Cultural Learning Alliance

Art should be the fourth ‘r’ alongside reading, writing and arithmetic

Sir Nicholas Serota
Director, Tate


Battle of the Bacteria

Battle of Bacteria is a large Arts and Science project that involved over 1,500 students from Castle High School & Visual Arts College, Blowers Green Primary School, Kates Hill Primary School, Jessons C of E Primary School, Priory Primary School, St Edmunds & St Johns C of E Primary School, and Wrens Nest Primary School.

The project provided the opportunity for the school communities, local artists, and the wider community to work collaboratively to explore and debate health issues concerning hygiene, bacteria and MRSA in creative and inventive ways. The project was coordinated by Jacqui Lord, Art Teacher at Castle High School.

The project took place over six months and has involved a large number of people. Twelve successful local professional artists were employed to work with the partnership schools to develop a wide range of exciting and engaging arts projects. These projects have challenged levels of misunderstanding and raised social awareness about bacteria and disease. The activities have explored the issues of both poor and good hygiene in a wide variety of art forms, including: Fine Art Practice, Sculpture, Installation, Textiles, Video, Animation, Graphic Design, Music, Drama, Performing Arts, Dance and Literature. The project has also encouraged science, literacy and mathematical links and further developments that have been successfully taken on board by the partnership school and implemented within other curriculum areas.

High focus was given to peer teaching and collaborative learning within the project. In January 2008 a project launch event was held to which 140 year 5 and year 8 students were invited. During the event Joe Moles, Science Consultant for Dudley, taught the students all about bacteria and hygiene. After taking part in a creative arts activity these students were then asked to develop projects that they could lead within their schools to teach their fellow students all about bacteria and hygiene. These mini projects were extremely successful and took place alongside the larger scale arts projects.

Year 9 students from Castle High School took an integral role in the organisation and development of the project. They organised and held interviews for applying artists and made an informed selection. They also helped hang the final exhibition and hosted the final showcase event. Large numbers of people viewed and participated in the final showcase performance and exhibition held at Dudley College.

The project was a great success and has impacted across the curriculum in many different ways that were not originally anticipated. Different subject areas were brought together as a result of the project and others came up with their own innovative ways of linking into the Arts/Science collaboration.

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