In 2018, as part of Amersham Museum’s People’s Story of Amersham in the 20th Century project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, our Learning Officer Georgina and local community artist and schools practitioner Anna Schofield of Anna’s Funky Art, worked together with Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School in Chesham Bois to create a tiled mural celebrating key moments in the school’s history and setting these within the context of local and national historical events. Students from years 4, 5 and 6, some of whom had been visited by Amersham Museum in the past for sessions on traditional toys and local history, took part in workshop days to create these permanent pieces of art to decorate the school.
The project came from a desire to promote an ongoing relationship between the school and Amersham Museum, as well as to encourage students to visit the museum outside of school to learn more about the history of the local area. The concept of a collaborate tiled mural was inspired by a photographic timeline developed by the school which tells the story of how the school was originally founded during the Second World War by a group of nuns who brought a number of evacuee children to Amersham, and the school’s history since then. The wish was also to give students the chance to develop their videography skills, with the hope that new multimedia content could be created to complement the existing timeline of photographs.
Each year group was treated to their own workshop day, which was split into two; one half with Anna, the artist, who would take the children through the process of coming up with their tile concept (using reference images for each time period to help inspire their designs) and designing their tile on paper, before transferring their ideas to the ceramic tiles (donated by Ceramica Tiles in Amersham on the Hill) using specialist ceramic pens, and the other half with Learning Officer Georgina, who taught the children how to plan and edit stock historic footage from the museum’s archive and newly shot footage of the tile-making sessions into short films. Each year group was given a different key date to focus on: 1945 (the year the nuns came to Chesham Bois and founded the school); 1991 (the year the nuns left the school); and 2018.
Following the tile-making workshops, the tiles were cured and mounted onto three large panels for display at the school. The final mural will be erected in the school hall in Spring 2019, for parents and pupils to admire henceforth as a reminder of the collaborative work between school and museum.
Georgina Barrett, 22/03/2019