Moody Middle Gr 6/7
Arts Education, Health and Career Education, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Moody Middle School, Coquitlam, BC
Andrea Coupe and Michelle Stewardson
Connection to the Vancouver Biennale Exhibition
The students visited the following Vancouver Biennale legacy installations along English Bay and Kitsilano, reflecting on the relationship of each public art piece with the environment and the ways in which the different installations speak to social issues.
• 217.5 Arc x 13 (Bernar Venet, France)
• A-maze-ing Laughter (Yue Minjun, China)
• Echoes (Michel Goulet, France)
• Engagement (Dennis Oppenheim, USA)
• Freezing Water #7 (Ren Jun, China)
The students watched Wasteland as one of the inspiring sources for their inquiry into global consumerism and waste management. In response, they created 3D art installations to convey damaging impact of wastes using recycled materials.
Vancouver Biennale 2014 – 2016 Artist: Vik Muniz, (Brazil)
Wasteland, movie by Vik Muniz and Lucy Walker
The curatorial theme of the 2014-2016 Vancouver Biennale Exhibition is Open Borders / Crossroads Vancouver. This project connects to this theme in many ways:
• Crosses national borders as students investigate and discuss culture, economy and geography of different continents
• Students learn about today’s global economic model and the way in which art foster awareness of social issues in a global context
• Inspires students to think globally when confronting social issues and empowers them with the knowledge and skill to take action
Other Sources of Inspiration
Trash, a novel by Andy Mulligan
Students started to consider the impact of public art installations in our community and environment by visiting various Biennale artworks at English Bay. During this experience, the students examined connections between the arts and global social issues they care about. Continuing with the investigation on how art can inform/transform our worldview in the classroom, the class was divided into groups representing different continents. continents (6 continents and the Middle East as it’s own distinct place on earth). Each group inquired into the physical geography of their continent exploring the environment and making connections to how one’s environment affects and develops a unique culture. This in turn led to how culture affects and influences art. Each group inquired into the economic and cultural features of a continent, learning about unequal resource distribution and human rights issues through art-making activities. Students explored different cultures and art practices, inquiring into the power of art and transformation in a national and global context. Inspired by Vik Muniz and Aurora Robson, each group created a 3D art installation using recycled materials as their responses to the impact of waste on the environment. Working with a movement artist, the class created skits to foster awareness of global social issues through performance. Through art making activities during this inquiry process, the students experimented with different art forms and ways to express their perspectives on social issues that they chose to take a stand on.
The arts bring awareness to global issues
What techniques can be used to convey messages through different art forms? In what ways can art create awareness vs transformative changes in consumption and waste management and its impact on environment and poverty?
Health and Career Education: Students explored the work of Journalism and Free Speech by learning about the tremendous accomplishments of Diane Sawyer. They discussed The Oprah Network interview with Malala on her book I am Malala and how her book and speech at the UN has made a significant global impact.
Language Arts: Students read novels set in their assigned continent in order to learn more about that continent’s history and culture. Students participated in literature circles in order to discuss the novels together in class. Students conducted interviews with other students from various places in the world (primary sources) to help further their knowledge about their continents. Students also explored poets and poetry from their continents and looked at how this art form was also vehicle for bringing awareness to issues.
Mathematics/Science/Arts Education: Students collected and presented numbers on waste on global context. Students graphed and projected the amount of waste created by their school/community/city. Inspired by Vik Muniz, students created art installations using recycled materials.
Mathematics/Social Studies/Health and Career Education: Students explored if or how economics and art are related around the world. Looking for patterns, students created graphs to show their understanding of the links between art and economics around the world. Students explored how in Vancouver, organizations are using art and photos to empower the homeless youth of their community.
Social Studies/Mathematics: Students explored the distribution of resources around the world and played a game to simulate unequal resource distribution as well as the trading of these resources. Using ratios and percentages, students inquired into which countries/continents are leading producers of various natural resources. Students then discussed why these resources are so important and what they are used for.
