During the summer term 2020, ArtLab from The University of Reading, teamed up with Catalyst Housing, Nature Nurture CIC and The Conservation Volunteers to produce something really rather special.
Year 5 Students from The Ranikhet Academy (Reading, Berkshire) were facing a long summer holiday ahead of them without a great deal to do. Through ArtLabs’ collaboration with the school and other community stakeholders, they were able to put together an exciting remote learning pack. ArtLab used their ‘Lockdown Lab’ website as a virtual portal for learning as well as providing the students with all of the materials that they would need.
Miss Sanghera, Headteacher said that: The best thing is that the packs are so creative which means that all members of the family can engage with them no matter what age they are and how confident they feel academically. When the children in their Y5 bubble looked at their packs, they absolutely loved them! One of the girls said “I can’t believe it! I feel like it’s my birthday!” They couldn’t believe they were getting a whole palette of paints to themselves, and they were really excited to see that the map included was Lousehill Copse as this is an area of woodland that we take our children too as often as we can.
Nature Nurture and The Conservation Volunteers have been working with Catalyst Housing on the Dee Park Estate on many outdoor learning initiatives and it has been incredibly productive to pool resources for this ambitious project. Jon Lockhart, ArtLab Phd Researcher co-ordinated the packs and hopes that it will be the beginning of future collaborations: “There is a very strong shared co-research aspect to ArtLab and this way of working increases the potential reach of everything that we do. Expanding our approach to working alongside other community stakeholders has been a natural and really worthwhile development for us.
ArtLab has piloted a pop-up mobile unit, which worked with young people on the Dee Park Estate and surrounding area last summer. They are exploring ways to combine this with safe, socially distanced activities for young people in the future.