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Creative Partnerships

April 20, 2011


One of the Creative Partnership projects I was involved with recently was in Buttsbury Juniour School in Billericay, where I was chosen (by the children, no less) to come on board for a series of literacy workshops with Royal Opera House CP.

I worked alongside poet, playwright and workshop leader, Joseph Coehlo, bringing an illustrator’s slant to the proceedings, in a series of one day workshops with the two yr 4 classes, which involved show-and-tell, pop-up creations and making books.


The idea for a collapsible cardboard toolbox came out of the planning meeting – hit the kids with a pop-up on a grand scale to prepare them for the paper engineering workshops to follow. It would also function as a container and a focal point, getting across the idea of writing and illustrating skills as tools.

The box made it’s way to the school ahead of me – so I was there in spirit before my actual arrival.


The children, when I did meet them, were an extremely enthusiastic bunch and it was so much fun to show my books and talk about my work. They also produced some brilliant pop-up books of their own. Below are some images of the work in progress.


We even managed to fit in a ‘live drawing’ session alongside Joe’s poetry and storytelling
with the year 3s.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Lorna permalink
    April 21, 2011 3:19 pm

    Very impressed with the work you have done here – and I’m sure the class and teachers found it a very worthwhile session. It looks really creative, fun, and with lots of individual learning going on. It must have taken a great deal of prep. to get such wonderful results.
    Well done.

  2. April 22, 2011 10:55 am

    It was a really intense, hugely enjoyable few days. I tried to get the children to think creatively, rather than follow step-by-step instructions, so they would continue to work on their pop-up books long after I had left the premises. I was very pleased to hear that most of them, in fact, did this.

    Big shame about the Creative Partnerships situation, though!

  3. Alison Allen-Gray permalink
    April 25, 2011 10:33 am

    This looks amazing, John. I wonder if the Royal Opera House will recruit some stage set builders of the future from this workshop? Yes, it’s a serious erosion of opportunities for kids when schemes like these get axed.

  4. cottringer permalink*
    April 28, 2011 8:41 pm

    Fab John! Wish I was a kid at one of your sessions. I wanted to know more!

    • May 23, 2011 9:27 am

      Thanks, Anne, it can only really come together if the kids are all onboard. I must have done something right, as they’re using the remainder of the budget to get me back again. They want me to make a special pop-up creation for a book they’re having printed.

      By the way, I met a close london friend of yours at Carnival Arts CP forum day in Luton – SM – she said to say hello.

      Also, loved your little film – I want to do one!

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