Each year, Tate Exchange offers us the opportunity to work closely with the Plymouth College of Art as a continuum of creative learning. It gives an opportunity to take our work to a new audience in Tate Modern, see new possibilities and take feedback from invited guests, as well as members of the public who are interested in the learning we are making. This year saw groups from Phases Two, Three and Four submit proposals to the selection panel. Those who were successful displayed exceptional qualities such as curiosity, responsibility and a positivity towards trying to improve the world they are growing up in. The theme for the four days was Social Justice: Propositions for Change.

Social Justice, Student Voice, Tate Exchange

A group of Phase 4 students held recorded discussions in a central inflatable pod, drawing out opinions and views from visitors about what school is, what it should be and how we might all make it better for young people in Plymouth. This work is contributing to a piece of research, showing that young people’s voice can be central to learning and change. On Friday a group of PhotoMedia students took TiNT Magazine to Tate, challenging visitors to think again about representations of young people. This material is now being edited and prepared for publication in their magazine at the end of term.

Yr 10 Photomedia student Indie said “ I loved interacting with members of the public and hearing their opinions about our project”

Cass Bisco Photomedia lead said “ The students were very well prepared. It was lovely to see their confidence when interacting with the other students and public. They gathered a lot of high quality primary material ready for their entry to the Shine Awards this year.”

From Phase 3, Logan reflected, “the experience of showing people our work was great. Some of them were really interested in our work and were fascinated by what we were doing for the ocean.” Sue Swift, lead teacher for the Phase 3 group noted, “personal leadership and taking initiative as the students naturally stepped up. They knew they had permission to adapt and change to respond to the public as they got involved.”

Media Technician Hannah Miles said ” It was a wonderful creative whirlwind of activity for our students and staff at Tate Exchange this year. Students really explored and played with, how the concept of social justice is relevant to them. They confidently debated and discussed this with Art College students and members of the public- really challenging visitors to have a voice in their discussion and pull apart and explore issues of generational perception and representation.

Yr 10 Photomedia student Lula said “It was really nice to be working with students from Plymouth College of Art and doing similar work to them; they’ve got projects they were talking about too, they were talking to people and getting members of the public involved like we were….it was a really welcoming space”

Ian Crowford led the Phase Two contribution;”It’s not often you get to see a group of Phase Two children captivating a space in one of the most prestigious galleries in the world. It’s not often, but it’s not surprising. Our students brought the fifth floor space to life at the Tate Modern with ‘propositions for change’ across a whole range of equality issues. They challenged adults to think about issues such as gender, race and disability. One adult said ‘your students are amazing, they’ve brought this space to life!’.

What was equally fantastic, was seeing our young people working alongside established figures to further their projects, and their depth of knowledge. We had one of our students Kodai play saxophone with ‘Refugees of Rap’ who were also interviewed by students. Activist and artist Benoit Bennett worked alongside one of our students looking at the future for immigrants post Brexit.

Yet another example of the possibilities that can be realised through art and conversation.
“Well done and thanks to all involved.” Matt Bisco

To look back on some of the moments from Tate Exchange, search for #tateexchange #MakingLearning on social media platforms.