Just Imagine 2010

I’m very excited to be part of Wollongong City Gallery’s Just Imagine 2010 project. I’m a sort-of author in residence – opening the exhibition and running writing workshops for students and teachers. The program “encourages children’s creative writing skills by the exploration of real and imagined worlds experienced through close engagement with art” to plagiarise the Gallery website. I couldn’t have put it better myself and I’m the writer!

It’s exciting stuff. Twelve exhibits – paintings, sculpture and even a marvellous contraption called a Windmobile are on display until 6 June. Primary (Years 5 -6) and secondary students and teachers are encouraged to attend workshops to learn creative inspired from visual stimuli. Students can enter a competition with winning entries published in an anthology.

Here is my favourite piece. I want to write about that one. Very, Very Important by Michael Zavros. I would do what I call “looking with my other glasses on” and extract my story from what is unusual in the picture. I would use lots of dialogue because I can see an opportunity to be quirky and funny. There’s a conversation happening here. The shoes are talking!

Today was the teacher’s workshop. I was a little nervous. I am a overawed by teachers. When my first child started school it took me six months before I could stop addressing his teacher as Mrs… no matter how many times she told me not to! I have so much respect for the work teachers do and committed teachers like today’s attendees are wonderful people.

While I was there I heard the most amazing story. I apologise if some of the details are not 100% as I heard this second-hand from a Gallery volunteer- it was discussed at an earlier session before I arrived. But the concept is the important thing. I was admiring a display of stories and images and asked what it was about. In a previous year, a primary school and high school had written their stories and exchanged them for the other to draw pictures from. The story and subsequent picture were placed alongside the original artwork stimuli. There were some interesting differences and amazing similarities as the circle turned. But what I like best was how the community of schools worked together.

And that’s what the whole program is about, interaction. Between image and word. Between Gallery and schools. Between artists, writers, student and teachers. Just imagine that!

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One response to “Just Imagine 2010”

  1. That is exciting. It sounds like a wonderful experience. I know what you mean about being a little nervous around teachers. When I started as a SLSO (Teacher’s Aide) at my local primary school I didn’t know how to react to them. I found myself in the staff room at lunch addressing them as Mr…. and Mrs…. It took me months to start using their first names.

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