Crossing Cultures

2004-2006

 

A creative partnership between young people, teachers and artists in Egypt and the UK; the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Bristol in England supported by British Council Egypt and London and Bristol City Council.

 

The schools involved were Hengrove Arts College in Bristol, El Mostakabal Experimental Language School in Cairo and Abdul Moneim Waassel Experimental School in Alexandria. 

 

In Egypt the project was under the auspices of the Egyptian Minister of Education and the Minister of Culture.

In the UK the project was under the auspices of Bristol City Council.

 

 

Overview of the project.

 

The overall theme the working group decided on was 'Journeys'. In the widest sense of the word these could be physical, metaphorical or inner. The theme was felt to be unifying and common to all yet open to free interpretation as appropriate to the individual artists art practice and methods of working.

 

In the UK we wanted to move away from the more traditional view of ancient pharonic artwork without losing a sense of Egyptian culture and in Egypt to look at more Fine Art centred projects to complement the very strong Craft based emphasis within the schools there.

 

It was decided to start the project with year 7 students, with the artists in both countries continuing with the same students into year 8. The practicalities of the workshops to be devised within the schools in consultation with relevant staff bearing in mind such strictures as timetabling, curriculum and room useage. It was envisaged that artists would each spend on average one day per week in the relevant schools for the duration of the project. Each group of workshops would be devised in discussion with Art staff who could advise on the suitability in relation to student groups and individuals as well as school facilities.

 

Over the course of the project there were three major planning and evaluation meetings, the first at the British Council, Cairo at the start of the project and the second at Hengrove Community Arts College in Bristol to evaluate the project to date and plan the finale exhibition.

A final evaluation meeting was held at Hengrove at the end of the project with representatives from both countries.

 

 

Nasser Elssamadisy the artist from Alexandria lead workshops in Bristol linked with an exhibition of his own Artwork at the Hengrove Art Gym Gallery.

 

A Video Conference took place between Monks Park School and The British Council, Cairo involving participants from both countries An e-group was set up online to allow participants to communicate and access documents and information.

 

A one day photographic project took place with all three participating schools exchanging the images which were all shown as a slideshow on a TV with selected prints at the final exhibition.

 

A major final exhibition took place at The Art Gym Gallery including students artwork from both countries and Ceramics by Hany Mandour.

 

Publicity included Times Educational Supplement, BBC Radio Bristol, Bristol Evening Post , British Council website and Al Amal Magazine.