Using strategies from Nordic Live Action Role Play (larp), artist Adam James, theatre director Jamie Harper and the young people from Gateway Academy worked together for two days to devise and develop collective identities.
The young people used movement, sounds and the exchange of gifts to think about commonalities and difference and negotiate their group identity. The different communities formed rules, designed flags and mapped out their territories.
Stepping out of the game, the children reflected on their experiences of belonging and not belonging and how this relates to their transition to secondary school.
In the context of an education system focussed on competition, regulation and standardisation, the game can be read as a rehearsal for a more democratic form of school and society.
The resulting resource, Here Is The Place is designed to support teaching staff working with Year 5 and Year 6 students preparing for the transition from primary to secondary schools. It contains a poster and leaflet designed as a group activity to encourage staff and children to work together to think about this transition through movement, mapping and making. It invites children to think about difference, acceptance, trust and empathy through play.
Moving Up is a series of workshops in which artists, teachers and children come together to reflect on the transition from primary to secondary school. The project creates a temporary space where children can develop the tools to work together and support one another.