Space to Re:Place exhibition | MK Gallery | Running 1-30 June | FREE ADMISSION

Date Created: 12th Jun 2018

Children skipping and playing in the school playground

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Space to Re:Place is the culmination of a six-month action research project, commissioned by MK Cultural Education Partnership, to explore place-making and what this means to children and young people in Milton Keynes.

It is the collaboration of over 300 primary school children, 13 teachers and 5 cultural organisations underpinned by principles of democratic and proactive learning. The exhibition features work that documents the creative encounters which have been shaped by the children’s ideas and interests. Outcomes have been born from children’s play and exploration, their collaborative experiments and shared dialogue. From decisions over materials and their use, to ideas about current social issues, children’s views and opinions have informed the approaches throughout – enabling them to affect the places and spaces that are important to them.

The project was accompanied by a Professional Development Programme facilitated by action research organisation 5x5x5=creativity. Designed to inspire imaginative approaches to child-led experiences, sessions supported schools to develop curricular links and nurture children’s creativity throughout the project and beyond. All participating children were provided the opportunity to achieve their Arts Award Discover or Explore, a scheme accredited by Trinity College London. Each school’s participation in the project will support their achievement of Artsmark, Arts Council England’s creative quality standard for schools, ensuring that hundreds more pupils continue to benefit from access to high quality creative learning in school.

The project and exhibition have been supported with investment from Artswork, the South East Bridge and MK Community Foundation. Participating primary schools: Bishop Parker; Caroline Haslett; Holne Chase; Long Meadow; Middleton; Romans Field; St. Monica’s; St. Thomas Aquinas; Summerfield; and Willen. Participating cultural organisations: Will We Be; Inter-Action MK; MÓTUS; Milton Keynes Arts Centre; and Pagrav Dance.

St Thomas Aquinas School / Milton Keynes Arts Centre (large plinth near door)

A series of imaginative discussions and explorations led the children to design and create a whole new ‘place’ – an imaginary world complete with all facilities needed for joyful living.

Willen Primary School / Will We Be – Toucanoodle (central 3D sculpture)

Toucanoodleis a modular play kit enabling the creation of playable structures and surfaces, designed, made and played by the children of Toucan Class. Users can build temporary play places within disused school spaces inspiring movement, play and the invention of games.

St Monica’s RC School / Will We Be – A Spaceful Place(section of large tie-dyed hanging)

A Spaceful Placeis a pop up space, designed as a place of wellbeing and reflection for the whole school community.  Detachable dyed panels enable a changeable structure which can fully envelop its inhabitants, or lift, tie, and gather to open the space letting the outside in.

Holne Chase School / Milton Keynes Arts Centre (wall based tiles)

The children explored the garden from the size of a ‘microscopic explorer’ collecting and photographing objects. Sessions led to a trip to Milton Keynes Arts Centre, to use glazes to create individual ‘discovery tiles’. Since the project, the school garden has been rebranded as the ‘discovery garden’ and the children in the class have bonded through their experiences.

Summerfield School / Inter-Action MK – The Friendship Bench and‘Buddy Bus Stop’(3D works)

Through conversations, children found that the concept of loneliness was a theme that kept arising.  Feeling that that ‘everybody should have somebody’, the idea of a friendship bench and best buddy bus stop was born.

Long Meadow School / Inter-Action MK (Pebbles on plinth, singing bowl with image)

From sharing positive messages in the secret garden the students each made a world in a shoebox depicting a place special to them either real or imaginary ‘gifting’ painted pebbles hidden round the grounds for the school community to find.

Bishop Parker School / Pagrav Dance – Home away Home (large display vitrine)

Explorations of graffiti art and cave painting sparked an interest in art as a medium through which to explore social issues in public spaces. Pagrav Dance supported children to extend these interests with the creation of a dance celebrating the diversity of places special to them.

Caroline Haslett School / Pagrav Dance (3 x film installation, ceiling hanging)

Friendship, achievement, the children’s favourite lessons and their journeys into school informed the choreography of a new dance developed in collaboration with Pagrav Dance.

Middleton School / MÓTUS (image collage on wall)

Through partner work children choreographed a dance linked to the Middleton Values which included unity, friendship, respect, appreciation and trust. The choreography responded to objects and the nuances of physical spaces within the school.

Romans Field School / MÓTUS (image collage on wall)

Children at Romans Field School immersed themselves in experimental explorations of movement that responded to each other and to physical objects in their school.


MK Cultural Education Partnership

MK Cultural Education Partnership (MK CEP) is a collective of cultural organisations, MK Council departments and school leaders working across culture, education and youth – brought together by their drive to nourish the creative and cultural wellbeing of the children and young people of Milton Keynes. The ambition is to provide MK’s youngest citizens with a breadth of cultural opportunities that actively support the development of social skills, motivation and confidence, paving the way for future career paths, and promoting the enjoyment and exploration of creative and cultural activities. MK CEP is led by MK Arts & Heritage Alliance.


Milton Keynes South East Bridge

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