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From the classroom to the community: Stepaside ETSS are exhibiting their creative skills

5 min read

From the classroom to the community: Stepaside ETSS are exhibiting their creative skills

5 min read


From the classroom to the community: Stepaside ETSS are exhibiting their creative skills

For Stepaside ETSS in South County Dublin, participating in the Creative Schools programme has not only enabled the creative potential of the school’s students and recognised their unique skills and talents within the classroom setting, but now it has also given them a platform to display their creativity outside of the school and across their local community.

The school is displaying its Crowns of Waste photography, created with artist Annie Holland during the Creative Schools programme in 2019, as part of an exhibition at the impressive DLR Lexicon venue in Dun Laoghaire from September 2nd until October 31st. The process of working with both Stepaside ETSS Creative Associate Mimi Doran, Schools Co-ordinator Alice O’Connor and artist Holland was documented on the RTE series Creative Kids which aired earlier in 2020. As part of the school’s engagement with the programme, both the students and artist explored sustainability and the climate crisis by creating a series of professional photographs of headpieces made by students using non-recyclable plastics. 

Speaking about the exhibition excitement, Schools Co-ordinator Alice O’Connor said the school was “delighted that the student’s work is being showcased publicly by the DLR Lexicon, our local library. It is wonderful when schools get to collaborate with their community and share educational experiences beyond the classrooms and corridors. This is something we value highly as a school and would be keen to encourage. It’s also fantastic recognition and affirmation of all the hard work, care and creativity put into this project by the students.” 

Noting the political messages of the piece, student Ciara Wilson Bowen emphasised the students intentions in their work saying “I think this will be a great way of raising awareness when it comes to pollution and hopefully will challenge more people to consider how they can be more sustainable and responsible. Things become more realistic when you can visualise them, so hopefully, this will encourage more people to start taking steps to become greener and more eco-friendly citizens and try and ditch single-use plastic!” 

For Alice O’Connor, the collaborative approach, between both the students involved and the artist, was hugely important in showing how the school values the student voice but also gets to the heart of the ethos of the Creative Schools programme. “For starters, Annie gave the students a brief overview of her vision and that she chooses the headdress form for its aesthetic value and because of the link – if it’s on our head – it’s our responsibility! The students involved really care about the world and want to make it a more sustainable place to live, they’re really conscious of this. This was so evident in all stages of the project and really comes across in the creativity that came out of this.”

“They developed essential skills of working in a group, designing, collaborating, sharing ideas, making mistakes, challenging themselves, finding their creative voice, having fun, resolving creative conflicts, and seeing a product through to final stages and creating an end-product – hugely valuable transferable skills that carry over into the more academic side of their school life, as well as helping them to develop on a personal level. They also had lots of fun getting their portraits taken.” 

These portraits displayed at DLR Lexicon reflect the commitment of the programme to embed creativity across curriculum of all schools involved but also how the results can exceed expectations to transcend the classroom and be shared across the community “in a way that gives all students an opportunity to take part in creative practices, recognise their unique creative skills and talents and have their voice heard within that.”  

Crowns of Waste photographic exhibition runs at DLR Lexicon until October 31st 2020 

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