This was left up during quite a number of the art sessions, and whenever they felt they wanted to contribute something, they just did another little doodle. So it’s just an ongoing piece of work that just develops and is about all the children.
The current Tuesday class has been running for just over a year – it runs Tuesday after school 3.45-4.45 but bar a couple of spaces it is pretty much at capacity and so Corrine has launched a new class for a different age range.
I had a number of young people inquiring that were slightly older saying they would like to attend a class. The new class will be for young people aged between 12-18 – the reason is that we thought it would be quite a nice idea for young people that are taking quite academic subjects, perhaps they feel a little frustrated that there is not enough room in the curriculum to do some art there. So we wanted to offer to those young people and then the other thing we could do is align with the curriculum [and I’m not suggesting we take the place of the curriculum at all!) but we support portfolio building. So that for any young people that are thinking about or interested in developing artistic careers, or want to do GCSE’S OR A-LEVELS perhaps, who want to build portfolios and have some direction from a fine art view point - then it would be an opportunity as well.
When will the classes take place and what can participants expect?
It will take place in the summer term (Tuesdays 5-6pm) and the idea is to work alongside, so if there is an area that they are focusing on, we can support that area of individual learning or focus that young person has.
We are hoping that the whole ethos will be as a studio situation, so it’s not a free and chaotic environment, it’s actually a focused studio ethos where they begin to focus on their work with the support of us as tutors, so we can help them explore the wider context of their work. For example if there are other artists, whether well known or contemporary, that might be exploring similar ideas. We are hoping to encourage young people who are starting to realise that art has a significant part to play in their own development and their place in the world.
And before we go it we'd love to know a little bit more about your background as an artist and then as a tutor...
I’m a sculptor but not necessarily in the traditional way that people think, so previously I worked a lot on installations. I work with paper and really ephemeral materials like dust and stuff like that! I’ve had my work displayed in the Jerwood Gallery which hosts quite a lot of prestigious exhibitions for a variety of disciplines, the Jerwood Drawing prize for example. I’ve been teaching during my studies and beyond and hopefully my approach encourages people to find their own voice which I think is the most satisfying part of the creative work that we do. So it’s not about pigeon-holing and saying this is what art is its saying ‘what can art be?!’
Interview with Tolu Agbelusi, writer of Ilé La Wà (We Are Home)
3rd April 2019
We are really excited to bring Ilé La Wà to Basingstoke! Tolu can you tell us a bit about how the show was created?
The show very much like the exhibition, has come out of out the Home Is… Project. Home Is… is a series of conversations with people about home and displacement and how one shapes the other.
How it all started was that I interviewed a whole bunch of people around the country, including London and Manchester and those stories either became poems, which then became artwork – currently being exhibited in the Creation Space Gallery, and/ or, they fed in to the play which is coming here (to the Creation Space on 10th April).
So the play is called Ile La Wa which mean’s ‘We are Home’ in Yoruba- a Nigerian language. And it’s very timely although I didn’t think about that when I wrote it that it would be so relevant to now – because I couldn’t predict the future!
What in particular makes it so timely and important right now?
There was a time I did think that it would no longer be of the moment by the time I had finished creating, which seems stupid when you think about it now!
But it is very much about the fact that there are so many people feeling displaced or out of place and the Government isn’t helping the situation. And as time goes on the number of those people increases. So we have the Wind rush scandal that happened at the beginning of last year and now we have Brexit and all the people that have lived here 20 or 30 years who are concerned that they have to apply for settling status and what that means for them.
This is such a period of unrest, so many people must be feeling this. They can’t make plans for the future. Although we have mentioned issues that are currently affecting Britain, these are also that are echoed around the world…
I’ve also been doing a bunch of workshops on this theme at Kings College over the last week. What people are saying is that Brexit is just another name for what is happening around the world. That is just the name of it here. And so we need to start having conversation about how we work together beyond nation states, beyond borders.
It’s a human story…
It is a human story, it’s a bunch of human stories. And lle la Wa in particular is about stories that we think we know, we think we know ‘the immigration story’ as if there is ‘an immigration story’ – but there are many.
The play deals with people who were born in England, who know only England, but, who are made to feel this is not home for them and feeling lost because of the identity that has been imposed on you, and where do you go after that. There are also those who are immigrants in the sense that they have come here and made this place their home and what is that like to always have to prove yourself and what does that do to you mentally? How do you survive it? So one of the questions that runs through the play is, how do you belong to a place that doesn’t see you?
And it’s as much a question that requires an answer, as a rhetorical question. So that’s been one of the interesting things about performing the play and seeing people’s reactions to the play and being able to have conversations we wouldn’t normally have.
We want to invite Basingstoke communities, to come and watch this play and open up and have those conversations in a really opening welcoming space to come and do that. Talking to Tolu, viewing the exhibition and finding out more about the Home Is project, for me it really hit home that these are people who are our friends, colleague’s maybe even members of our family who have experienced some of these issues or felt this way. It really is for everyone – we are all touched in some way by this.
What I hoped it would be is not only for the audiences who feel like they don’t have a voice, their stories are not reflected and so there is that carthesis of seeing yourself reflected, but it is also for those people who feel that they may not have these exact experiences but we all know what displacement is, being bullied, feeling like you don’t fit in in some way. So it’s about how do I get to a place where I can always see myself in the next person, empathy, we are human beings, beyond the race, beyond everything else. It’s about the humanity, how do we see each other.
Ilé La Wà will be coming to the Creation on Thursday 10th April at 7.30pm
Tickets £10, £8 concessions.
Tickets available online or in person at the Creation Space. Please note we are unable to reserve tickets or take bookings over the phone.