The inspiration:
The idea for a Creative Lab came out of conversations we held with Rehana Mughal of Creative Partnerships London South. We all wanted a way to maximise the educational potential of our projects and reach a wide audience in an effective way. In September 2004 we created a space that allowed both teachers and students to explore learning in a multi-sensory way, working across disciplines. I wanted to learn more first hand about what the best conditions for learning are, and in particular, be there in the moment when you witness young minds make sense of something for the first time on their own terms.

What it is:
The Lab was installed at Churchfield School in South London and was visited by many other local schools. 10 pieces of Primitive Streak were displayed and the figure called Amygdala, a part of Mental that is A 7ft high book which you can walk into and add your own thoughts and emotions to the pages. A catalogue of the Lab’s outcome was produced.

On one of the visits 3 teachers from Thomas Tallis School came to the Lab; between them they represented the arts and biology. Inspired by the visit and its impact on their students, they decided to set themselves a challenge and set up “Teacher Exchange”. The science teachers would deliver the art curriculum and the art teacher the science.

What it is doing now:
“Teacher Exchange” was a great success and has led to other teachers within the school carrying out the same cross-curricular exchanges. In many ways it has contributed to ‘whole school change’ and evidenced the power of creativity naturally in action across different subject domains. The documentary made of their experience and it’s impact on teaching and learning is being distributed across the UK. The “Creative Lab“ concept has been extended to the East Midlands, serving Nottingham, Derby, Mansfield and Bolsover and Leicester. In Bristol, artist Kamina Walton has taken on the concept and exhibiting work in a hospital has delivered it through her own work on mental health.

Estelle Morris MP, Helen and students working in Lab. Photo by Pinny Grylls
“It really was a pleasure to see such innovative work. It’s taking risks and crossing boundaries – which is exactly what Creative Partnerships is about!”
Estelle Morris MP, February 2005