In March, Typography’s ‘I am, we are … different by design’ project team designed and led a workshop to explore identity and movement as part of the Reading Assembly Tate Exchange. This year’s student team leaders Martha Macri and Seniz Husseyin look back on what made this such a successful day for all involved.
The Tate Exchange is an annual programme of events led by different educational partners hosted at the Tate Modern. Our University of Reading School of Arts & Communication Design were delighted to be invited back for the second year in a row to run our Reading Assembly in the first weekend of March. This year’s theme was Movement. Project teams in the School explored different interpretations of the theme to create fun and exciting activities for the public to get involved with.
Our ‘Different by design’ team for the day included: Camara Dick, Charlotte Prince, Labiba Haque, Liselot van Veen, Malaika Johnson, Martha and Seniz, supported by tutors Geoff Wyeth and Jeanne-Louise Moys. Our team is exploring ways to celebrate and explore diversity in creative disciplines. Our interpretation of the theme ‘movement’ was focusing on global movement and embracing everyone’s individual identities that reflect our diverse personal experiences, culture and journeys. Flags represent collective identities, so we wanted our participants to create flags that express their personal identities that we could collate to form a larger, composite and representative flag for the day.
In our weekly team meetings, we brainstormed and discussed ideas of what we could do for the workshop with the theme of ‘movement’. As a team we worked together and developed our flag idea. Martha and Seniz co-led the team, which meant we kept in regular contact with Anna Kontopoulou (the School’s Reading Assembly coordinator), identified what equipment and materials were needed and made sure all interim deadlines were met.
To ensure our activity would run smoothly on the day, our team set up a practice run of the workshop to test the process, equipment and to check for any altercations along the way. This proved a success as we perfected any aspects that needed changing and felt more confident as a whole. Overall, the planning process was spread over a few weeks.
On the day
Our workshop activity was designed to allow the public to express their identity through designing their own flag. We supplied them with paper to design on, readymade cut-outs of coloured paper and recyclable materials, as well as the option for them to create their own shapes and images. We encouraged the public to create anything personal to them and also displayed our team’s readymade bags to inspire or stimulate people’s creations.
Once the flags were created individuals handed them over to our scanning and printing section. We scanned the flags, not only to team. Our team printed these onto transfer paper and compiled all the flags into one collective flag showcasing everyone’s amazing work. The transfer paper printouts of each flag were ironed onto tote bags, enabling public partiicpants to take home a bag they designed themselves as a souvenir. Who doesn’t love taking things home after am eventful day out with friends and family…? We noticed that participants of all ages really liked this aspect of our activity and were happy to wait patiently to take home something they created, even when our ironing transfer queue was quite long!
The activity turned out to be a success with the table of crafting always being full and busy. We were happy that everything fell into place, ran smoothly and that our activity was popular to be a part of in the room on the day, highlighting that allowing people to express their identities is a good thing. The variety and quality of work the public created was wonderful to see and the collage of flags were inspiring to everyone.
Our team were very pleased that we received such positive feedback. We had people of all ages and backgrounds take part, from toddlers to Danish cabinet ministers, creating different interpretations of their own identity. All, however, expressed that they enjoyed their time and liked the idea of the activity – some people even stayed on the floor for hours. They especially enjoyed being able to take a tote bag home with something on it that they took their time creating. One person said: “I loved all of it. I would do it all over again”, which shows the positive impact it had on members of the public. The encouraging feedback has left our team eager to continue this workshop activity next year at the Tate Exchange and hope to be invited back.