Commissioned by Creative Partnerships, Thames Gateway, Nest is a field guide to the curious creatures and rare Essex birds that can be found at Briscoe Primary School and Nursery in Basildon. This website contains documentary photographs of the Briscoe community using the school as a place to explore ideas about home, life and learning.
A woman labours over her soil words. A corridor is covered in eggshells. A mischievous rabbit, a roller-skating mother hen and two patient sheep peep out from the rooms, corridors and cupboards. The school has been transformed and is no longer recognisable. Quirky and surreal but also dark and poignant, Nest is an evocative exploration of what it feels like to live in the modern world, dodging bombshells and repairing cracks whilst looking for a place to dream.
Conceived and coordinated by artist Sarah Cole, Nest is the culmination of three years artistic engagement with the staff, parents, children and governors at Briscoe Primary School and Nursery in Basildon. Nest, a promenade performance event held on Sunday 24th February 2008, involved a cross-section of the school community, including both adults and children, performing in spaces around the school. For example, one classroom looked like a bomb had literally hit it, with upturned tables and a dilapidated Anderson shelter containing recorded voices of children describing moments in which they realised their life would never be the same again.
The Head Teacher's office became the temporary home of Bo Peep and two of her sheep, and the new hall transformed into an Airing Cupboard for the delivery of pithy lines from the lives of local mothers. Nest allowed the community to re-imagine its school and articulate an alternative way to see and understand the world.
Nest is part of Lie of the Land, a broader creative enquiry into the ideologies of community and critical pedagogy. Artists involved in the programme include Sarah Cole, Julian Walker, Mark Storor, Rachel Anderson, Helen Lowe, Siobhan O'Neill, Jules Maxwell, Isa Suarez and Sophie Weeks.
A full colour, illustrated book documenting some of the images and ideas generated by this event, authored by Sarah Cole, illustrated by Talya Baldwin and published by Creative Partnerships is now available.
If you would like to find out more about the book, please feel free to get in touch.