Art Lesson from Shanghai

art work presentedWe have had the pleasure of hosting Mr Zhou, Headteacher from the Shanghai Childrens’ Imagination Centre in China. The visit was organised by The Confucius Institute at Newcastle University and Miss Najafi.

Mr Zhou worked with Year 9 students in the Art Department, and began by showing a film about the work of his imagination centre which specialises in developing children’s creativity from an early age.

Students analysed a range of his students’ artwork and Mr Zhou explained how his students draw from dreams, music and imagination.

Mr Zhou then started to demonstrate one of the activities he uses in his school. He wrapped the entire classroom in toilet paper, stretching it around chairs, tables and even students! This was a really exciting piece of live installation art and everybody watched whilst Mr Zhou then placed delicate drops of oriental ink onto the toilet paper. A really interesting piece of work was formed. Students then responded to the work by creating expressive drawings in their sketchbooks using a variety of materials. Mr Zhou was very complimentary of students and commended their creative skills and impeccable manners. Mr Zhou very kindly passed on a gift to the Art Department from his school, a student’s drawing and a signed print of his own work. We were pleased to offer him a framed set of images created by The King Edward VI School Art students.

Head of Art at The King Edward VI School Morpeth Sam Connor said “It was really inspiring to work with Mr Zhou and observe his unique teaching style. Our students responded really well to the open-ended, imaginative style of working and these kinds of experiences are invaluable for students. Students made exciting responses through a variety of mark making techniques and it was fascinating to see them become enveloped in a piece of interactive installation art. We are hoping to collaborate further in the future.”

Doug Stevenson from Newcastle University’s Confucius Institute said “Mr Zhou was impressed with the very high quality of the art work that was produced in the school projects and by the excellent support that he received from the staff. He very much wants to return again. Mr Zhou returned to Shanghai with a tremendously high opinion of the education system in the UK and especially the students and staff with whom he had the pleasure of working on his visit to The King Edward VI School Morpeth. I know that he intends to show his many students and their parents, in Shanghai, what he has learned and what has been produced in the UK and I have no doubt that they will be impressed. He had a wonderful and productive time at The King Edward VI School, and I hope that both the teaching staff and the students thought it worthwhile and enjoyable. We wish to express our thanks for the enthusiasm and support. I feel sure that he will return to the UK, with possibly some of his students, and I would greatly wish that a project could be arranged with The King Edward VI School again.”