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A Chat With Corinne Marsh – Art Tutor for Young People

Posted on 10th 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?!’

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