The Mary Rose Academy

Tracey McEachran

 

Artist | Educator

The Mary Rose Academy

 

In the spring of 2014 I approached The Mary Rose Academy with a draft outline of a project idea based on working with pupils around the theme of identity. Over the next couple of months I liaised with Head of Art, Lindsey Getty and I refined the project to ensure we met the schools learning criteria. In September 2014 I began work with one class of 7 pupils of mixed age and ability.

 

Working alongside the Teacher Lindsey Getty and 2 or 3 support staff we introduced the pupils to self-portraits and ideas of identity. Each week the pupils looked at different aspects of their identity.

 

Once we had made the initial portraits using a camera, projector and remote control switch, we made prints using different photoshop techniques. The pupils then decided which technique they liked the most and would like to put on show for others in the school to enjoy. A large collage was made of all the pupils’ brightly coloured portraits.

 

Over the term we looked at the environment, exploring and discovering what each pupils preference was in terms of cityscapes, landscapes or seascapes. The pupils then cut up their portraits and reassembled them in the scapes of their choice.

 

The pupils researched magazines and cut out objects they were drawn to, to collage with their own portraits. We look at the work of the photomontage artist John Stezaker that resulted in pupils making their own image in the style of the artist.

 

For our last session we re-visited the making of a self-portrait with the digital SLR camera, the pupils absolutely loved this and were much more confident in making the photographs this time. All pupils had to bring their favourite item into school and make a still-life photograph of that item / object.

 

Here is what Lindsey had to say about the project

 

Mary Rose Academy was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Tracey in the Autumn term. The pupils really benefitted from Tracey’s creativity and expertise in photography. The project was based on supporting pupils express aspects about themselves, primarily through portraiture. They were able to look at land and cityscapes and natural images and manipulate them to produce some interesting pieces of art. They had the opportunity to look at the work of other artists and produce final pieces using similar techniques.

 

The pupils had a range of complex needs and strategies were put in place to ensure they were able to access the wealth of activities provided. They particularly enjoyed using the remote switch to take self-portraits, while being able to get immediate feedback by instantly seeing the image on the wall in front of them.

 

Learning could be seen to be taking place as pupils adjusted their gaze and posture, or even by their reactions to seeing their images of themselves.

 

Tracey was a great support to the teacher responsible for the group and was always willing to respond positively and adjust her practice in order for the young people to get the most out of the project.