As part of the Primary Capital Programme series of art commissions, artists Conway and Young have developed an art work for Compass Point Primary School, Bedminster, Bristol.
Conway and Young are developing a new work for Compass Point Primary School, taking the ideas of welcoming, getting lost and navigation as their starting points.
There are 23 languages spoken at Compass Point, and the process has been designed to acknowledge, investigate and celebrate this.
Through a series of workshops and visits, Conway and Young are working with the school to create new landmarks in the form of flags and playground markings.
The flags will be the centre piece of a new celebrant styled ritual for the school. At the beginning of the term after the end of the summer holidays, the Compass Point community will be invited to gather at the specially designed ‘flag assembly point’ where the new flags will be raised to signify the start of a new academic year. The raising of the flags will be accompanied by a performance from the school’s music and choir club, with an opportunity for others to participate.
A new song has been written in a workshop that was run with artist and musician Boff Whalley. This song will be reproduced in a handbook for use on the occasion of the flags being raised, and will include instructions for teachers to use in a class session to create simple annual costumes for the ceremony.
This annual ritual will last for five years. The use of the flags, song and performance aims to create a visible and shared identity, demonstrating the school and Children's Centre's pride in its diversity.
Jen Conway and Jessy Young have collaborated as Conway and Young since 2006. They work in an inter-disciplinary way as graphic designers, art-directors, curators and lecturers on commissioned and self-initiated projects. Their practice has a long-term interest in the relationship between people environment and learning.
Conway and Young's work employs graphic design in a number of ways, including; as a method for research and collaborative inquiry and more traditionally to give a physical form to communication. Taking both a discursive and material approach to the subject, the pair are concerned with designs critical and social potential to generate debate, interaction and exchange between people and communities. Projects often involve formal and informal collaborations with other people.
This produces a range of outcomes, which are process-led and responsive to context; from guided walks to specially brewed beer, from site-specific events to limited edition print, from temporary pedagogic spaces to publications, from live radio broadcasts to banners, from design fiction to designed environments.
Selected collaborators and commissioners include Leeds City Council, Bad Books, Brave New Alps, Learning from Kilburn, the Hyde Park Picture House, Mexico, Art +Power, Still Walking, The Culture Company, Ace Arts, Black Dogs Collective, The Feminist Archive South, Lionel Dobie Project Space, The HEA and Manchester School of Art.
Conway and Young are both senior lecturers on undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Design at the University of the West of England. They have a Masters Degree in Design and Art Direction from the Manchester School of Art, undertaken in collaboration.
Compass Point Primary School:
Compass Point South Street School and Children's Centre, South Street, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 3AU
Compass Point is located in South Bristol, with approximately 270 primary age pupils, 55 nursery children and 60 children's centre children.
Compass Point are a member of the South West Bristol Co-operative Learning Trust, together with three other local schools. Alongside the primary school, they have a nursery class, children's centre, breakfast club, and out of school club providing child care and education for all children between 0 - 11.
Compass Point's Children’s Centres offer information, advice and activities to support families with children aged 0-5 years. They offer a variety of universal and targeted services where they are needed, working with other professionals to compliment their services, not to replace what they offer to help families.
This commission is part of a series of public art commissions curated and managed by Arnolfini for the Primary Capital Programme (PCP); a Bristol City Council and LEP,(Local Educational Partnership) initiative designed to transform aging primary schools across England into state-of-the-art learning environments over the next 15 years. More information on Arnolfini’s involvement here.