During their visit to the Vancouver Biennale art installations, students engaged in an inquiry on social issues and public art experiences. The students performed a dance about global communities as their response to the impact of art installations on the environment and community, and viewers’ perspectives.
Learning about social issues and different cultures:
The class was organized into groups that each represented a continent. In these groups students explored population density and resource distribution by participating in a Global Village Game. Given chips to represent GDP and different resources, students learnt about unequal resource distribution by trading chips and negotiating with one another. Students furthered their inquiry by creating a mixed media map of their continent with the purpose of showing major geographical features and the cultural elements of their continent including human rights issues and environmental concerns. In order to learn about what it is like to live in another country, students conducted interviews with other international students as well as reading a novel set in their assigned continent, taking notes on different aspects of the culture.
Exploring art and taking a stand:
Using the Google Art Project website, students explored the different cultural sites in their continent groups, discussing how art can be a powerful tool for raising social awareness and looking for connections between different cultures and the art produced in those areas. Students were challenged to explore ways in which art can transform, particularly in connections with the social issues of waste, poverty and the environment. Taking inspiration from Aurora Robson, Vik Muniz, the Google Art Project and the continent group exploration, students created their own 3D art installations from recyclable materials representing their continents and key environmental concepts and understandings in regards to human waste. Working with the artist, students learnt about different theatre genres and participated in drama workshops on storyboarding and character. Students worked collaboratively to create skits in each of their continent groups using different theatrical genres such as a game show, a documentary and a musical to present the aspects of their project that they found to be most powerful and impactful. Presenting their artwork and performance to the school, students demonstrated their understanding of the power of art in the hopes to raise awareness of the global issues they had researched.
• Mixed media maps made from salt dough of their chosen continent, showing its geographical and cultural features
• Art installation using recycled materials to represent their continent
• Maps, graphs and mathematical analysis of arts and economics around the world
• Created a play in different genres about the aspects they found most powerful and impactful during the project
Students created art installations and theatrical performance to demonstrate their understanding of the power of art, to create awareness of social issues that are important to them and to inspire other to do the same. The installations and performance were shared with the entire school.
• Introduction to the Vancouver Biennale
• Field trips to various Vancouver Biennale Installations. Reflecting on questions such as:
• In what ways does this art impact this particular environment or community? What are the differences between change and awareness? How does art make an impact on people’s perspectives? Who would see this? What kinds of social issues does it make you think about?
• Students wrote their first journal entry (a reflection on the fieldtrip)
• In groups, students explore questions on what is art, what are global issues and what are the global issues they personally care about.
• Students begin creating mixed media maps of different continents to show geographical and cultural features such as human rights issues and environmental problems
• Reflection on reactions to field trip including storyboarding with artist and short performances to the class
• Groups made for each continent of the world and conducting research
• Global Village game, exploring incomes and GDP of different continents in the world and the distribution of natural resources
• Reading groups set up to read novels set in their continent in order to learn about their culture
• Students presented their finished mixed media representations of their continents
• Artist workshops on theatrical styles and performance techniques
• Discussion and presentation of ideas for final theatrical performance
• Assignment to write 10 lines to outline a synopsis
• Lessons on settlement patterns and the basic elements of culture with a focus on art/human rights
• Google Art project used to explore the cultural artistic sites in their assigned continents
• Screening of Wasteland
• Interviews conducted with international students to learn about their country and life
• Creating 3D installations made with recycled materials to represent their continents and the impacts of human waste
• Artist workshop on storyboarding and theatre production
• Brainstorming and final decisions made about performance
• Blocking, scripting and choreographing the performance
Presentation of art installation and final performance to the school
Teacher: Andrea Coupe
What an adventure this year has been! I loved being part of the Biennale BIG Ideas program as it provided my class with an artist to help scaffold our inquiry as well as challenging me professionally. Our artist, Mandy Tulloch, was amazing and brought both a passion for her craft and a passion for working with kids. As well, while I love art and being creative, it is not my strength so it was wonderful to work with someone who could take our vision and mold it to her specialty, which was drama. The structure of the program also helped me focus my ideas and goals while still allowing me to be flexible and creative as the year moved along. This year has been pivotal in changing the way I think about art and the way I teach.
