March 12, 2017 Neville Godwin

Teaching Art and Design for Woking Borough Council’s Party in the Park 2017 Exhibition

It’s great to be in a position to give something back to the local community. For the last few months I’ve been working with Woking Borough Council to develop art and design presentations for local Schools, Art and Community Groups.

I was chosen having won their art and design competition last year which was celebrating H. G. Wells 150th Anniversary. This and the fact I collect music made me a very good fit to educate potential entrants on the subject and background for this years competition.

The subjects for the art and design competition are two bands with local connections, ‘Status Quo’ and ‘The Jam’. Rick Parfitt of Status Quo, who sadly died last year was born in Woking and all the members of the Jam went to School in Sheerwater and lived in the Woking area. It’s a celebration of Status Quo’s long career and the 40th Anniversary of the Jam’s first albums (they released two in 1977).

The aim is for entrants to submit their own creative response to the music of these bands within the size of an old standard vinyl LP (Long Player) sleeve which is approximately 31.5cm square. The selected entries will be framed and exhibited at ‘Party in the Park’ on the 8th July 2017. As over 20,000 people attended last years event, it’s an amazing opportunity for young and old artists alike to showcase their work. From those selected to exhibit a winning top three will be awarded prizes on the day.

One of the main problems to overcome is that despite the resurgence in recent years of vinyl most of the 15-16-year-old student’s parents, lets alone the students wouldn’t have used this musical format and as expected, most hadn’t heard of, let alone seen a vinyl LP. The same could be said for the two bands concerned, despite their respective long careers. They’re simply not on the school kids musical radar as they’re not in the charts, which even with the access to a vast amount of music via streaming sites tends to be at this age, the focus of their listening.

So a lot of the presentation I’m giving is about these bands, their music, videos and album covers. Also as nothing is written in isolation, I’ve explained in broad strokes what life was like in the 1970’s in England. This covered the 3-day week, the rise of the National Front and subsequently the Anti-Nazi League, the IRA and mass unemployment to mention just a few key issues. To counterpoint these rather depressing subjects I also explained that conversely, it was the most amazing decade for music, covering soul, glam rock, prog rock, electronic music, punk and new wave.

In some cases, I’ve also been asked to cover my path from school to graphic design and marketing. Covering the multitude of options an arts qualification opens up to you in the different sectors of the creative industry.

Talking about my two main passions, art and music has been a pleasure but also a challenge to make it relevant and interesting to this age group. Also as I said earlier, it feels great to be giving something back to these students and although it’s a lot of information for the students to take in over a relatively short period of time, they’ve all been attentive and wonderful audiences.

My tour giving these presentations finishes this week and then after the entry deadline has passed my next job will be as part of a panel, select the artworks to be in the exhibition.

I’ll post images of this as and when it happens.

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