As evident from LSE Library’s archives, the School has had a long history of being a site for activism and campaigning for change — and now we are energising the next generation.
Over the Spring Term, fifty Year 5 pupils from Christ-Church Primary have taken part in an LSE Festival inspired project to engage with stories from LSE Library special collections and archives.
The students analysed the archives with LSE Library Learning & Engagement Officer, Chelsea Collison, and learned from past campaigns how people have become changemakers using visual art, poetry, and music to have their voices heard. With their newfound knowledge and help from artist Becci Kenning (Art in Transit) and community composer Tom Cook (Tom Cook Sound), the pupils then created their own portfolio of artwork that represents the changes they hope to see in the world.
From themes of anti-racism and disability awareness to environmental protection, these pupils have an enthusiasm for working as a team and a keen awareness of how to share their common goals with the wider world.
Phase 1 – What is an activist? How can art and archives inspire change?
During Phase 1, students explored what it means to be an activist. The class discussed why activism is important and looked at examples of how activism and art have worked together to make impacts, both large and small.
Examples from our collections:
After learning about how bold colour and simple images can communicate a message, looking at artists like Keith Haring, students set to work on designing “merch” to distill information.
Students also created large-scale artwork to send messages about anti-racism, children’s rights, disability awareness, and climate change.
Phase 2 – What needs changing?
During Phase 2, students analysed poetry and wrote some words of their own to begin exploring what issues mattered to them.
Community Composer Tom Cook visited the class where they went back into the archives to learn about protest songs of the past including “Chant Down Greenham Common” from LSE Archives.
With the help of Tom, the students wrote lyrics to two songs in one day and the following week performed the songs, along with their visual artwork to the Key Stage 2 cohort in their school.
Don't Fit In Stand Out
Earth Comes First
Phase 3 – Our activism, Our Art
In our final Phase students looked at text-based activist art and were inspired by the artist Bob & Roberta Smith to create imagery that emphasised key lyrics from their songs. These works will be on display at LSE Festival.
LSE Festival 17 June 2023
We had such a great time at our LSE Festival event! Here are some photos from the day.