Teacher: Michelle Stewardson
I feel that our students this year were deeply engaged in their learning. They were able to explore deep rooted meanings and big picture ideas through cross curricular activities and lessons. They used art as the driving force behind their learning. I loved how they found so much inspiration from Aurora Robson, Victor Muniz and “The Biennale Art Pieces” we explored together on a fieldtrip. It was most amazing to see how the student’s discovered the power of art in how its messages can transcend language barriers and have cultural significance.
“I really enjoyed the Biennale experience because it gave me a new look at art. Now when I look at art I can understand what the artist was trying to show and I know his/her message. Also through Biennale I’ve had many awesome experiences including meeting Oliver Stone. Finally we also got to present a play in front of my school, it was a first for me and so was many other things through Biennale.” Antoine
“My view of art has changed since the start of biennale. I can see art a lot clearer now than before and the message is really easy to find because before I didn’t really know why people did art, and make it. Now when I see art I understand more and I also like the experience of looking at beautiful creations now.” Mateo
“This year while being a part of the biennale program with my class, I learned so much. While I was part of the program I learned about different pieces of art and I have a new appreciation for art. After the fun field trip were we walked around and looked at different art pieces; I realized that all art has some sort of meaning. I think the play we are working on right now is very fun. I think it is a really good way to educate other kids because it has funny moments and interesting parts and it still provides educational facts. I think my class is extremely lucky to have this opportunity because so many classes won’t get to do this, only few classes get the chance.” Piper
“My favorite part of Biennale was the session with Mandy when we could only say yes in one game and no in one game. It was fun because I was a cop that had to prove a person was guilty by only saying yes so it was fun. I thought that Biennale was a great organization and I had lots of fun.” Matteo
“The best part about it was working with Mandy, a professional artist in the art of dance and acting. I still think that it is really fun to work with her in the play, and that I love how she has managed the play and that she has come up with all the ideas that I could never have come up with in my head at least. Anyway, that is all I can say to Mandy.” Jamie
“I really enjoyed our Biennale experience. I learned a lot from our time with Biennale. We’ve been through a lot of adventure during our time, like the field trip, the Oliver Stone walk and the big play we are showing. I learned that a lot of pieces of art has a message in it. Biennale made me change the way I look at many different kinds of art. I now know that the next time I look at a piece of art, I’m going to have to figure out what the artist is trying to say. Thank you.” Marc
“Biennale was an amazing experience and I now have a new perspective on art. Biennale has made this a memorable year for me and most of my classmates. We were so privileged to be able to be a part of Biennale and have such a wonderful artist come in to our class and help us learn more about art. Our big question “How Does Art Foster Awareness About Global Issues?” was the stepping stone leading towards Biennale, and I can’t imagine my year without this art influenced topic. I used to see a piece of art and try to fit it in to one category, like “it’s a painting”, or “it’s a dance”, but now I see multiple different possibilities. Though I still see “a painting”, or “a dance” it means so much more to me now. When I see a piece of art I try to imagine what the artist was thinking when s/he invented the piece, or weather is was inspired by someone or something. Not only do I think about the colors in the piece I think about whether they represented anything or not. I think about message the artist is portraying and whether or not I understand it. Without Biennale I would still see “a painting” and now I am happy to see so much more. Biennale may not have had the same affect on my classmates, but this is how much Biennale changed my thinking on art. The last thing I want to say is Thank You, Biennale, Mandy and all the other amazing people involved with this wonderful art influenced programme. I hope that I will be a part of Biennale again, but if not you have changed the way I see art forever.” Hannah