A few weeks back I had the amazing opportunity to go into Acland Burghley School for a collaboration between the Peltz Gallery, The Waiting Times Project, artist Sally Booth, and a group of year 11 students in the art classes. The goal was to begin an early relationship with the school in the hopes to do a great deal more collaboration in the future. Overall it was quite a success! To tie into the current Time Being exhibit at the Peltz and the larger theme of the Waiting Times project we asked Sally Booth to come in a craft a workshop for the students. Over a 4 hour workshop we spoke with the students about the Peltz and when they could come to the exhibit, gave an overview of the exhibit Time Being and a rundown on what Waiting Times was researching around themes of waiting and care. After Sally introduced herself and her work and talked the students through her process as an artist and the ways she has learned to navigate the world, we moved into the project for the day. The work Sally did with the students was to create concertina pieces where they collaborated in pairs to build their work. Here began a great discussion with the students on the ideas around waiting and care and what it meant for them to wait and how to look forward. Questions came up such as when have you had to wait? When have you had to be patient and resilient? Waiting for appointments, for a birthday, to go on holiday, to go out, to see their friends, waiting for COVID to end? What do you look forward to? A special place? To be more independent? To go somewhere new, to do something fun? Jumping off from this chat we quickly lead the students into work to settle on a theme for their concertina piece. Students found a multitude of ways to pick a time they had to wait and to work that into the piece they were creating while also finding ways to collaborate that piece with a partner. Some ideas they crafted were waiting for public transit, a groom waiting for his bride, a pig waiting for slaughter, a bird waiting to take flight, and waiting for family to visit. At the end of the session, the students grouped all their concertina pieces together and curated a layout that wrapped around the room with their beautiful work. Before leaving the students were encouraged to come to the exhibit and sit more with the themes of the project. Peltz is hoping to collaborate further with the art team at Acland Burghley, to continue doing workshops of this type, and to hopefully host a small student exhibit in the near future. Please enjoy some of the students’ pieces and check out the Time Being exhibit running at the Peltz Gallery.
Emily Jewison, School of Art, Birkbeck, University of London