Open Studio: Artist Residency at Fawcett Primary, Cambridge 2018

“Because of what’s happening now, there’s a sense of urgency that overrides the individualist position that pervades so much of our society. All creative arts have the capacity to be totally trans-disciplinary and collective. How can we do collaborative and collective projects well? In that area, I think a background in kaupapa Māori [Māori protocols, policies and ways of working]is really useful. If you come from a Māori background it’s collective from the beginning. With the protocols around how you hui [meet and discuss together], how you wānanga [learn together], you are inculcated in dynamic dialogue and how to build platforms to take that dialogue further. I do believe colleges and creative schools need to be encouraging the ability to work well in groups. That’s an important part of being a 21st-century citizen. It’s far removed from the model of the individual artist or designer creating products solely for consumption.”

 -Julian MacKinnon, Art New Zealand Magazine, Autumn 2018 Article Water Level Rising

The Teaching Artist

Every Thursday, a space in the local promary school becomes my studio. I set myself up and get to work. An artist residency as an idea is important to me because from my point of view, I am there as a member of the community, a sharer of this space and this lived moment. I add to that the sensitivity of the educator, communicator and artist. It’s a slow cook relationship and a commitment. I’m there as an artist, doing my work, creating spaces for dialogue, building relationships, listening, observing, thinking of best ways to respond.

Wild Spaces, Empathy and Our Children

The subject matter that I draw from for my visual work also draws out conversations about the “wild” spaces around us. What is disappearing, what is right near where many of the children live, but never engage with. I want to raise awareness and empathy for these space. I also wanted to make my work in the school so children would have a chance to see an artist at work, see how images develop, and be able to engage in conversation with me.  They could also get involved, drawing and mark making with me – either their own drawings, or helping me with mine. All the while, referencing these humble wild spaces under threat.

Artists in Schools Project from Emma Louise Pratt

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