Headgear: case study

Arab artists in schools project

Arab world education programme

The school

Langdon School (Newham, London) is a mixed comprehensive and specialist sports college for ages 11-16.

Students at Langdon school with artist Rashad Salim

The artist

Rashad Salim is a German-Iraqi artist who was born in Khartoum.

The project

The focus of the project was to explore Middle Eastern headgear, while introducing students to new skills to use within the art curriculum (specifically performance, animation and new media). Students were given the opportunity to explore diversity and creativity within the Arab world, and to recognise the commonalities between Middle Eastern and global headgear.

Rashad Salim worked with a group of 23 Year 10 GCSE students over six sessions, including a visit to the British Museum. He began the project with an energetic performance/presentation to introduce different types of, and ideas about, headgear.

Students researched headgear in the Museum’s collection, then experimented with their own creations and recorded the process using digital cameras.

A creative day called ‘Headgear Jam’ was designed to give students an opportunity to experiment and explore aspects of headgear through performance, soft sculpture and new media (including film, digital photography and animation). Students used stop-frame digital photography to capture their buqches (cloth bundles of personal items) unfolding, then imported the images and sequenced them to create a short film animation with titles and credits.

Outcomes

Rashad’s enthusiastic approach allowed students to experiment with and expand their own perceptions of art and creativity, especially within the GCSE curricular framework.

Stereotypes were successfully challenged as students explored the cultural and historical diversity of the Arab world and Middle East. The use of new technologies in the classroom encouraged students and staff to develop new skills.

A number of Muslim students in the class “thrived” during the course of the project: “They saw their own culture and traditions reflected in the curriculum.” - Addela Khan, Head of Art