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The two artists we are lucky enough to have assisting Nils Norman on the playground project are Fern Thomas and Imogen Higgins. Fern will be investigating the archives and collections at St Fagans in order to find inspiration and stories for the new play area. Fern's own practice is based in research and she has previously had a solo show investigating the history of the Mission Gallery in Swansea, entitled When the moon fell out of orbit: from the Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands

Imogen is a recent graduate from the ceramics course in Cardiff Metropolitan although her work has since developed to be more community focused and inspired more by land art. Imogen will be working with community groups and visitors to collect ideas and suggestions to feed into the design.

We hope both supporting artists will be able to share their work, discoveries and experiences as the project progresses.

So in my last post I was talking about how we have Nils Norman to design our new play area for St Fagans, I also mentioned that we were going to work with community groups and visitors in order to get their input into the play area. Last night I got my regular email from the amazing Playscapes website which was all about how to engage kids and community in playground design, super timely!

This is something we have been considering quite a lot - we want to engage our visitors and local communities, but how do you get children to talk about what they would like to see in a play area if all they've ever seen is a 'traditional' play area with swings and a slide? the article on Playscapes suggests asking the following questions to children:

What is the most dangerous, scary places you have ever gone?

Where would you like to go alone?

Where would you like to be right now?

What do you do that your parents tell you not to try?

What is the highest you have ever climbed?

Where do you go to be alone? To be with friends?

What is the silliest thing you have ever done?

What games do you invent?

How great is that? they also had a list of questions for adults, one of which was:

What value or sensation do you want your kids to experience: e.g. risk, fear, failure, satisfaction, accomplishment, beauty, tranquillity, action?

We want this playground to be different, we want a space where there can be risky play but there can also be quiet, contemplative play, a play area where children can enjoy creative play and a space that is open to be used in different ways. Of course overall we want it to be fun, a play area for plays sake.

Any thoughts please share - What is the highest you have ever climbed?

If you are a regular visitor to St Fagans you may have noticed:

a. The big red crane

and

b. the play area has gone.

The big red crane is obviously temporary as all the building work goes on for the new and improved St Fagans, and luckily the lack of a play area is also temporary as we are BUILDING A NEW ONE! not only that we are building a new one with Nils Norman - an artist who has been working extensively around play for a number of years.

Although Nils has been on board for a good few months now (with support from Arts Council Wales and the Heritage Lottery Fund), it has taken a while for the project to get going as there is so much organising to do beforehand!

We also needed to appoint two supporting artists to work on the project with Nils which we did at the end of last year. These support artists will be helping with research as well as community engagement. We want the play are to be unique, bespoke to St Fagans, accessible to all ages and abilities, create links with the collections, is fun and is also a work of art. To do this the artists will be undertaking lots of research - looking through our archive and stores, as well as holding workshops for community groups and visitors into what kind of play area they would like to see.

They are currently at the research stage which will take a few months, Nils will then provide some drawings, we will *all* have a look at them and report back and then all going to plan the actual construction will start towards the end of this year, with a finished play area for spring next year! (don't hold me to those dates)

If you have any ideas, or if you have seen some great play areas, please let me know. This is such an exciting project which I will keep you updated on as it progresses. Next post, i'll introduce you to our supporting artists.

For more information about Nils Norman's work, visit his website

- Closing date for registration now extended to Friday 19 February 2016

 

New Competition Category – Best Digital Project!

Each year the Welsh Heritage Schools Initiative Committee invites all schools in Wales to enter heritage projects in a nationwide competition.
 
The word "heritage" is interpreted in the widest sense, to include people and their social history, religion, traditions and culture; the world of work, agriculture, industry, finance, commerce, science, technology, arts and sport.
 
Full details of the competition can be found here.

Brand New Digital Project Category! Sponsored by People’s Collection Wales
 
People’s Collection Wales is a fantastic website packed full of fascinating photographs, sound recordings, documents, videos and stories about the history and heritage of Wales and its people.

To Enter The Digital Project Category:
 

  1. Choose a topic that links to ‘Heritage’ and enter the WSHI Competition                                                                                                    
  2. Complete a project that includes digital material
  3. Upload your project onto the PCW website
  4. You could Win a Prize for your school!
     

For more details visit the People's Collection Wales website Support & training on how to use People’s Collection Wales is available for FREE!
 
Click here to enter

To enter the Competition please submit the entry form by 19 February 2016. Completed projects will be judged 18 April – 6 May.


 

Welcome back Bulb Buddies,

I hope you enjoyed your holidays! How are your daffodils and crocus? Before we broke-up for Christmas a number of schools had written to tell me that their daffodils and mystery bulbs had begun to show above the soil! How are yours getting along? You can update me on how much your plants have grown by adding to the ‘comment’ section when you send in your data. It’s always exciting when you see the first shoots begin to show!

Last year the average flowering date for the Crocus was the 7th of March and the average flowering date for the Daffodil was the 16th of March. The first flowers were reported in early February, but they may appear even earlier this year.  So keep an eye on your plants because it won’t be long now! Remember to measure the height of your flowers on the day they bloom. We will then look at all the dates and heights recorded to find an average date and height and this will help us to spot any changing patterns when we compare our findings to those of previous and future years.

