Students create art for new Hebburn school
Nov 16 2010 by Ruth Lawson, The Journal
PUPILS set their creativity free to design artwork inspired by their school’s history.
Students at St Joseph’s RC Comprehensive School, in Hebburn, South Tyneside, pooled their artistic and historic skills to come up with a three-tiered picture to hang in the hallway of their new school building.
Three huge photographs of lilies, taken by year 13 photography student Aaron Addlington, have been transformed into an intricate mosaic using pictures and photographs collected by students, teachers and the local community.
In honour of St Joseph’s 50th birthday last year, staff wanted to incorporate some of the school’s history when they moved to their new state of the art building next door to the old site, on Mill Lane.
Pupils from all year groups were tasked with designing a feature that would make the most of the rich cultural and historical past of the school.
Sara Renwick, an art teacher who was heavily involved with the project, said: “A selection of students were chosen from history and art classes and they produced the design so it was a wide mixture of students with talents from different areas of the curriculum.” As part of last year’s birthday celebrations the school had already collected photographs from students, ex-pupils, teachers, parents and even grandparents, so they decided to incorporate the archive.
Mrs Renwick said: “They brainstormed ideas and the lily picture evolved because they wanted something that documented the school’s 50 years.
“We thought it would be great to use those pictures in an artwork then we decided that we would recapture the lilies because lilies are the symbol of St Joseph’s.”
The images included in the feature range from class photographs, 1980s school dances, volleyball matches and self-portrait drawings, all donated by past and present pupils and teachers.
Mrs Renwick added: “The artwork is really, really good, much better than I think anyone imagined it would be.
“And the sheer scale of it is huge and the fact that you have to get so close to see the images.”
All the artwork featured at St Joseph’s newly-built school was designed by Newcastle-based firm Ryder Architecture, who worked hand-in-hand with teachers and pupils to complete and erect the lily mosaic.
Georgi Rennison-Rae, designer at Ryder, said: “We always try to get schools involved where possible, and each time the results are unique.
“It was worth the team at Ryder spending time in the evenings scanning in the 2,000 or so photo’s provided by the school community, when the response to the finished result has been so positive.
“It’s nice to think that a small piece of local history has been compiled into this artwork.”
Rebekah Rees, who has taught history at St Joseph’s for five years, said: “The pictures are right from when the school opened up to modern times, and that was reflected in the artwork.
“It started with the old ones at the bottom and the more recent ones at the top.”