Ellie Harrison’s Operation Treasure Hunt

Posted on March 11, 2011

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From Ellie’s website:

“In October 2007, Ellie was invited by The City Gallery in Leicester to take part in Operation Treasure Hunt – a Creative Partnerships project at Imperial Avenue Infant School in Leicester. Together with three other artists, Frances Bossom, Glenn Boulter and Francis O’Donnell Smith, Ellie spent five days in residence at the school. The brief given to the artists was loosely based on the idea of a ‘creativity audit’- to indentify and draw attention to pockets of creativity in and around the school that may otherwise have gone unnoticed. The artists were free to interpret this however they chose.

For five days they set up camp in the school, with makeshift studios in the school hall and in other teaching spaces. They spent time absorbing school life, playing outside in the playground, eating school dinners and chatting to both staff and pupils. Ellie worked on a number of small experimental projects during this time. One of these derived from her fascination in the weird and wonderful names of the children in the school, and what these said about this specific point it history, the demographic of the local area and the ‘creativity’of some of the parents.

Ellie’s Names animation features all of the names of the children – listed in alphabetical order and colour-coded to indicate their year group (red – foundation 1, yellow – foundation 2, green – year 1, blue – year 2). It can be viewed by clicking on the link to the right under ‘Further Reference’. The animation was also shown at the The City Gallery from 11th July – 30th August 2008 as part of the exhibition A Process of Living.

During the residency, Ellie also spent a lot of time questioning the role of the artist within the primary education system and examining the agenda of government funded organisations such as Creative Partnerships. Her final report of these investigations was presented back to Creative Partnerships and The City Gallery on 12th December 2007. It is also published on her blog, which can be accessed by clicking on the link to the right under ‘Further Reference’.”

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