Remember flowers need sunlight, warmth and water to grow. Last year saw less rain and lower temperatures than 2014 and as a result plants flowered slightly later. What has the weather been like where you live? Do you think our flowers will bloom earlier or later than they did last year? 

I look forward to seeing your data this week! 

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies, 

Professor Plant

Your comments, my answers:

Prof Plant: There was a lot of news about the weather before and during the Christmas holidays. It was very interesting to read comments about how the extreme weather was affecting you. We have had a few comments about flooding from schools across the country. Thank you for sharing your stories:

Arkholme CE Primary School: A very, very wet week. Some local flooding, the playground was under water and our football match was cancelled.

St. John the Baptist Primary School: On Wednesday we didn't get out to play because of the rain and it is getting cold!

Staining C of E Voluntry Controlled Primary School: We have had local floods in Staining

Ysgol Rhys Prichard: River Bran flooded Monday and Thursday evening causing roads closed and cars rescued by the fire brigade.

 

Mellor Saint Mary CE Primary School: Internet down due to flooding.

 

St. John the Baptist Primary School: Storm Desmond made it very wet here and our pupil who lives near the Clyde had to put sandbags on the path near the river. The Clyde burst its banks near Ikea and flooded the motorway. Even though it has been quite mild this week, it was snowing in Lanark on Monday and we had hail here today - it is getting colder.

 

Ysgol Pentrefoelas: Cawsom lawer iawn o law dros gyfnod y Nadolig gyda llifogydd yn lleol. Tymheredd cynnes am yr adeg yma o'r flwyddyn.

 

Coppull Parish Primary School: On Tuesday we found a piece of ice in the rain gauge! It must have been cold!!! One day it was raining a lot and we had to bring an umbrella!!!We love doing this project and we wish you good luck on it.xxx

Prof Plant: Hi Coppull Primary, I’m glad to hear you are enjoying the project. Did you wait for the ice to melt to take your rain fall reading? Did you compare the volume of ice to the volume of water once it had melted? If so, what did you find? Ysgol Pentrefoelas also reported ice in their rain gauge: Ysgol Pentrefoelas: Bore oer a wedi rhewi Dydd Llun (dwr wedi rhewi yn y twmffat).

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Another cold and wet week observed this week! We had a light dusting of snow Saturday morning!!!We have spotted our bulbs in the ground have started to poke through the soil...

Prof Plant: Exciting news about your plants growing Stanford in the Vale Primary! A few other schools have reported seeing their first shoots, including St Joseph’s Primary and Wormit Primary.

Stonehouse Primary School: We are doing this by ourselves now.

Prof Plant: Fantastic Stonehouse Primary, you are doing a very good job!

Shakespeare Primary School: Dear professor plant, we have had so much fun going outside during lessons. We have been running up and down the field.

Prof Plant: I’m glad you are enjoying the project Shakespeare Primary. You can learn anywhere and I hope being outside caring for the plants and studying the environment around you is helping to bring your lessons to life.

Wormit Primary School: Four of our pots have been vandalised at the weekend. We are going to ask parents to keep an eye out and ask our community policewoman to help as well.

Prof Plant: I’m sorry to hear that your pots have been vandalised Wormit Primary. Especially as I know how excited you were to see your first shoots before Christmas. I hope this won’t happen again. Your plants are very robust so hopefully they will still grow.

Stonehouse Primary School: When we came back after the holidays our water container had blown over and we think it had overflowed. A tree in our school garden has also blown over.

Prof Plant: Hi Stonehouse Primary. You must be having really windy weather if trees are being blown over! Did you think the rain gauge was overflowing because there had been a lot of rain? You could look at the MET office website to see the rainfall rate over the holidays: http://wow.metoffice.gov.uk/

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: When we came back after the Christmas holiday our polytunnel had blown down so the bulbs had not been protected from the weather. However, they were all fine and many of them are showing shoots. The daffodils in the bed are all showing shoots and are already bigger than those in the pots. There has been so much rain that the ground is now getting very muddy. We will have to bring our wellingtons to school so we don't get too dirty!

Prof Plant: Hi Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary. I’m sorry your polytunnel blew over, it must have been very windy! I’m glad your plants were Okay. They are very hardy and should be fine in all kinds of weather as the soil provides a warm layer protecting the bulbs from the cold. I’m glad to hear your plants have started growing. Why do you think the plants in the ground are growing quicker than the plants in pots? Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies.

Pontrhondda Primary School: Hello Professor Plant Over the Christmas holidays our class plants have been growing as well as they could be growing. The rainfall and tempriture has been ok over Christmas. How have you been over the holidays.

Prof Plant: Hi Pontrhondda Primary, I had lovely holidays thank you. I hope you did too. I’m glad to hear your bulbs are doing well. Keep up the good work!

St. Brigid's Primary School: Primary 7 were at Kilbowie this week, Primary 6 stepped up to the challenge to record this week’s results.

Prof Plant: Hi Primary 7, thank you for arranging for the weather readings to be taken while you were away. Thank you and well done to Primary 6 for recording the data! Maybe you will be taking part next year?