During her residency Imogen was required to worked with a team of artists in the designing of a new children’s playground. During this four month project Imogen’s role was to engage with the community and provide workshops and interactive brainstorming sessions exploring the expectations and preferences of both the parents and children of the community.
The first set of workshops Imogen led were for children with learning difficulties from woodlands primary school. These workshops were focused on identifying, replicating and creating patterns. By instigating these workshops Imogen hoped to gain a greater understanding of what patterns the children reacted to more in terms of colour, shape, and subject so that they might be featured in the final design of the playground.
The workshops Imogen led included a walk and draw session around St Fagans to take in patterns and rubbings throughout the museum, a pottery workshop creating patterns in clay and a pavement painting workshop to explore the impact of floor interventions in play.
The second lot of workshops were created for a large parent and child group of many different ages and abilities. For this group Imogen was heavily influenced by the article called ‘Do we Know How to get Information’ by Susan G. Solomon. In her article she lists the following questions for children;
What is the most dangerous, scary places you have ever gone?
Where would you like to go alone?
Where would you like to be right now?
What do you do that your parents tell you not to try?
What is the highest you have ever climbed?
Where do you go to be alone? To be with friends?
What is the silliest thing you have ever done?
What games do you invent?
These questions were formulated to help move conversations with children regarding playgrounds away from swings and slides and into more uncharted territory. To explore these questions Imogen conducted a series of drama exercises which had the whole group acting out strange imaginary scenarios stimulated by the children. Imogen also initiated experimental big draw activities that asked the children to pick an exhibition (building) within St Fagans and transport it to anywhere there imagination could dream up.
The final activity that Imogen delivered to the group was a interacting survey where pictures of playgrounds were spread over the floor of a large hall and the children were asked questions relating to Solomon’s article “which playground would you like to play in alone/with friends” etc. This exercise Proved to be very successful in extracting information in a fun interactive way.
During her time at St Fagans Imogen gained much knowledge and experience with working with children and research based community art.