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Following on from last year’s successful project THE ART WORLD, this year’s Start/Bonhoga Education Programme explored THE FUTURE and asked what the world will look like 300 years from now? Who will be living here in the year 2317?

Working with the same five participating schools (Fetlar Primary School, Baltasound JH School, Aith JH School, Whalsay School and Sandwick JH School) Amy Gear worked with 307 young artists to create the exhibition THE FUTURE at Bonhoga in June 2017 and online at 2317thefuture.tumblr.com

The project started in September: The Travelling Gallery travellinggallery.com visited each participating school with the exhibition Blush Response, accompanied by Amy. The virtual reality headset by artists Dennis and Debbie Club was really popular, giving students an opportunity to explore a fantasy interior. There were also animated paper sculptures and a painting on a solar panel, which helped inspire THE FUTURE. At this point Amy met with each teacher to offer CPD relevant to the project including information and ideas for additional work in class.

In November 20 pupils and teachers from the participating secondary schools were offered the chance to attend the performance of FLIT, a touring multi-media production and superb example of how art can be political, musical and beautiful all at the same time. In Flit, artists and musicians worked together to create an immersive experience that doesn’t sit within the traditional boundaries of art or music. This also inspired THE FUTURE.

Between January and March, all 307 pupils came to Bonhoga Gallery to visit the current exhibition and participate in a gallery workshop exploring the gallery exhibition within the context of the education programme and its theme of THE FUTURE. Some met with the exhibiting artist for a Q&A. They also all took part in a creative workshop with lead artist Amy Gear and editor JJ Jamieson, where their ideas about the future were translated into drawings, flip books, sound recordings and photographs.

The output from these workshops was used as the source material for JJ and Amy to create the final work for the exhibition which ran at Bonhoga Gallery from 16 June-2 July 2017 (c.2000 visitors). S4 pupils from Sandwick worked additionally on compositions based on storytelling through music. These formed part of the sound piece for the final exhibition which consisted of three animated films. All 300+ young contributing artists visited the exhibition and took part in an evaluation of their work. We had a project timeline display and a comments wall which gathered over 300 comments from pupils, teachers and visitors.

A CPD event was held for teachers participating in the project prior to the opening event. We were delighted that Grace Heggs from our project funder Children & the Arts was able to join us and explain more about the organisation and how our project fits into the wider context of the organisation. This has helped us to start planning for next year’s project, the theme of which will be MAPS & UNUSUAL LOCATIONS…

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