24 January 2018

Resident Artist Claire Russell from the LWB Living Arts program in SA has just wrapped up the ‘Stobie Pole’ project with students at Challa Gardens Primary School.

The project saw 16 power poles on or near the school grounds painted by the primary school children to represent and celebrate the diversity within their class. At present, 14% of students in the school are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. The poles now act as a kind of ‘flag’ for their class and classmates. Throughout the lessons the children honed their design, collaborating, compromising and negotiating skills, as they worked together to draft their concept and then bring their designs to life.  

Claire noticed how much excitement and passion the children had for the project.

“They have been absolute champions throughout the whole process, throwing themselves into the weekly workshops,” she said.

“Along the way they have brainstormed, shared ideas, argued, collaborated, challenged each other, developed designs, negotiated and charmed the neighbours, while colouring the surrounding streets of their school with totems of who they are as people, what they love learning about, where they are going and what they dream of.”

The principal of the school, Amelia Angelakis and Phil Allen, LWB Living Arts Coordinator and Manager of the Creating Brighter Futures program ensured that the work be entirely that of the kids; they drove the whole project. This autonomy allowed the students a huge freedom that is a radically different way of learning and expressing themselves than the regular school environment. 

The project was funded by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and delivered by the LWB Creating Brighter Futures program.

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