Revolutionary Nature: An Ecological Art Project for LIPA Early Years children
This ecological art project was developed with LIPA Primary Early Years children in 2018. The Artist in Residence, Jayne Seddon and Art Subject Lead, Rebecca Oakes worked with Richard Scott, of The Eden Project, and Robin Riley, Chair of St James Gardens Friends, and the children in The Liverpool Oratory grounds. The concept is simple: connecting children with the natural world via creative experiential learning. This approach connects the children to Climate Action via an authentic experience, which is then celebrated on a public platform during the city-wide cultural celebration: Liverpool Light Night:
‘A wildflower meadow is being created in The Oratory grounds next to the Anglican Cathedral.
The LIPA Primary School children are drawing the garden and its growth as they make it, while learning about the cyclical time of natural systems, biodiversity, and ecology.
The process of documenting this transformation via drawing, with a focus upon thinking and learning through drawing, resonates with many thoughts around pedagogy and sustainability in education, connecting children with the natural world and the use of fine motor skills in their development and growth.’
Children develop a visual language fast; their idiosyncrasy is already evident at an early age. From the immediacy and energy of mark-making through to observational line drawings. We use ways of looking during workshops, to intensify their curiosity and inspire a range of drawing processes. Children apply all of their senses while working in the garden, including tactility and touch. By holding and drawing around both living wildflowers and pressed botanical specimens, the quality of their learning experience is amplified, and their drawing progression accelerated.
We believe that all children are artists, and that all schools should be art schools. Children Identifying as Artists during their early years is embedded through this project
“I am an artist. I love drawing and painting”: Reception Rita, Reception pupil 2021
We find that children develop a nurturing relationship towards the garden. The intersection of a culture of kindness and creativity enhances wellbeing outcomes, producing outstanding standards in artistic achievement at an early stage of learning. This project creates the situation and sets the stage for innovation in both teaching and learning.
‘We love the wildflowers in the garden’
Referenced back to Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle. ‘Under the Grit the Garden’ is an adaption of the famous 1968 Situationist slogan, ‘Under the Cobblestones the Beach.’ Revolutionary Nature is a major public art project in collaboration with Artist Jayne Seddon, and The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts Primary school children; ART Labs Research Centre and The Centre for Education Research at LJMU; National Museums Liverpool; Friends of St. James’s Gardens; and the Eden Project.