The Aims of the National Curriculum at Key Stages 3 & 4 together with the Dimensions: Diversity and Identity, and Creativity and Critical Thinking formed the starting point for this project. If the students could be creative they would be more successful learners, if they took managed risks they would be more confident and if the project encouraged students to appreciate the benefits of diversity, they would become more responsible citizens understanding the world and their place in it. Through these aims, students in this case study and Teachers TV video address the issues of identity on an individual, local and national scale.
The task was to redefine an object's function to visually complete the message 'Dear Alien, We are a group of people who believe…' The learning approach taken was to provide opportunity for personalisation and for problem solving. Groups of five students were selected by their response to a range of personal preferences (e.g. favourite colour or food). The students were referred to as artists and knew that they had the opportunity to show their artworks in a public exhibition. Definitions of local and national identity were explored in a lesson planned entirely by Citizenship but taught in Art and Design. Each group began by designing a map to identify what is important in their community. This planning activity helped each group complete the sentence 'Dear Alien, We are a group of people who believe…' and in so doing define their identity. These definitions formed the basis of their artworks created by realigning the identity of collections of objects. The second part of this project, filmed by Teachers TV, follows the class as they make artworks, which combine their 'readymade' sculptures with animated and projected text. Ongoing structured peer and class evaluations were essential as were more informal moments of group reflection.
The completed artworks (as shown in the case study) were exhibited at the Dulwich Festival in London and show best if the aims of the project were achieved. The aims avoided a literal definition of identity or nationality, instead expressing group identities and collectively showing the diverse local and national community in which we live.