August Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Welcome to our August newsletter; bringing you, we hope (!), a shaft of buoyant light in an otherwise grizzly British summer. It’s been a phenomenally busy month as we hosted end of term parties at our After School Clubs and bade a very fond farewell to our year 6 pupils, in addition to running a raft of enriching projects.  We’ve launched an upscaled Transitions programme following our pilot last year, supporting year 6 pupils from London Meed Primary School to manage expectations and potential anxieties around their graduation to Burgess Hill Academy. After School Club members are working on a heritage project filling a time capsule with messages, stories and recipes for future generations to discover, while we plan the relaunch of our Tuesday Club at Moulsecoomb Primary School welcoming year 3 – 6’s from the local community including Coldean and Bevendean.

We look forward to sharing more on these projects in coming months but for now, grab an ice lolly and read on for news on Monday Club sharing, our BrightSTAR residency at West Blatchington Primary and Nursery School and the inaugural run of our Hidden Histories programme at Patcham High School.

BrightSTAR at West Blatchington Primary and Nursery School

Back in March 2020, we dressed our lab at West Blatchington Primary and Nursery School, looking forward to welcoming pupils and staff to our third immersive, multi-sensory BrightSTAR installation, designed to inspire space themed writing in even the most withdrawn of wordsmiths. Control panels were wired, test tubes were disinfected and petri dishes filled with alien gloop.  And then….. lockdown!  So after a year on hold and with much anticipation, it was a joy to dust off the cobwebs, reconnect the satellite feed to Commander Eva Novak on the remote BrightSTAR space station and throw open the doors for our workshop leaders and volunteer story mentors to greet children from Nursery through to Year 6 in a series of creative sessions over the three month long residency.  Little Green Pig patron and award winning illustrator and writer, Nick Sharratt, beamed in for a final draw-along offering a masterclass in illustration technique with various briefs including imagining ten-eyed aliens, launching Tracy Beaker into space and conceiving what an intergalactic football match might look like.  If you haven’t already, have a read of Learning and Engagement Manager Nikki’s blog on the fantastic event here.
The value of the residency for pupils and staff alike couldn’t be understated; teachers were keen to feedback they would incorporate Little Green Pig’s model of group working into their practice and the notable participation of pupils who find it difficult to engage in the classroom inspired new ways of involving them. “I’m not going to lunch, I’m staying here to finish my story!” said George in Year 3 and just one of many responses from teachers included “This group is full of reluctant writers but they were all completely absorbed in the experience”.
We are grateful to the Fonthill Foundation for making the residency possible and enabling us to provide such a rich experience.
Hidden Histories 
Some months ago we were approached by Vicky Jarvis, Librarian at Patcham High School, who was concerned about how unrepresented authors of colour were on her bookshelves and interested to collaborate on a project that would redress this gap for the students.  At the same time, as we responded to world events and committed to increasing attention to diversity in our work and organisational strategy, playwright, screenwriter and Little Green Pig trustee, Suhayla El-Bushra conceived a programme of work based on themes of heritage, identity and migration under the banner Hidden Histories.

Writer and poet Akila Richards worked alongside multi-media artist Jade Hylton, involving thirteen pupils to tease out their personal stories, considering the qualities, beliefs and values; learnt or nurtured, that makes them who they are.  Through creative writing methodologies, drawing and clay modelling, the young people explored their identities which they’ll share with fellow pupils, staff, parents and carers in an exhibition curated within the school library when covid restrictions allow.  As part of the project, we’ve asked four authors and artists of colour to create masterclasses in their specialisms that broader audiences of young people can access to build their skills and confidence in writing.  Check the Little Green Pig Youtube channel over coming weeks for Jade’s tips on creating a self portrait with clay, Akila’s suggestions for writing about rituals, ceremonies and celebrations, poet & playwright Tanaka Mhishi’s advice on autobiographical writing, and graphic artist Inko Tai Akita showing us how to draw a Manga character.

Hidden Histories was made possible with funding from Arts Council England and the WE Foundation.

After School Club end of term parties and sharings
Parents and siblings joined Monday and Thursday club members at the end of term parties to look over the work they had produced in the last year, covering themes including creatures from the Originarium, their very personal superheroes and the values Little Green Pig embraces.  Lots of laughter, pride in showing their work and emotional goodbyes to the year 6 members who have been part of the Little Green Pig family for many years, made for a really heartwarming afternoon.  Wishing all our club members and volunteers a relaxing and happy summer, we look forward to welcoming new and returning members back in September.
And lastly…. Happy Anniversary to Arts Council England!
Arts Council England celebrate 75 years since they were awarded the Royal Charter to manage public spending on the arts.  Anthony Gormley described them as the ‘midwife of the creative future of the arts’ and certainly, we couldn’t hope to do what we do without them.  Proud to be #ACESupported, we wholeheartedly advocate alongside them on the critical importance of #culturematters!