Play By Ear
The Markfield Organisation in Tottenham is an inclusive community centre where disabled, deaf and autistic children and adults can meet and play.
On May 8 this year, as part of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Outreach Plan developed by the Sculpture program, eight Sculpture students from the RCA were invited to ‘takeover’ one of the Open Saturdays at the community centre. Open Saturdays are a monthly club inviting all service users, families and carers to the centre to eat a big meal, socialise and make use of their outdoor space; the day is quite fun and the Markfield staff usually cook a massive meal and have some play activities outside such as organic gardening.
Within a proposal named Play by Ear, we cooked Vegan shepherd's pie, salad, vegetarian pizza and brownies, people kept coming back for refills and the whole room smelled delicious and warm.
In the huge adventure playground we ran art-related workshops, we had great conversations with children aged 4-16 while creating collective large-scale paintings. We also presented a group exhibition composed of 2 parts. In Part 1: Jasper Garvida displayed a series of paintings in a solo show in a shipping container. In Part 2: laminated A3 works were showcased around the playground of community-based art projects each of us previously participated in.
The experience was useful for the centre, we received great feedback from the experience. Staff workload was lightened during our collaboration, which was one of our core objectives. It also had an effect on the students, it shaped our work and strengthened relations as a cohort.
Above all, Play by Ear reflects on the type of practices and community engagement from the Royal College of Art we would like to encourage.