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Artist Jimena Pardo is facilitating Mending the Gap – Creative Stitching and Wellbeing,  two continuing Professional Development sessions for teachers and community educators held in anticipation of the opening of the exhibition All In The Same Storm: Pandemic Patchwork Stories.

Jimena says :

“For these sessions, I hoped to recreate the format, and share the benefits of, informal workshops held as part of the ‘Stitch for Change’ project by The Refugee Buddy Project, facilitated by community artist Janey Moffatt and me during the summer of 2020.

Mending the Gap – Creative Stitching and Wellbeing participants were invited to stitch how they felt in the midst of dramatic changes in how we teach and learn during lockdown.

The group discussed the barriers to and challenges of online teaching, such as some student’s poor engagement with remote lessons; the impacts on SEND students; and how some educators have felt overwhelmed by the new digital landscape. COVID-19 has highlighted that digital exclusion is not just something that affects the older generations, all ages are having to come to terms with and adopt new technologies, and this shows up social and economic inequalities.

I shared a glimpse of my own art practice, the work I do with ‘Bordando por la Memoria’ and how this fed into the project ‘Stitch for Change’, bringing the tradition and principles of Chilean arpilleras to life to show that even when living with pain, loss and conflict we can still make something visually beautiful.

Stitching the words ‘There is Hope’ onto an orange cloth, I talked about the potential of craft-based activities like collage and stitching, as a way to engage, focus and ease anxiety in vulnerable children and adults. One participant stitched ‘I feel like a performing monkey’ onto a yellow duster, another mapped her home out in fabric squares, expressing how grateful she felt to have a secure space of her own.

I found it heartening that participants took away new ideas for facilitating future workshops of their own.

As teaching professionals tackle the ongoing difficulties in education, the full impact that lockdown has had on staff and students will only be understood over time. Perhaps by taking moments like this to discuss, stitch and reflect, we can find positive solutions to mend the gap and heal collectively. ”

Jimena Pardo

 

The exhibition All In The Same Storm: Pandemic Patchwork Stories will open when the Pavilion re-opens after lockdown.  Read more here .

Posted by Laura Sayers on Tuesday 16 February 2021