Pencil Drawing: An artistic response to multidisciplinary research into children’s movement at a playgroup

Lovely post by artist Rachael Hand about our collaboration, thinking about visualising and materialising children’s movement in a playgroup.

As part of our collaboration, we have been  grappling with the following questions:
Can visualising and materialising movement help to us foreground its role in experience and meaning making?
Does the intersection between ethnography and arts practice offer methodological innovations regarding how we collect, analyse and share fieldwork focussed on movement and place?
Do artist interpretations such as this one help us to think through the role of time, body, material environment and more-than-human world in young children’s emplaced experiences?

FOCUS Visual Research blog

Post by Rachael Hand, Artist

The art installation Pencil Drawing was made as an expression of my collaboration with the ethnographer Abi Hackett and the epidemiologist Pete Dodd in the University of Sheffield as part of the Crucible project Kindergarten Safari, studying children’s movement in a playgroup. It is a three dimensional, tangible object, made in response to a study in which objects and touch were vital elements.

At first glance Pencil Drawing looks like a child’s play-table. It is narrow and low, with bright blue sides and chunky wooden legs. Drawing closer, a clattering noise becomes audible, followed by a pause, and then further rattling. Looking at the surface of the table, the noises are revealed to be the sound track to a video, visible in the table top. Life-size, vividly coloured pencils are repeatedly flung down, as though onto the table, left untouched for a few seconds, and…

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