Through our community engagement programme we worked closely with refugees and migrants across Leeds and Wakefield, creating opportunities for all four galleries to welcome new and diverse audiences.
Working with John Jamieson School and Leeds-based artist Bethan Hughes, the Sensory Sculpture project focused on the tactility and the materiality of sculpture, working with 10 disabled children aged 11 to 16. This collaborative project involved the pupils, teachers, artist and Yorkshire Sculpture International team, talking about, experiencing and making sensory sculptures together.
Hughes work uses sculpture to explore the body and its relationship to both matter and immaterial processes. The project took the synergy between Hughes’ approach to sculpture-making and how the students related to the world as its starting point —in particular how sculpture stimulates the senses and the physical nature of both experiencing and making sculpture. Through exploring the breadth and variety in contemporary sculpture, the pupils discovered a multitude of ways to experience it, particularly through sight, sound, smell and touch.
Workshops at the school were informed by visits to the Yorkshire Sculpture International galleries and created opportunities for the pupils to work with materials such as water, light, their bodies, clay and herbs in a variety of stimulating ways.
A highlight of the project was when we borrowed Something Plastic to Fight the Invisible (English Language Golem Perimeter), 2001 by Mark Titchner from the Arts Council Collection to take into the school for the day, supported by ArtUK. The whole school community got to see the work as well as taking part in activities throughout the day.
To finish the project an exhibition took place in school’s garden, showcasing and celebrating the pupils’ work. The class were encouraged to share what they had learnt with other students from throughout the school and were each given a publication created by Hughes that documented the time shared with them.
Yorkshire Sculpture International 2019 had an extensive engagement programme, working with schools, universities, communities and artists.
We explored sculpture with people of all ages, connecting them with the materials and processes used in making sculpture today and showing how sculpture can be found all around us.
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