The two films below have been created to give an insight into the work that took place in Finland and to disseminate the explorations and ideas of the participants.
The children explored the themes of community, safe spaces, welcome and kindness throughout the whole week and specifically through drama sessions with Parmjit Sagoo where they worked to devise a piece based around the book The Island. Their ideas are collated in the second of the two films below and this piece lasts around 10 minutes. The first film (which is about 15 minutes long) documents the varied work that took place throughout the week and the many inspiring ways that connections were formed between everyone. These films were created by artist Claire Simpson who spent the week in Finland closely observing everything and gathering footage of the ideas and work undertaken.
The Pupil Camp has been an amazing experience for everyone involved, firm friendships were made and some deep issues were explored.
We stayed at Velskola - a great residential centre in the middle of vast forests and lakes not too far from the outskirts of Espoo and Helsinki. It was a very large old house converted into a residential study centre. It’s a great place with a really welcoming cosy feel to it and just the right spaces for us to work in, including a lovely light, big, central room which we could use for the drama sessions (complete with huge windows looking out to the forest).
We had a packed programme which we had carefully devised to ensure there was a lot of time to explore the project issues around building caring communities; but with time also for exploration of the landscape and local area, time to experience the Finnish school in Espoo, time to unwind and chatter, time for bedtime relaxation sessions for the children in front of the fire…
As we did last March in Derbyshire, the work with the children was based around a carefully chosen story which would give scope to ask deep questions and explore some key issues around community, borders, safety and ways of reaching out to strangers. The story we used in Finland is “The Island” and is a hard hitting and stunningly illustrated book by Armin Greder. Parmjit Sagoo led sessions exploring the story as it stood - but then also exploring many other scenarios that could have happened and alternative endings. The children created some very moving scenarios and their ideas about ways of reaching out in friendship were very touching.
The work was captured through film and still images by Claire Simpson (and a film is being edited at the moment which will bring everything together) - but all the children and other staff also recorded much of the project through a variety of means and as a result there is a lovely range of images, film and subject matter captured. We used ipads to film, photograph, create sound recordings, make stop frame animations and to edit footage together; we used time lapse cameras and in the forest we set out night vision motion sensor cameras to see what might be about. The combination of very hands on activities all week combined with the use of some technology struck a good balance. One of the things the children worked on together was the creation of animations exploring connections, community and the setting in which we were working.
Click on the images on this page to see them fully.
Deepening our engagement and relationship with the natural world is a key part of the project. Connections to nature and use of the outdoors permeates everything in Finland – as in the rest of Scandinavia; and part of our project is to ensure an ongoing dialogue about this so that we can share ideas and inspirations. During our residential week we wanted to ensure that there were as many opportunities as possible for all the children and staff to explore outside and to be inspired by the setting. So time was built in for walks along snowy paths through the forest taking in the lakes, streams, trees, animal tracks and looking at just what might be around us. We had a wonderful night time walk through the snowy forest, moving in small (quiet) groups using torches to find our way through a trail of reflectors that had been laid earlier that day. It was an amazing experience which really made a big impression on everyone – adults and children.