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Indian experience days for UK schools

artcraft.jpgThese are days for schools in the UK. They enable a practical arts based experience of festivals, landscapes, stories and traditions from India:

Indian arts and stories:

These days focus very much on stories and landscapes from India and begin with a presentation which looks at the diverse landscapes and habitats of India and the diversity of wildlife and lifestyles that are found in India. The activities begin by story telling and listening to folk stories which are based on indian animals. We talk a bit about traditional story structures and the idea of solving a problem through a journey. The children then choose an animal for their story to focus on, and through a story circling process they create their own story, which leads them from forests, to mountains, to a river and agricultural land then to a city and finally back to the forest. They then work together to create an art work collage piece which illustrates their stories which includes all of these landscapes. Each class adds in their stories as the time goes on, and so the final collage includes the stories of every class. The collage is created by painting, cut out paper work or cloth, and also includes traditional block printing techniques to add detail and decoration. During the same day we can do rangoli activities, and some singing, dancing, music options.


Indian Harvest Festivals:

These days begin with a presentation about the South Indian harvest festival Makara Shankranthi (which is a fire festival involving a celebration of the Ragi harvest, celebrating the achievements of termites in their harvest, decoration of a termite mound, celebrating the animals that work with the harvest, and the food of the harvest feast). The activities then focus around the creation of a large collage piece, which illustrates parts of India which are involved in the harvest, worked on cloth or paper, which will be printed, painted and layered, and can involve the whole school, each class working on layered elements of the art work and all contributing in different ways. Some classes will work on the Indian landscapes and the structure of the collage, some will add animals and creatures from the different parts of India, and some will use traditional block printing techniques to add in details to the collage. The sessions can also include elements of stilling and yoga, listening to harvest songs and participating in a simple Garba style clapping harvest circle dance which is traditional of Gujarat, and creating small scale or large scale rangoli patterns using seeds, rice and lentils, as a celebration of the harvest.


Development and change in India:
These days are less about the arts and more about use of enquiry in Geography whilst learning about India. The purpose of the day is to enable an understanding of the multiplicity, diversity and changing nature of modern India. For these days we begin by doing some hide and reveal/ matching images activities where very diverse issues are found together in one photo. We then examine development issues by looking at images and use a compass analysis tool to assess wither the image is rural (villages and farms), urban (towns and cities), and whether the same images is "poor" or "rich" . They experience a process of surprise where they come to the realisation that very different contexts and situations are found side by side. This is then talked about. Finally the children choose two very different images, select three levels of enquiry questions to present their images through feelings, descriptions and suggested explanations of the changing images that they see.


The time in your school would clearly begin with a presentation of Divali celebrations in our area. (Divali feasts, lanterns, fireworks, dances, patterns,) and telling the divali story. Then if the whole schools works on a group collaborative clay sculpture, which would involve creating a fortress, from the divali story, with different layers for the seven walls (as per the story) and then each child makes a diya (lamp) from clay, which will be placed on the fort walls. We would then work on making lanterns or "Candiles" which involves bamboo work and painting onto butter paper for decorating it. Each child would therefore work on a collaborative peice with the rest of the school, a clay diya and a lamp of their own. We would also include elements from- Dancing, rangloli's, block printing, stilling, yoga, singing, The time could end with a performance style assembly where the lamps are lit, the songs and dances performed and each class can explain what they have done.

Costs and timings: We have set a rate of 250 pounds per day per facilicator. This means that if you have two of us from 9.00 till 3.15ish for one full day it would cost 500 pounds. This would involve an assembly and the start and end, and we divide up and work in different classes for four or five sessions through the day.

You can involve the whole school by: Having two of us in for a full day as described above, this is possible, but a bit of a squeeze. Two full days with two people would give us more options to involve the children in more activities. Alternatively you could have only one of us, but we would need at least two days in school- three days with one person would give more options but two days is doable.  A third option is you could have both of us, but divide the time into two or four half day activities.

So, to summarise:

One person one day = 250

Two people one day = 500

Two people half day = 250

One person half day = 125

We have to charge for transport and materials on top of this amount.  Usually the schools have paint and paper/ cloth as part of their art department which are easy to find and use, and we only charge for materials which need to be found especially like seeds and decorations for the rangolis, sponges for block printing- materials doesn't seem to be coming to much.

Please mail Imo and Kiran directly on to discuss how we can develop something which suits your school.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


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