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Bracknell Media students raise awareness about water safety with new art exhibition

students at SHP

Media students from Bracknell and Wokingham College have partnered with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, King’s Academy Binfield and South Hill Park Arts Centre to raise awareness of water safety. 

As a part of their work experience programme, Creative Media Production students from the Church Road campus, took photographs and filmed the creation of the artwork for a new exhibition at South Hill Park Arts Centre, at each stage of its development.

A new art exhibition, which aims to help young people visualise the risks associated with swimming in unsupervised bodies of water, has opened at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell.

The overall aim of the ‘Bodies of Water’ exhibition is to promote an improved understanding of water as an unpredictable force of nature that can take lives.

The artwork was produced as part of a project with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS), in an effort to improve water safety education, following several devastating drownings in the county.

Staff from South Hill Park Arts Centre designed a project that would be co-created by young people to deliver the message in a creative and exciting way.

A 200-year-old camera-less recording process known as ‘cyanotype’ was chosen to create the artwork. Cyanotype is known for its blue colour and has been imaginatively adapted to reflect meaningful messages about water safety.

Textile Artist, Hermione Thomson, was commissioned to work with Year 10 textiles students at King’s Academy Binfield. Hermione organised a series of workshops to co-create the artwork, and the students visited Bracknell Fire Station to gain an in-depth understanding of the risks associated with our waterways and what equipment and training fire and rescue service staff use when called to incidents.

The students also learnt about water safety and visited a local fire station where they had a tour of the station and saw some of the equipment used.

Ashton is studying a Creative Media Production Level 3 Extended Diploma at Bracknell and Wokingham College.

She said: “I learnt how to work as part of a team rather than solo. It was interesting to see how to work with everyone holding a camera and communicating with each other to capture the whole process by working on different bits.

“We also got to work with people who we didn’t know before and we’ve got the experience now where we can work with new people and not necessarily know them, which will be useful for us in the future.”

Dave Crease, Group Manager, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“We approached staff at South Hill Park Arts Centre as we wanted their expertise in how we could better engage with young people around the issue of water safety. 

“As a fire and rescue service, we have been called to a number of tragic incidents on Berkshire’s waterways, and we were keen to explore the use of art to illustrate the dangers of swimming in unsupervised bodies of water.”

Becky Jones, Learning, Participation and Community Engagement Co-ordinator at South Hill Park Arts Centre, said:

“It has been such a highlight for South Hill Park to design and produce this project, culminating in a truly poignant, engaging arts exhibition. 

“We are delighted to have supported local school students to learn from such an excellent artist, working collaboratively to create thought-provoking prints. A huge thank you to everyone involved in this important project.”

Textile Artist, Hermione Thomson, said:

“It has been a privilege to work alongside such a talented group of people to create a meaningful and educational body of work using the Cyanotype process.

“The exhibition hopes to raise awareness of the dangers surrounding open water.”

Emily Moulton, Work Experience Coordinator, Activate Learning, said:

“This has been a fantastic project for our learners to engage with as a part of their work experience.

“It’s allowed them to gain hands-on, practical creative skills that will strengthen their future employability, as well as allowing them to engage with the community around them.”

The final artwork is now on display in the Grand Staircase at South Hill Park Arts Centre. The exhibition is free to attend and will run until Sunday, 25 June 2023.

Find out about our Media courses at Bracknell and Wokingham College

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