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St Mary’s Alumni and Staff work with The Barbican and Michael Rosen to encourage Creative Learning

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Tina Bicat, Costume Design Technician, and two alumni, Emily Sions and Tim Biffield from St Mary’s University, Twickenham, have been working with the Barbican Centre to design and deliver ‘Barbican Boxes’. The Boxes are portable installations that have been delivered to five London Schools, aiming to inspire primary school children and engage them on topics such as migration and history by making connections between generations through poetry, painting and objects.

The boxes appear in the children’s classrooms in city of London schools. Throughout the term, the children work with their teachers and professional mentors to create work inspired by what’s inside the box assigned to the class. The work is then curated and presented at the Barbican Centre to both the schools and the public.

St Mary’s alumna, Emily Sions, was Tina’s assistant on the project and Tim Bifield, another alumnus of the University, is part of the Creative Learning Team at the Barbican Centre.

Tina, Emily and Tim have most recently been working with poet Michael Rosen and the Creative Learning Team at the Barbican Centre in order to design and make the Barbican Boxes. Examples of boxes also made ranged from the history of the great fire of London to music and other creative learning topics.

When commenting on the work of the Barbican Boxes, Tina said, “We meet as a group and between us grow an idea of the form the box will take, I design it and make a model which we then discuss and develop.  I then make six boxes plus one for the Barbican Archive.” 

Tina further commented on working directly with Michael Rosen, saying, “It is particularly interesting to work with Michael Rosen on this project which explores his migrant family through his poems for children. His delight in language and ease with children underlines his most serious interest in the creative development of our children in schools today, and the necessity of keeping the arts near the forefront of their curriculum.” 

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