10 September – 8 October 2022

My Family and Other Objects is a project by our Learning Programme inspired by A Lifelong Passion for Design: Ken Stradling at 100, which tells the story of Ken Stradling’s life and times through 100 objects selected from the Stradling Collection.

Students from Castle School, Thornbury, The Bristol School of Art and Cardiff School for Art and Design were asked to select something(s) from their own possessions, which they think tells a story about themselves, or their family, culture or community. Using their chosen object as inspiration they have made work that tell the students’ own stories.  The sharing of stories was the most important aspect of the project; young people revealing personal thoughts, feeling and values to others, which was so important after isolation during the Covid lockdown. The project then required them to make something reflecting or expressing those stories.

The students were enchanted by the idea of telling their own story through something that is precious to them. It’s a new way of looking at identity which they eagerly embraced, producing some gorgeous artworks in the process. More remarkable was that some of them had only a couple of hours in which to produce the work. Feedback from the teacher at Castle School was that giving pupils a platform to talk about themselves, their families and cultures proved genuinely moving and a rare chance for this sort of personal interaction in the classroom.

Over 100 people took part in the project with ages ranging from 10 year-old school children to final year university students. Many of their stories come from objects treasured by the families, some were associated with loss, others originated in a fascination with the object itself. The things they made ranged from simple paper products resulting from a few hours work to more complex, time consuming pieces using techniques such as 3-D printing.

The emphasis of our education programme is always on what someone has learned to do, what difference it has made to them personally. Our projects are designed to encourage and develop self-confidence and self-esteem; social and communication skills and team work; creative thinking and problem solving; the ability to see things clearly.

My Family and Other Objects project continues, notably with young people at Knowle West Media Centre whose work will be displayed at a showcase event at the KWMC on 12th December.

We are able to show only a sample of work from the more than 100 young people who took part in the project. We thank them and their teachers from:
The Castle School (Thornbury), Bristol School of Art (SGS College) and Cardiff School of Art & Design (Cardiff Metropolitan University).

Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Stradling Collection for funding.

If you would like to know more about our learning programme please contact admin@stradlingcollection.org.

Here’s a little extending book by Luka at the Castle School, Thornbury, celebrating her Slav heritage through her chosen ‘precious object’.

Photo: work from My Family and Other ObjectsPhoto: work from My Family and Other Objects