Creativity Beyond Words for Aylsham High School Students

Published : 12 Jul 2018

200 Year Eight students from Aylsham High School have created an exhibition in The Loft Gallery at Blickling Estate in response to the National Trust’s current art installation The Word Defiant! and it truly is Beyond Words…

Following a workshop led by award-winning Theatre Company Les Enfants Terribles who devised the installation, students have been exploring the importance of books, both in their own lives and in the world around them. The student’s experience has led them to question the value of books and the power that books can hold.

Books can be profound and life changing. Books can have a special place in our hearts that trigger fond memories and comforting moments. Books can disturb and provoke. Books can evoke emotions beyond the printed words utilised to describe events.

" All work in this exhibit has been created by Year Eight students from Aylsham High School.  All 200 students of the cohort have something here, but we give special thanks to 14 of our students on a committee that curated Beyond Words. We are very proud and amazed by what they have created!"
- Helen Homewood, Head of Art

Each student has identified a book that has left a lasting impression on them. Books range from early childhood memories to more recent reads that have spurred their interest and inspired them to read further.

In the first room of four, We Will Not Forget, has been inspired by the story of RAF servicemen and is an indelible promise by the students to remember these special books in their lives.

In the second room, The Workshop follows the journey the students went on with Joe Hufton, Associate Director at Les Enfants Terribles back in February. Using a mass of books that were due to be pulped, students were encouraged to redact, tear, drown and destroy - all acts responding to the issues and concepts explored in The Word Defiant! installations.  The photographs are images of artworks that were constructed out of the destruction.

Helen said: “It was fun! It was brutal! It was horrific and the school hall was an utter, chaotic mess! But students were encouraged to reflect. How did they feel about the act of destruction? In particular the destruction of a book! Is it right to destroy books just because someone that is seen to have more authority has told them to? Where have we seen this in history?  

The students then started to develop skills in the manipulation of paper and gained further inspiration from the artist Richard Sweeney who creates paper sculptures.”

A student assembling an art installation in the Forest Room
A student assembling an art installation in the Forest Room
A student assembling an art installation in the Forest Room

The Forest Room was created through a Year Eight homework assignment of altering books and refining classwork sculptures. Creativity took over and the committee student’s imagination went ‘Beyond Words’ to construct this room. The green glow was inspired by the blue bathroom of drowned books and the pink temple of forgotten books in The Word Defiant!

The last room speaks for itself. It contains pieces that the committee felt needed space to shine on their own, and they certainly do.

Beyond Words is open daily from 10am - 5.30pm in The Loft Gallery at Blickling Estate until Sunday 22 July. The Word Defiant! Trust New Art installation, highlighting the importance of the collection and the urgent fundraising need to conserve it, is open daily from 12 - 5pm until 28 October 2018.

For bookworms big and small...