BrightSTAR: a report by Major Ottilie, Space Artist

Photograph taken by Simon Dack – 8th March 2018

Every week since January, the LGP team have been donning spacesuits for an intergalactic residency at Moulsecoomb Primary School, BrightSTAR (Brighton Space Training and Research academy). Working with retail design consultancy Sherlock Studio we have transformed two classrooms into an interactive space station, complete with Mission Control centre, Bio-Lab and Star Simulator. Each child in the school is getting the chance to attend a workshop in BrightSTAR, writing stories about outer space inspired by the environment and supported by experienced workshop leaders, illustrators and volunteer story mentors.

One of our talented illustrators, Ottilie Hainsworth, recently beamed back the following transmission:

I recently spent two fabulous mornings with years one and two at Moulsecoomb Primary School’s astronaut training centre, BrightSTAR. On the first morning I was on meet and greet duty when 6 year old Anita announced with authority “It’s not real because we can’t train to be astronauts: we’re just kids, and we haven’t even been to university.” Some of the other kids looked as if they agreed with Anita, but as they entered one by one through the atmospheric silver entry hatch, were assigned with their own official lanyard, and began to explore the space station with its scientific samples, physical training area and panels of mysterious equipment, curiosity got the better of these young space cadets. 

When an urgent communication came through from Chief Commander Eva Novak, the children worked hard, writing postcards in their groups, which as Space Artist, I illustrated. There was a fire-y planet with a castle on it, a purple and pink haired alien and another with 70 eyes! (I explained that some of its eyes were on the back of its head, and one little boy turned over the paper to look for them.) A nurturing, supportive atmosphere meant that the quietest child felt brave enough to read out his postcard to the group. By the time we counted down to blast off (each child having qualified), we were all flying. A quality immersive and imaginative Little Green Pig experience in school. 

Illustration by Ottilie Hainsworth

After Easter, we are opening up BrightSTAR to visits from other schools. Each visit includes a 2-hour workshop with an experienced workshop leader, professional illustrator and team of volunteer story mentors. At the end of the workshop, each child will leave with their own Bright STAR writing log book to take away, with space themed activities and pages for them to continue their stories.

For more information about prices and dates, please contact Adam Webb.

Photograph taken by Simon Dack – 8th March 2018