During Term 2 and 3 2021 I was a history creative in residence, working with all the children at Chewton Primary School and Elphinstone Primary School, in Central Victoria near Castlemaine, through the  Creative Workers in Schools program, run by Regional Arts Victoria for the Victorian State Government. The CWS program provided enrichment for  Victorian children, whose educations had been impacted by isolation during COVID lockdowns, and helped increase the skills base of Victorian creatives.

I worked on a range of object based and history inspired creative learning experiences with the children, working one day per week with each school on-site, liaising with the school principals and particularly with the art teachers, Kate Dawson at Chewton and Katie Mawson at Elphinstone Primary School. A couple of activities focussed on First Nations items and stories and were delivered in  consultation with the Koori Education Support Officer and Dja Dja Wurrung Elder Aunty Kerri Douglas.

The project culminated in a an exhibition Kids Take Over Buda Historic Home, featuring artworks by the children responding to decorative arts at Buda and local history, as well as signage with commentary on the historic house by students from Elphinstone Primary School.

This is the first activity that I did for the Creative Workers in Schools residency. Children from both schools created hand coloured historic photographs and made them into paper lanterns.  I explained how photographs were coloured  prior to colour photography, and the children used copic alcohol markers to hand-tint photocopies of images from school archives and other collections. The lantern form is based on a  State Library of Victoria craft blog post on making paper lanterns from historic photos. To see other workshop activities I did with the children go to the Creative Workers in Schools tag on this blog.

Argus Flat, Forest Creek (Chewton), looking towards the south-east, the Mount Alexander Hotel on far right, 1858. Richard Daintree,  photographer. George Alexander Gilbert colourist, with additional colouring by a grade 5/6 student at Chewton PS (feature image also).

These images are based on a photograph of Chewton Primary School classroom taken in 1916, from the school archives, hand tinted by Grade 3/4 students at the school.

Chewton Primary School Grade Prep/1 student hand tinting a 1950s class photo from the school archives.

Handtinted school photo, Chewton Primary School students c.1960s, from school archives.

Several grades at Chewton Primary School made their hand tinted images into paper lanterns.

The lanterns reference enamel lamps at Buda Historic Home by Dorothy Leviny.

The lanterns lit with LEDs, viewed inside the Chewton Primary School art storeroom.

Lanterns in progress

Below, lanterns on display as part of Kids Takeover Buda Historic Home