Testimony on our workshops and courses

TESTIMONIES FROM THE GUESTS OF CHANCE COURSE  – JANUARY 2013

This workshop three days is an essential part to an artist reforming and recalibrating 

  • a new direction
  • a new stage
  • and to evaluate their journey as a workshop artist

Without School of Workshop this would not be possible

This has been a delightful experience of intangible qualities. It feels like I have definitely seen something remarkable and beautiful but if I try to focus on it, it disappears. An ‘out of the corner of my eye’ revelation has happened here. I am taking away a sense of trust and confidence.

An exceptional and surprising journey full of surprises

For an essential component to all educators wishing to get their subject transmitted effectively go to School of Workshop

Thankyou for a wonderful and transformative experience. You are magic! Thanks for all the hard work and prep. which went into it all.

 

I took part in the ‘Guests of Chance’ Workshop in Seale Hayne in January 2013.  I have worked for all of my career in economic development and urban regeneration, and so I was more than a little hesitant about spending three days in residence with a group of what I expected would be a group of skilled artists, competent and conversant with running workshops in a completely different genre. Nevertheless, as a life long friend of Tony Gee I was intrigued by what he was up to and stimulated by our conversations in which his insights into the craft of running workshops seemed relevant to my own professional practice. 

 
In the event, the workshop course massively exceeded my expectations. Firstly, the group were indeed talented and each of them inspiring, but their generosity enabled me to learn much about their approach to the process and to the group dynamics in a workshop setting. Secondly, Tony Gee and his colleague Warren Linds brought thoughtful and deep insight into the learning, clearly basing their practice and their reflection on many years of working in the field and studying their subject. On a personal level, they were warm, welcoming, and sheer good fun. One of the most significant areas of learning for me was how they combined a calm and playful demeanour with a highly structured and yet responsive approach, applied at every level of detail. I have been able to draw lessons from this experience and have already begun to apply them to my own professional practice in creating and running group learning sessions. 
 
Seale Hayne is itself a heartening setting. The countryside is beautiful, the property is inspiring, and the restaurant is a place where dreams are made, and people you want to talk to are tucked into its many nooks and crannies. Run by a charity for people with disabilities, there is an eclectic ensemble of creative activity. Their strapline is: there’s something for everyone. That’s something of a modest claim in the circumstances. The bedrooms are basic and the radiators are noisy in the night, but the whole experience is so luscious as well as inexpensive, that it is impossible to be critical.
 
It’s now a month since the workshop. I can honestly say it’s one of the best training experiences I have ever had. I know I am pretty good at working with people and helping animate group learning, discussion, and collaborative planning. However, I now feel that I have learned many new techniques, and I have been forced, in the best possible sense, to step back and be more thoughtful about the process and the art of facilitation. Stepping out of the unconscious habits and assumptions of my own narrow sphere was long overdue; I feel as though I am looking at the possibilities given by my work in a whole new light. 
 
I suggest that the interface between this workshop practice, grounded in arts and crafts, and the wider worlds of group learning and action in diverse professional and other settings, is a rich vein well worth exploring. 

 

 PAST TESTIMONIES

from Lucy Pedlar  http://www.lucypedlar.co.uk/

‘These four days were a formative and, at the same time, affirmative experience for me. Although it was just four days it had a massive effect on my approach to many situations. Four years on I still refer to aspects of The Feast in my teaching/workshop/art practice/general approach to the world. Some of the things we did have become clearer to me through practice (‘learning-delay’) and there have been moments when I’ve thought ‘ oh, that’s what it was about’ or ‘of course, that makes sense’. I have adapted, borrowed from and directly applied much of what I learnt in many situations. That time and those people and that journey and those discoveries have had, and continue to have a huge influence on me.

‘I’ve been working on national research projects with En-quire and Creative Partnerships. A lot of this has been about exploring what partnership can be and working with teachers and pupils in schools and galleries. Sometimes working with the structures that such organisations have in place can be unbearable – timetables and hierarchies and constrictions of space. However, when one manages to identify the cracks, point out the possibilities and the alternatives, and wriggle into the in-between spaces, extraordinary things can happen! Learning experiences can be radically changed when a familiar environment becomes a new and wonderful world. 

‘This workshop gave me an opportunity to take risks, explore my potential and develop my self. I feel incredibly privileged to have taken part and to be part of the legacy.’

from Louise Evans, Project Administrator and Activate Leicestershire Co-ordinator, Mantle Community Arts

‘The Training Day for Emerging Artists was a fantastic, experimental day when we came together to share our “wishes and walls” – what we’d like to achieve and what has held us back in the past. The objects we’d brought with us allowed small group discussion; then we attempted to translate some of these feelings into a group pose or “still”.

‘Activate “trainees” had asked for a workshop that would “blow our minds” and this workshop fulfilled that need to push our own boundaries. Feedback has been extremely positive – everyone had a marvelous experience.  This workshop day, with the added treat of preparing a feast for each other, has been the highlight of the Activate training programme in 2006.’