Papdale Primary School Residency 2006/7
The Papdale Primary School Artist in Residence Scheme was co-funded by the Scottish Arts Council's pARTners Artist in Residency Programme and Orkney Islands Council.
The funding was for a year's post at Papdale Primary School in Kirkwall - and the brief for the residency included 'the creation of artworks to complement a major refurbishment of the school buildings' and 'to develop innovative approaches to art in collaboration with the school children'.
The pARTners Scheme was set up in part to foster a greater understanding of how professional, practicing artists work on a day to day basis.
This was the first long term school-based arts residency in Orkney.
About the Artists - Christil Trumpet
Christil Trumpet is an artistic collaborative between Orkney-based artists Matilda Tumim and Christopher Prendergast
Christil Trumpet is a shortened anagram made from the two artists' names - Matilda Tumim and Christopher Prendergast.
The formation of Christil Trumpet, in 2002, came from recognising that we were working against the grain of our lives. We were trying to maintain separate artistic careers but were finding that the costs of haulage, publicity and materials etc. were prohibitive for artists working in Orkney. Both of us felt frustrated by practical and financial constraints and yet we were brimming over with ideas for future art projects. Without realising that we were collaborating as artists, we were already offering each other support and feeding each other's ideas - working together was a natural extension of our everyday lives.
With these ideas in mind, we decided to establish a low tech, low budget way of working as a partnership - and we quickly discovered that the collaboration of two minds could overcome many of the problems we had experienced when working alone as separate artists. Through collaboration we could include our family life in our projects. By setting up Christil Trumpet we no longer felt constrained by commercial considerations and were able to focus our collective attentions on ideas/research based art projects. Forming Christil Trumpet was a liberating process and the only thing we found we were lacking in was the time to work together to develop our ideas and work towards future projects.
The Residency at Papdale Primary School is providing us both with opportunity to spend a whole year working together full time, enabling us to work more intensively through some of our ideas and allowing us to do research for our projects - with the added bonus of the school children's input on our various artworks! The children were benefiting, we hoped, by seeing two people collaborating on ideas and by being included in the creative process - and seeing for themselves how ideas can become realities. Through this residency we hope that we are encouraging children to see innovation and teamwork flourish and we are also looking to extend the children's awareness of contemporary art practices in a wider context.
As Christil Trumpet we have realised three projects to date and have two more projects well underway in the Papdale studio ('Goldilocks/Consequence' and 'Pupils Wave'). The subjects, from where many of our ideas and projects come, range broadly from family life, the environment and renewable energy, human rights abuses and war, human diversity, carnivals and music. The projects undertaken by us so far have been 'Wave' (2003), 'Foul Flora, Weird Waves' (2004), and 'Wedded' (2005). In 2004 we started working on a project called 'Free Radicals' for which we created tropical fish that were made out of rubbish relating to our holidays - this project is ongoing. We were commissioned to make a piece of work for the Pier Arts Centre in 2005 for their stand at Tullimentan 2005 - An Orkney Arts Showcase called 'Constellation'.
The Pupils Wave
Project Gallery - Pupil's Wave
This project will develop into a wall relief. Planned to fit in with the proposed school refurbishment this artwork, on completion, is to be installed on the large stonewall facing the stairs which lead up to the P5-7 classrooms.
The Wave is to be created out of a 'sea' of price tags and luggage labels, which we are handing out (blank) to every child in the school. Children are invited to made their contribution to the Wave by drawing or writing on their tags and then giving them back to us. Once the 'Consequence' project is complete, we will assemble all the tags and attach them to a wave shaped trellis.
In order to protect the labels once 'Pupil's Wave' is installed, we envisage bolting a large piece of glass to the wall, protecting the wave from dust the effects of light. Once the refurbishment has taken place the lighting on this wall will be artificial.
The idea to create a 'Pupil's Wave' came from our first collaborative project, 'Wave', which was a studio installation we made (but never exhibited) in 2003.
We feel that the wave is a powerful metaphor for the cycle of life, energy and progress - and relates to Orkney's close connection with the sea. This artwork will also provide us with the opportunity to include every pupil in the school.
Many thanks to all the children who have contributed to this project so far - and thanks also to teachers and parents who have helped and encouraged children to complete their drawings and get them back to us. We have already received over 300 tags and labels back from children who have drawn and written on them.
Future Christil Trumpet workshops will be spent with children from other years in the school working on their tags and we also hope to have some helpers to tie them onto the wave in 2007!