Artists carefully managed time and space
The norm in schools is for time and space to be tightly organised. The day is organised into lessons, the building into various general and teaching spaces. This organisation allows for the sharing out of resources, and ensures that all students have access to the teaching that they need.
Artists on the other hand, often worked in open spaces. If in classrooms, they moved the furniture around. They more often took over halls, gymnasia, drama rooms and outside spaces, sometimes in multiple venues. Alternatively, they also sometimes needed highly specialized spaces and equipment; if these were not available in schools they either brought in what was required and made portable facilities, or they went outside the school.
Artists often worked in blocks of time taken out of the regular timetable – a regular morning per week, a week at the end of term, a whole day spent on an activity. When working as artists-in-residence, timetables often had to be semi-permanently changed in order to accommodate the need for students’ sustained engagement in a creative activity.
However, these spaces and times were managed. Activities were bounded within large spaces. Students worked in circles, in groups, they moved from one activity space to another. Students were also allowed personal space within group activities. Time was flexible, but artists always knew what they needed to accomplish with the time available. They also understood that sometimes students needed variety in activities, and at other times they needed extended working time. Within this, individual students might need variations in time-space organisation in order to help them achieve the task to the highest level.
- Artists were flexible in the pacing of activities
- Artists deliberately set up routines
- The body was a site of learning, not just the mind
A selection of videos from our Vimeo channel on carefully managed time and space can be viewed below.