For some time Kelmscott has taken a conscious decision to adopt a creative approach in addressing some safeguarding issues within the school environment. A number of public art pieces have been devised that the students have helped to create and install. These projects help students to feel more comfortable in talking about difficult topics and ultimately help to achieve the aim of keeping young people safe.
During a training session Kelmscott staff heard Hibo Wardere's account of how she survived FGM. Hibo had undertaken workshops on FGM with our year 10's, I thought the work they produced would translate well into t-shirt slogans. Hibo was very enthused by my t-shirt idea and obtained funds for us to carry out the first initial project of silk screen printed t-shirts during a one day workshop involving approx 40 students. From this there was a fashion show and conference with two other schools and safeguarding professionals in the borough (the first of it's kind). Perspex logo's made, leaflets designed by year 11's students, a mural developed with a local artist Emma Scutt and a film which has been viewed over 1000 times on You Tube and is endorsed by Hibo on her numerous social commentaries of her work.
We have, through this process worked closely and extensively with Sarah Vallois, an education consultant for the borough and Hibo, even visiting the House of Commons to show the work of the students.
Watch our video on FGM created by Kelmscott Students and Mrs Dempsey
Message in a Bottle
Message in a Bottle
Site specific art made with students to highlight the use of and change of language towards the refugees who were making the treacherous journeys with their families in a bid to feel safer.
The work went up in the evening and came down a week later allowing students some time to read and discuss the articles that were glued to the bottles.
A suitcase was left in reception, students were asked who it belonged to and what should go in it. Students decided that it belonged to someone fleeing their home which was unsafe due to war.
The suitcase mysteriously filled with belongings and a life jacket and a poem was written on the side, composed by students Olivia Stanford Robertson, Gabriel Maharaj and Sarthak Sharma.
It has since made a reappearance at St Barnabas as part of their Art trail.
Year 10 students stayed into the night to install this piece with Mrs Dempsey which was to highlight the situation where young people were being groomed to leave their family for Syria. This was part of our campaign to get students talking.
The idea was that no one knew who put it up and then it would disappear after a few days.
In a survey which was taken most students expressed an interest in the piece and spoke about a range of topics including bullying, teenage issues at home and online grooming. The work itself was inspired by Martin Creed.