The Wokingham Paper

University encourages school children to get creative during lockdown

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Creativity is key for participants of a new art project run by the University of Reading.

ArtLab, led by staff and students from the institution’s School of Art, is providing school children with the chance to gain new skills in computing, new technologies and digital media. 

Its aim is to help teachers, parents and pupils of Reading primary schools understand the value that art brings when combined with technology, offering new opportunities and potential careers as part of the creative economy. 

And it’s kept children busy during lockdown. 

Tina O’Connell, director of ArtLab, said: “ArtLab is concerned with how we make the most of young people’s futures. 

“By bringing a wide range of children from across different social backgrounds into contact with cutting-edge art and technology projects we hope to open their eyes to new ideas and future opportunities.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we were unable to engage with local school children in the normal way this year but I think the Lockdown Lab has proved to be a great success and has taught everyone involved valuable new online skills.”

Lockdown Lab, the team’s Covid-19 alternative to their services, is a dedicated area on the ArtLab website, where planned activities have been recreated online. 

The activities are aimed at years five and six pupils but can be adapted for younger children.

Activities so far have included ArtsMark 360 MERL Challenge, where pupils were invited to create content inspired by a 360 version of The Museum of English Rural Life, Animate Your Home, using everyday items to create stop frame animation stories, Positivity GIFs, using apps to creates inspiring GIFs, and Kidtronics; making puppets.

University students involved in Lockdown Lab have also created a resources section on the website, where they review and recommend the best free activities available online. 

Khadija Niang, a recent BA Art and English Literature graduate who has been working with ArtLab, said: “ArtLab makes art more accessible and more tangible to children who may not necessarily have this access. 

“There is so much opportunity in art and it’s great to be able to share it in this way.”

The success of ArtLab has led to it being offered as an optional module by the School of Art and is forming the basis of an Arts and Humanities Research Council funding bid.

For more information log on to readingartlab.com/lockdown-lab/

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