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25th June 2024

Form 6 Critical & Contextual Studies trip to Nottingham Contemporary

Form 6 CCS pupils took the trip to Nottingham Contemporary to visit 3 exhibitions: Two Steps at a Time by Hamid Zenati, ‘Reꓘonciliation’  by Julian Abraham and Togar & We Who Share Everything and Nothing by Claudia Martinez Garay.

The first exhibition the students visited challenged their preconceptions of the white walled gallery. In an attempt to transport the viewer to North Africa, the walls were painted light colours of beige and pink to represent sand. Within two rooms was work that spanned the Algerian-German artists’ sixty-year career. Zénati worked compulsively across surfaces and disciplines from textiles, fashion and ceramics to wearable sculpture and photography which supported the students as they consider the possibilities of an exhibition as well as their art practices.

The students had a guided tour of the three varied shows and showed particular interest in the interactive exhibition by ‘Togar’, a collaboration between the galleries Exhibitions, Learning and Live Programmes teams. One of the ambitions of the exhibition was to directly engage local communities of young people in the city by inviting them to participate. On the Critical and Contextual Studies course, we spend time exploring public programming and our students consider how to engage communities through events and exhibitions so this was great experience for them.

We Who Share Everything and Nothing was a site-specific installation in the galleries largest space. The artist explored her indigenous ancestry and the socio-political history of Peru through the work to bring to the surface lost narratives from one of the world’s older civilisations. This experience allowed the students to consider the ownership of artworks and objects by galleries and museums as they wore their ‘curator’ hat.

The Critical and Contextual Studies course focuses on the development of fictional exhibitions. Alongside considering what works the students would exhibit, they also have to consider the public programme that supports the exhibition and how to get visitors to attend.
The visit to Nottingham Contemporary was such a wonderful experience for the students as they hadn’t encountered such a participatory exhibition that had also been developed in a very collaborative way.

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