The Bad Art Festival was designed by Grays Wharf CIC in collaboration with Springboard Studios, Kitty Hillier, Jessie Higginson and myself as three days of creative relaxation for third year BA(Hons) Graphic Communication Design students – a welcome break after their final submission for their degree. The agenda was essentially, no rules, no expectations of end product, just playful engagement without judgement.
For days 2 and 3, Megan, Kitty, Hannah, our brilliant Fine Art student intern and I set up an “Art Room” offering them tools and materials for playful development of their inspiration from St Ives using drawing, mark making, paper folding, 3D modelling, stitching, lino printing and collage. The twenty odd students who came along on day 2 had a total blast, mucking about, getting messy and being freely creative.
They students rotated through the different media stations surprising themselves with new experiences and revisiting things they hadn’t done since they were young. As tutors we acted as very gentle guides, suggesting methods and approaches as and when they seemed appropriate and doing that by joining in or having a go ourselves.
At the end of the day we spent a couple of together hours making a giant collaborative painting. the atmosphere was a gentle buzz all day peppered with exclamations of interest, delight and encouragement.
Day one involved them in a day trip to St Ives to soak up some inspiration from the 20th century collection at the Tate and Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture garden, and all the other cultural delights that St Ives has to offer. They were encouraged to sketch and take photographs to use as reference over the following couple of days.
On day two another group of students joined us in the Art Room to continue the fun alongwith two researchers who were gathering data on the impact of the 3 days on the students well being. At the end of the day we transformed the collaborative painting from the day before into a giant 3D sculpture.
The Bad Art Festival is a Springboard Studios initiative based at Falmouth University funded through the European Social Fund. Its aim is to run workshops that improve students’ health and wellbeing through creative engagement.