Friday, August 12, 2011

Thistley Hough Summer Book Fayre

Recently, I got to spend a fantabulous day amidst a wonderful bunch of people at the Thistley Hough Summer Book Fayre, in Stoke.

Thistley Hough High School had taken it upon themselves to celebrate books of all types. I feel incredibly lucky to say I was one of a handful of book people invited to take part in such an important event.

In the morning, I had a splendid time with year 10 and 11, doing character workshops. The work each student produced was hugely impressive. Though the outcomes were so wonderfully varied in style, each took to character design like many creative ducks to water. It was exciting to see how bold they all were, and it made me think I need to loosen up again in my own work.

I confess, I ran the risk of instant humiliation. I almost shed a tear (or two) of pride when all the students spontaneously decided to stay in over their breaks to finish their designs. They also asked their teacher if they might start up an illustration club next term! I really could not ask for a better compliment *beams with immense joy* and I can't wait to see the work they produce then.

In the afternoon, I was introduced to 60 primary school children, in a huge, big-top tent. All the kids were incredibly patient and enthusiastic, despite good ol' Blighty providing the ever predictable, torrential rain, lapping at the sides of the tent.

I'd like to thank; all the students that took part for being bleedin' brilliant, (you honestly all made my day) Kirsty Hicks and Holly Hartley (their amazing teacher's), and Claud Everest and Zac Barrow (for the extra help, and the marvellous write-up). It really was a thoroughly cockle-warming day (whatever 'warming one's cockles' actually means!)

On a serious note, I was gladdened (but not at all surprised) to see that the students rose to the challenges of the book festival, and that there seemed to be lasting positive effects long after the the big-top had departed. After a week of riots in the UK, (largely involving young folk) it makes me more convinced than ever that there needs to be more links between; industry, community, and schools- especially secondary schools. Students need to see their dreams (whatever they may be) in action. They need to believe that there CAN be a bright future out there. Surely we need to be increasing; time, energy, and most importantly, funding into these sorts of ventures. Education isn't just about 1+1 and long-dead authors. It's certainly not about targets. It's about life, and living, and as soon as that's understood, perhaps we can REALLY move on.


Mai Kemble said...

you say a great thing here- I also think that if children are exposed to people out in the fields they dream of joining, then the road to getting there won't seem as daunting!
instead they will be inspired and feel connected to these dreams!

good for you!

...and it also helps the people in the field to see these children, am I right? ;) I am so happy for you!

cassia said...

sorry, Mai. I missed this comment. How the dickens are you?

And yes, you're completely right. These kids were thoroughly inspiring.