The Wisening Gate
At the Budapest British International Academy
The newly opened Budapest British International Academy welcomed the idea of participating in a social art project. Regarding 'representativeness', the school was selected due to its unique position of being a newly established school that opened with nearly 70 students a month prior to the research project. They follow the British national curriculum, but with less academic pressure. They do not have to prepare for exams and the students have generous amounts of play time. The school's ethos is to fulfil their students' personal goals.
The participants were primary age students from 5 to 11 years old, divided into classes from Reception to Class 4 with two Class 1. The chosen activities and other particularities of the research were tailored for the school and interactively modified during the process. The project used metaphors, such as 'transitional space' and 'threshold awareness'. It aimed to empower the participants by encouraging engagement with the creative flow-scape, initiating and challenging deep thoughts and offering excitement, whilst also empowering the school community. The completed Wisening Gate, a quasi-functional object that is emblematic of the students' experiences of transition, was erected as an entrance to the garden.
A mixture of art and craft processes were applied. On the first day, the making of the Wisening Gate began with artistic conceptualisation of portal as an empowering transitional space resulting in the unique images created by the participants that in turn, were used as decorative elements on the object. During the rest of the ten days, bark carving and painting techniques were used.
The a/r/tographer provided an ongoing opportunity for the participants to voluntarily join or leave the flow-scape most of the times during school hours.