School Studio: Structure, Restructure – School Project 2023
About this project
School Studio: Structure, Restructure is our major project with secondary schools in 2023.
Since 2019, The Mosaic Rooms has worked with students at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School and Kensington Aldridge Academy to widen students’ experience of art, to include makers and art forms typically neglected in mainstream curriculums. These artist-led projects enable students to use the artistic process to explore situations and issues affecting their lives
Throughout Spring 2023, textile artist Aya Haidar collaborated with Year 12 students at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School to explore the power structures which govern their lives, and ways they could creatively subvert them. Their response was to embroider meaningful words or symbols onto patches of cloth, then covertly stitch them into their own school uniforms – as a form of ‘silent protest’, similar to those generated under restrictive regimes across the world.
At the same time, interdisciplinary artist Nia Fekri collaborated with students at Kensington Aldridge Academy to reflect on the power structures which govern their lives, and to envisage alternatives to them. Fekri worked with Year 12 students to explore experimental approaches to film making, and how the medium can be used as a space for reflection.
About the artists
Aya Haidar graduated with a BA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, during which she completed an exchange program at School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She then went on to graduate with an MSc in NGOs and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Aya’s current work focuses on the recycling of found and disposable objects making poetic works that explore labour, displacement, domesticity, womanhood and memory, with a particular focus on the Middle East through the histories contained within aged, and culturally specific objects. Aya has been involved in numerous social engagement projects, including Deveron Projects residency program, Mosaic Rooms’ Together Apart: Lockdown Diaries, Cubitt’s Out of Service, INIVA’s A Place for Conversation, V&A’s Record, Resist, Reframe, Tate’s Illuminating Cultures program and INIVA’s Emotional Learning Cards, as well as being selected for Hans Ulrich Obrist and Hoor Al Qasemi’s Do It Arab project (2016).
Nia Fekri is an Iranian-British multidisciplinary artist and educator working primarily with moving-image, writing and performance. She received a BA from Slade School of Fine Art. Her work often deals with modes of storytelling in conversation and the ways they structure everyday realities and fictions. She is driven by need to register the fragmentary and ghostly nature of immigrant experiences, familial relationships and intimate spaces. As an educator and facilitator, Nia’s focus is on collaborative storytelling, speculative exercise through a variety of mediums. Her most recent projects have been in collaboration with UCL Art Museum, The Mosaic Rooms gallery and the British Film Institute.
Rosie Thwaites works as Project Manager on the project. Rosie is a creator of content for children – written, visual, multimedia and educational. She has made content for schools, charities, television and online. Her work is informed by her solid background in teaching and arts-education programme management. Rosie studied Fine Art BA at Goldsmiths. After completing a PGCE in 2003, she taught Art and Design in the state sector for 5 years (at secondary school level). In 2007, she joined the Royal Drawing School to create a London-wide arts-education programme providing intensive engagement with art for deserving young people aged 10-18.
She now creates education content for clients such as The Mosaic Rooms, Ragdoll Production Company, Children’s Story Hour, and The New School. She was long-listed for the World Illustration Awards in 2022.
Image: School Project 2022, Between Here and There with Harold Offeh at Kensington Aldridge Academy. Photo by Nazia Moon