Drawing on the tradition of the call-and-response song, pupils’ creative writing and sound recordings, made on location in homes, markets, ports, and at their city’s monuments to slavery and freedom, question and answer each other.
You’ll hear bats swirl around the cotton tree and ducks being fed opposite the Wilberforce monument as you experience the pupils’ journey through their day in this immersive exhibition of surround-sound recordings, photography and writing. The result is a poetic and acoustic bridge connecting pupils’ homes and illuminating cultural differences.
The project was devised and curated by Sea Swim in partnership with Global Learning, the International Pupil Council and Hull UK City of Culture 2017.
John Wedgwood Clarke, poet and co-artistic director at Sea Swim, said: “We wanted the children to listen to the city, but beyond that, we were there to support them artists and curators. We looked for things we might have in common with Freetown, the port, markets and monuments, and explore the differences and similarities through poetry, interviews sound-recordings, editing and curating. They loved exploring parts of the city that hadn’t visited before and using the facilities of the University of Hull.”
Lara Goodband, also co-artistic director at Sea Swim, then took the children to Ferens Art Gallery in Hull to learn about how to curate an exhibition of their own, including how to display their work and how to write interpretation cards to explain their work to people viewing it.
The exhibition will visit Sirius Academy West, Winifred Holtby and the Marvell College in Hull and will also be on display at the British Council building in Freetown.
Martin Green, Director of Hull 2017, said: “This exhibition highlights the power of art and culture to reach over the seas and connect people. These young people have not only had the opportunity to engage in cultural activities and learn new skills, but have learned what life is like for children in a country very different from our own and seen what makes our lives different and what makes us the same.”
Photographs of the children in Hull and Sierra Leone and available here. Images from Hull should be credited to Lara Goodband and images from Sierra Leone should be credited to Barmmy Boy.