About the project

residency, 11 -15 june 2001

A residency with Alton Park Junior School, Clacton­-on-­sea, Essex, as part of Essex County Council’s Des.Res project. I worked with all five classes of Year 6 (150 pupils) for a day each to explore with them how they felt about moving on to secondary school in the following September.

Each Year 6 class created a woven textile, the shape of which was inspired by doorposts and doorways. At the end of the day, the class weaving was cut in half by the pupils and teacher together to symbolise the move to the new school. I then made the parts into two hangings: one for Colebayns High School and the other for Clacton County High School (their new schools). These were presented to the two schools as part of the Year 6 Induction Day. I stitched together the remainders of the weavings to create a large textile hanging for the foyer of Alton Park Junior School.

As part of the project, the pupils wrote these Haiku which encapsulated their feelings about moving schools:

‘Excited are we
We are all anxious and scared
All worried and calm’

‘We are very scared
We think we will enjoy it
But miss our old school’

‘New school, new friends, great
Bigger school, better school, great
New school, new friends, great’

‘We are all so scared
But we are so curious
We are so happy’

‘We are so nervous
We might get lost in the school
Happy to be there’

‘High school we will go
And we are happy and sad
New friends we will have’