I didn't know what to expect when I turned up at The Brunt's Academy. As I approached the school reception it looked to me much like my own Secondary school. Grey pebble dashed walls from the 1980s, holding Grey pebble dashed teaches from the same era. I signed in and was sent down to the Art Department a small unassuming building on the outskirts of the same complex.
I met my Lab partner an art teacher called Jon, I shook his hand and he beckoned me into his inner sanctum. Inside, the walls were plastered in strange experimental art, large reliefs, and printed fabrics. "Did you study Art and University?" I asked. "Yes" came the reply "But I did performance art, it was so experimental and extreme I almost got my tutor fired" I knew immediately we were going to get on.
We presented the Emerge Project to the whole school by way of two assemblies. We had them all fill in an application forms stating what art forms they were interested in and what ideas they had for the festival. We had an overwhelming response. Student's forms were retuned with pieces of paper attached telling us all sorts of strange and mad ideas they had for pieces. We chose our favorite 30 and invited them to an after school session on a Thursday night.
We decided that we would say yes to everything. No idea was too ambitious or too mad that we wouldn't attempt it. Now, five weeks in we have 30 Art pieces being developed that vary from a "Romeo and Juliet, performed through wrestling" to a sketch comedy short made from stop motion clay models. The students are all working towards there Silver Arts Award and are taking responsibility for every aspect of there own piece.
We set out to create an environment where we wouldn't just showcase students work; but develop young, independent artists, and give them the tools they need to work in the creative industries.
Now whenever one of them says "Do you think it's possible to....." before they've even finished one of us has already shouted "YES!"