Over the last few months Kathryn, our chaplain at Colchester Sixth Form College, has been working with a group of IB students on an art project “Art is Spiritual”.
For an initial exploration of the subject we took the students across the road to St. Peter’s Church. Over hot drinks (it was pretty cold!) we began a discussion about art, spirituality and the origins of inspiration. We then let the surroundings speak for themselves as the students processed their thoughts and feelings through a drawing activity.
Because a church building is a rather obvious place to think about spirituality, the next stage was to continue the exploration somewhere that, on the face of it, has no spiritual connection. This led to a partnership with Firstsite, a splendid new arts facility in Colchester, and Jevan Watkins Jones, one of their resident artists. Over the course of a morning Jevan led the students in a series of investigations using a variety of media including chalk and paper, sand drawing and rice paper modelling.
By now a theme had emerged, “Vessel”, signifying the space in which spirituality interacts with the artistic impulse, which began to shape the subsequent interpretations of the overall brief, “Art is Spiritual.” Another workshop with Jevan, this time back at the college, explored how paper could be transfigured to reflect the spiritual.
The students continued working on their final pieces and just over a week ago everything came together for an exhibition on the college concourse. This project has been a great example for us of how the work of chaplaincy in the college can integrate into other aspects of college life. There will be more!