Last week, all of Year 7 and Year 8 were involved in Creativity week.  Students had selected a project to work on for four days that has been designed around the Academy’s 5Rs and linked to The Great Exhibition of the North that Newcastle and Gateshead are hosting next Summer.  The week culminated in students presenting their exhibits to each other giving them an opportunity to develop their oracy and presentation skills.  Projects in the Academy were wide ranging and it was exciting to see exhibits coming together across the week.  Our Opening Ceremony: Blazing Fires  (a mixture of dance, song and performance to tell the story of our region) was inspiring and the students demonstrated their resilience in performing to their peers.  In another project students created a multi-modal geodesic dome that used their own photography to create stylised, graphic images of Newcastle combined with art work based on Newcastle’s streets and accompanied by an audio track of the students’ I Am North-East poetry.  A truly creative and cross-curricular project.
Students created their own Escape room challenges based around themes linked to the North-East, some so successful that students trying to ‘escape’ could not solve all of the challenging and tricky problems that the students created.  Other projects examined the history and legacy of the North and created modern day sculptures to represent their research: from iconic bridges to the Beatles’ piano and a large tomato ketchup bottle!  Another group researched our popular tourist destinations and created bespoke guides as well as an eco-green foliage Angel of the North.
We had students testing out their culinary groups making traditional panacalty while others used our beautiful coastline as inspiration for bunting, batik and other textile exhibits.  STEM projects looked at the designs of our iconic bridges and tested out theories on building their own bridges.  Another exhibit utilised a fusion of students’ film footage from Beamish Museum to create videos that explored our living history and music heritage.  Staying with the history theme the project, Now and Then used their visit to Beamish to explore the differences in fashion, education and transport from the past to our more modern experiences.
A couple of our groups used links with our community to take their project beyond their own experiences. The Cultural Cuisine project interviewed and spoke with residents of one of our local care homes about their past memories and in particular traditional and favourite foods. They then researched and baked some goodies for them to sample later in the week.  The Picture This group used their research at Seven Stories to create their own books for children which were then read and shared with local primary schools.  The Great North Games project worked with local primary students and our students developed their own leadership skills as they planned and delivered a sports festival.
More fantastic literature was exhibited by the World of Great North Writers after they were inspired by a visit to Wordsworth’s house and the countryside that inspire his romantic work.  The Sport in the North exhibit researched the importance of sport in our region, the influence of media in forming our opinions of sport and the biographies of regional sports stars, past and present, that continue to inspire our sporting success. Yet more drama was the focus in the Dramarama group as they explored local theatre and work by a Teeside playwright, exhibiting their final set designs.
It was an exciting week and the students and staff worked hard to produce fabulous work that they were able to share with their peers in final presentations.  The Creative Director from the Newcastle/Gateshead initiative visited a number of the final exhibits and performances and said that he “was hugely impressed by the imagination and quality of work produced and presented by the students, particularly the way that pupils across all ranges of ability were involved”  We are continuing to work closely with the team planning The Great North Exhibition 2018 and looking at ways to involve Lord Lawson students in this inaugural event next year.