Dialogue with places 2010 - 2012


Bringing together all of the EYFS programme projects, a dialogue with places was a reflective film and exhibition at the Royal Exchange Theatre demonstrating the diversity of methods and outputs from the following projects – red balloon, the wheel, making of the structure and voices of children.

As part of a larger programme of work with Manchester City Council Children’s Services to deliver a collaborative EYFS programme to facilitate children’s creative learning in the many children’s centres across the city.  This involved artist being based in the Centres to work on developing arts based project works alongside teachers, carers, children and their families. 


making of the structure 


Sacred Heart Children’s Centre had been inserted into the old hall of a disused 1960s primary school, it appeared completely out of scale to the size of early years children. We were commissioned to develop and construct an intervention more appropriate to the size and age of the children who were to play there. An integral part of the dialogue was an exploration of the space and an evolving of ideas through free hand drawing and model making. The children played with our 1:50 scaled model with scaled models of people of all age groups. From this the children were not only able to observe our construction of the structure but were able to play and explore the materials we used creatively for them selves.

voices of children 


Developing ways in which children can experience and explore the built environment, we visited the city centre to encourage them to discuss the city, ask questions and share ideas on their views of the city. Together, we visited museums, galleries and places within their local environment. We were commissioned to make a film about listening to children discussing their own environments and the visits to other environments, this was part of the ‘every child a talker programme’.


We built a moveable structure in the Newton Heath Sure Start Children’s Centre in response to there being few accessible windows in the portacabin. Our structure created opportunities to look outwards and inwards that offered children chances to discuss location, activities through play and creative practice from within. After building the structure with us it stayed located in the space for many years.


Along with children from the Angels Play Centre, Gorton Market and a local charity shop were visited. We explored opportunities to have dialogues with market traders, journey story telling, trying on clothes and the purchasing of an artefact with which to develop a story. In response to a story about a bear hunt the children from Benchill Sure Start Children’s Centre created bridge-like structures from their understanding and re-enacting their memory of the story.


City Art gallery was also visited with children from Benchill Sure Start Children’s Centre to explore and experience a city centre public building. We used our bodies to mimic, measure and test out the movement of the lifts and bridges, look into and through reflective and transparent materials, and understand the structure of the building.

city as gymnasium 


In response to the exhibition titled ‘city as gymnasium’ at Cube Gallery Manchester, we worked with year 11 students from Parrswood High School and Cedar Mount Academy to playfully explore and use the city as a creative playground. The students proposed using everyday street furniture items to express their physical responses the city which then developed into design studies for re-purposing parts of the newly explored inner city spaces within the relocated context of the gallery.