Eight members of Islington Mill Art Academy travelled to London this week at the invitation of artist, Terry Smith. Terry is a drawing fellow at Wimbledon School of Art. He organises a weekly 'Speakeasy' session which he describes as 'a drawing class where no one draws'. Terry invites people whose work he is interested in, to suggest a format for each session. The events are open to students from all disciplines at Wimbledon as well as students from Chelsea school of art and Camberwell.
We brought a number of ideas with us to the event, one of which was our task bag, a paper bag containing 50 cards each outlining a different task. The task bag was something that we developed with artists, Helmut Lemke and Kerry Morrisson during the first months of the Academy. It was to be used in the event of reaching an impasse with a piece of work or being in the studio and not knowing what to do. Putting a hand in the bag to take out a card meant tha the task had to be completed.
We talked with the students about our respective experiences of art education and it was an interesting experience for us to connect with peers who have opted to take the University route through education. We managed to maintain an informality to the events throughout the day. The afternoon session evolved spontaneously into a staring match between students from Wimbledon and the Art Academy. Each group stood and sat in classic school photo formation on either side of a large assembly room with a long roll of paper on the ground connecting us. Each person to lose their composure had to leave their team. It was a long and testing battle of minds but at the outset, the free educators won the day!