FRAMES - artist residency with St Crispin's School

Photo by Geraldine Heaney
Photo by Geraldine Heaney

As part of Imaginate’s ongoing programme of artist residencies supporting new performance ideas for young audiences, Imaginate and St Crispin’s school hosted artist Ellie Griffiths from September – December 2017 in a project called FRAMES.  This one-term pilot project funded Ellie to spend time with pupils in the school with time for her own research to explore performance ideas for young, neurodiverse audiences.


This residency was called FRAMES because Ellie wanted to play with who has the right to make art?  

She was based in the St Crispin's school over ten weeks, joined for the second half of the residency by film maker Geraldine Heaney. 

Frame: Whoever walks into the white space is an artist, whatever they do there is art.  
This film was made in collaboration with pupils from St Crispin's School, who are non-verbal and on the autistic spectrum.

Throughout the residency they focused on two key areas:

The first was exploring the overlap between the worlds of the pupils, who are labelled as being on the autistic spectrum, and contemporary artists whose work is shown in galleries such as the Tate Modern. Not people you would usually assume had a whole lot in common?

They were inspired by this quote from contemporary artist and researcher Sybille Peters:

“The most innovative and challenging piece of Live Art by, with and for kids might happen right now in any random kindergarten, playground, school, or dance lesson. Nevertheless, it is hardly ever called Live Art, and it has rarely been acknowledged enough to be on public record.”

In the art world people assume this population would need simplified or specialist types of art to enjoy. But during this residency the artists and pupils have been discovering a lot of mutual interests. Both are natural explorers of the world around them, both are disruptors of the norms and rules of society, both are interested in a variety of textures and materials.  

The second area of interest was thinking about collaboration: finding ways of giving pupils the power to make their own creative choices, which was something the school were also really committed to. They wanted to really take the risk to follow the pupil’s leads whole heartedly, building up to making their film in collaboration with the pupils.

You can read Ellie's project blog posts below in the Related News section.

If you would like to talk about this project, or for further information about Imaginate's creative development work, you can contact Fiona Ferguson (Creative Development Director).