The brain is a pretty complicated thing but what we know is that it can grow the more we use it. Pathways and connections are created and strengthened as we experience new things and ask new questions.
I am working with M-Set – Multi-sensory Educational Theatre – on a project that invites young people from special and mainstream schools to explore the nature and functions of this amazing organ through interactive experiences and installations. In January, we were in residence at UEL with students from the Applied Theatre and Performing Arts course and the department of neuroscience.
While the powerhouse that is Paula Manning led students through a series of multi-sensory exercises and activities and Fred Beaufort created structures and effects in light and sound, my role was to develop a making activity where everyone could create their own ‘personal pathway’ to add to a giant brain. The challenges of space, time and differentiation made the task exciting and – honestly! – pretty hard.
I decided to create long strips of organza of different lengths, each containing a series of pockets where students could insert items that would express personal feelings, ideas and preferences.
We’re planning phase 2 of the project now. There will be more workshops to develop the themes we’ve been exploring. My own particular interest is in finding ways of mapping brain activity . Our work will culminate in an exhibition at UEL towards the end of May 2018.