Spritivity Workshops in East London and Beijing
for Students at Primary School Level
In the case study of a set of Spritivity workshops for students at primary school level, shown on this website, sets of sprites are drawn and painted by members of a group of students, who collectively can assemble a whole repertory company of sprites. They can then work with these sprites in small groups to construct picture books, each employing some sprites from this set. When complete, the picture books can be sent to students in another country, where the students do not necessarily share the same written or spoken language, as is the case with children in English and Chinese primary schools. In the case described here, the initial descriptions of the sprites, and the initial five picture books, were made by students in an East London School, ( Jubilee primary school in Hackney), the text components were translated into Chinese (Mandarin). The books they created were then sent to China for use by Chinese primary school students as resources in creating their own Spritivity picture books . However, most of the language in the picture books is rich audiovisual language - and this needs no translation to be understood.
Copies of the sprites created by the English students who made the picture books were sent to China along with the picture books (and with the descriptions of their characteristics, translated into Chinese). The Chinese students who received them were participants in Spritivity workshops organized by Spritivity Worldwide and the Chinese National Museum of Art. The participating primary school students could understand the Jubilee picture books and the the Jubilee sprites, interpret them in their own context, and add them to the repertoire of sprites that they had created themselves by extracting them from the chinese contexts in which they were grounded. They then used this extended repertoire of sprite to form the stories that they showed and told within their own Spritivity picture books.
In these workshops, the particpating Chines students students created and described sprites which the English students could then use, together with their own sprites, to provide a rich repertoire for story telling and performing, and in making enhanced picture books.
As the picture books and sprites are exchanged to and fro between the participating groups of students, the repertoire of sprites, available to all, will grow progressively. Subsequent stories in the picture books can employ a mixture of English-grounded and Chinese-grounded sprites as elements in a rich generative language for story telling and showing, grounded in both English and Chinese cultures. This process offers real opportunities for exploring in depth how these cultures work and can profitably interact. It provides resources for innovative and creative understanding of the participating students' own surroundings and the possibilities that might exist therein.