Creative critters: Eco-friendly school pupils get their ‘paws’ into art project

A group of Primary 6 pupils from Culter Primary School visited Robert Gordon University's Gray's School of Art on 8 December to take part in a project to design and create animals from old newspapers, donated by Aberdeen Journals Ltd.

Culter SchoolThe 33-strong group of 9-11 year olds took part in a day of activities supervised by first-year art students, who helped the groups of pupils to invent, design and build a 3D animal sculpture using limited materials of only newspapers and masking tape.

P6 teacher and Eco-Schools Co-ordinator at Culter Primary, Karen Cochlan, first got in touch with the art school after seeing an article in the local press in October. The article reported on the success of a group of first-year design students from Gray's, who had just completed a similar project creating 3D structures from old newspapers as an ice-breaker at the beginning of term.

Karen explains: "As Eco-Schools Co-ordinator, I am always on the lookout for imaginative and innovative ways for pupils to re-use waste. When I saw the students' project in the paper, I thought this would be a really fun opportunity for my class."

Last year, the pupils were involved in a project recycling old newspapers to design and create their own hats - which they showcased in an assembly for fellow pupils and parents. The Schools' eco-friendly efforts have also been recently recognised with a prestigious ‘Eco-Schools Green Flag Award' for hard work in caring for the environment and promoting sustainability.

Karen continues: "Working with staff and students at the University presented pupils an invaluable opportunity to progress the creative and artistic skills they already possess, whilst developing their competency in crafts and the technical aspects of creating art."

"This also gave the art students the chance to demonstrate their design skills to a very appreciative audience, who may potentially be Gray's students in the future!"

Thirteen first-year students from the Graphic Design and Design for Digital Media courses worked together to devise a lesson plan for the activities and acted as lecturer's for the day - helping pupils to produce their very own paper zoo.

Annette Murray, Lecturer and Subject Leader in Graphic Design at Gray's, who supervised the student ice-breaker project in October, comments:

"All of the students involved have expressed an interest in working with children in their future careers, and this project gave them experience in imparting their skills. Teaching the pupils on the day offered students the chance to reflect on their own practice as they experienced the learning process from a different perspective.

"For the school pupils, the activities have not only helped further develop their creative thinking processes, but have also given them good experience of working in a team and also of what it's like to be an art student."

Notes to Editors:

* Photos are available on request. For more information, please contact:

Sarah Grieve
Communications Office
Robert Gordon University
AB10 1FR

Tel: 01224 262206