Recreating Fireworks in Schools (minus the gun powder)

EEA has been the leading light in outdoor arts since forming in 1980. We create unforgettable events and participatory experiences and our vision is to help transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Our outward facing work (a strand we call “It Can Happen Here”) typically involves 6 meter tall mechanical puppets, fireworks and mass participation events involving hundreds of people. This maybe an illuminated lantern procession, a parade or firework display… all of which take place in park or public space.

Our work tends to be made with communities alongside our team of Creative Practitioners and we’ll usually be found in non-traditional arts spaces. Carparks, street corners and fields become our playgrounds along with the community who we’re working with. A question we get asked a lot is “you blow a lot of things up and make things look beautiful…how that translate into the work you do in schools?”. For me, the answer is simple! We create spectacle…without the REAL fireworks. Our Learning & Participation programmes together mesmerising aesthetics, wonder and multi-sensory experiences that take place in places and spaces that where children live and learn. We have extensive experience in working collaboratively with schools, cultural organisations and the heritage sector to design and deliver bespoke creative projects which are designed to immerse participants in spectacles of all shapes and sizes, and enchant and delight audiences locally, nationally and internationally.

Schools are places of discovery, and learning should first and foremost be engaging and captivating, allowing children to exercise their imaginations, take risks and test out new possibilities and realities. School is often the first destination which children will experience culture and creative play, so we should go to where they are.

Instead of a pyrotechnic display in a field, we’ll install a Curiosity Cabinet in the hall. This act should have the same effect as the fireworks. We want to generate those golden “wow” moments and the “thing” (whether it’s a mysterious crate in the playground on a giant robot made from purple bins) is the spark which the teachers, participants and creative practitioners will nurture and fan to make the flames turn into wildfire of the imagination.

EEA 2019 will see the ambitious creative learning projects come into fruition, which includes our new current endeavour Flight of Fancy which will see primary and secondary schools create their own digital installations (housed in bird boxes). These installations contain animations which explore the theme of “my nest, my home” and once created they will tour to cultural spaces in London which will allow members of the public to “peek” into the bird boxes and in doing so, take a flight of fancy which has been dreamt up and crafted by the imaginations of young people.

During these challenging times of funding cuts, schools will remain our close allies. Together we can make mesmeric things happen, and in order to do that we need to create opportunity and share the tools to ensure a high quality creative education thrives and is owned and instigated by the teachers as well as the arts organisations/creative partners/artists.

Here’s to igniting more imaginations (and fireworks) in 2019 and beyond.

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