empathy sculpting

Attendance: 9

Learning goals: To use sculpture as a visual tool for appreciating and building on the work of their peers

Activities: Everyone sat in a circle, and each person was given one or two minutes to sculpt anything they wanted out of clay – and then switch to the seat next to them to build on the work on their neighbor, so that at the end of the round, each sculpture was the work of all eight participants. This was a highly involved session, so we have fewer pictures than we would like.

Interesting projects: One started sculpting an elephant, and someone else added a mahout to the scene, while another added a ball for the elephant, creating a really interesting visual story. One dolphin turned into some three-finned shark or whale. While three people started with sea creatures, having sat next to each other, they eventually became very different at the end.

Insights/surprises: The generation of ideas were incredible; the kids really went with it and we thought it was really successful! We realised that it’s always better when we participate in the activities too, so that we can direct them better. At an introductory level, we think that timing is really important, music is always great for getting people excited, and keeping things general helps the kids get comfortable with new concepts.

Workshop feedback: Everyone really enjoyed the workshop – it was quite surprising how popular this workshop was, and how surreal the sculptures were at the end. Working with clay really helped them visualize idea in a really tangible, hands-on way.

Continuing challenges: Respecting other people’s work – at the start, the kids sometimes disparaged each others’ work and imposed their ideas on others, or tried to create something completely new. However, by the end it seemed like the kids really began to understand what the exercise was really about.

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