‘Creativity On the Coast’ Education Workshops in Devon Schools
Following Sidmouth Sea Fest 2015, Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub CIC proposed to Devon County County to run a series of 10 educational workshops in primary and secondary schools in coastal locations across Devon. Awarded funding through the ‘Devon Education Fund’ programme, the ‘Creativity on the Coast’ workshops take the approach to informing young people about inshore, locally caught and seasonal fish that was developed at the Sidmouth Sea Fest events in 2014 and 2015 and through the EU TourFish project.
Led by local artist Coco Hodgkinson, the workshops use the Japanese ‘Gyotaku’* technique of fish rubbing to make prints of a range of locally caught fish on materials including t-shirts, calico bags, and flags. Pupils also take part in other activities including drawing the fish and making tile designs. The hands on activities educate children and young people about sustainable fish, and local heritage, and build confidence, widen knowledge and learning, and generate interest in and respect for the coastal environment.
Coco is joined at the workshops by Mary and Kay Bagwell from Sidmouth Trawlers, who discuss the different fish species and their life cycles off the Devon coast, and demonstrate preparation and filleting giving the children and young people and their classroom teachers an opportunity to participate. They cook the filleted fish with the children who sample, and love, them!
The printed t-shirts, bags and flags are kept by each class. And not just the children. The teachers love them too!
The workshops began in June 2015 and will be completed in March 2016. They have been incredibly well received by each school with a number of schools keen to book repeat sessions.
The schools visited include:
- Ratcliffe School, Dawlish
- Seaton Primary School
- Exmouth Community College
- Sidmouth College
- Beer Church of England Primary
- St John’s International School, Sidmouth
- WESC Foundation, Exeter
- Orchard Vale Community School, Barnstaple
- Sidmouth C of E Primary
*Gyotaku (Japanese 魚拓, from gyo “fish” + taku “rubbing”, sometimes seen as Goyotaku) is the traditional method of Japanese fish printing, dating from the mid-1800s. This form of nature printing may have been used by fishermen to record their catches, but has also become an art form on its own.