A needed interlude to a world of academia and a universe of words at the moment. Yesterday evening, I facilitated a “give it a go” workshop for Attenborough Arts Centre at the University of Leicester’s students union. The series of free workshops is an opportunity for students to basically give arts and crafts a try, whatever their level of skill or understanding.
University of Leicester is a familiar stomping ground as I studied a Masters in Art Museum and Gallery Studies there from 2006-7 . Whenever I go back to Leicester, I return with a sense of warm nostalgia and a smile on my face born from good memories and what I call “box of trust” (BXT), life-long and international friendships.
Last night’s workshop was only a short session (2 hours). I taught the basics of papercutting and book-making although, we ran out of time as everyone was so dedicated and engrossed in their papercutting…meaning the concertina books had to be given in (emergency) kits to take home and make themselves.
As usual (shown above), I brought along an array of Chinese traditional papercut as examples and handmade rice papers (some printed) for them to use. They loved these! As do I…mmmmmmmm the feel of handmade paper between your fingertips.
Funnily enough, four of the five participants were Masters students from the School of Museum Studies where I used to study! An opportunity to hear about their experiences, similarities and changes…also their aspirations for what comes after to see how it paralleled with my journey. The group delved into discussions of culture, travel and the influence of their backgrounds and home countries (UK, China, Hong Kong and Pakistan) on their education and potential future. For me, and my current research into transcultural and cross-cultural education, teaching and curation, I loved this dialogue as it was a chance to understand their experiences (both positive and negative) of their transition between global cultures or working with other cultures including studying with (international or home) students from other nations.
I am always intrigued as to how each papercut can be so unique from the stencil selection through to paper palette. Here are the beautiful designs they made. A big thank you to the participants for their conversations and connections. I’ll be facilitating a series of ‘Adventures in Art’ workshops with Attenborough Arts Centre from mid-April. Join me on Tuesday mornings 10am-12pm where you can find out more here.