Voices in the Sky kite project
The world has profoundly changed in 2020 due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The degree and speed of change has resulted in collective uncertainty, insecurity and apprehension for many young people. Confronting images of PPE, hoarding, death, suffering, hospitals, masked people and empty cities have proliferated in the media. Research recently released by Unicef Australia in a study called ‘Living in Limbo’ reports that almost half of the 1,000+, 13 to 17 year olds they surveyed were experiencing increased levels of stress and anxiety, and that their ability to cope was in decline.
As staff of The Hutchins School worked remotely during lockdown, the Art Curator (Dr Joy Barber-Milojevic) and School Counsellor (Mr Matthew Magnus) discussed how best to support the young people of the School during this challenging time. They considered what meaningful wellbeing measures might be introduced to provide every student the opportunity to express how they were feeling. The idea of a creative project involving the whole school was developed with the rationale being that through the medium of art, participants might have their own unique response valued and validated.
A plan for every student to participate in the making and flying of a kite was formed. Throughout September and October students teamed up in groups, to share their experiences and design their own kite. Part of this process included writing words expressing what they hoped or wished for the future, upon the kite tails. In what was a spectacular and vibrant school event, students from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12 gathered together on the War Memorial Oval to fly their kites. The idea that we share the same sky with everyone, everywhere, at this time is particularly poignant. That the multiple and collective voice of the School community fly in an immense sky has the potential to be a powerful and eloquent response to the extraordinary events of 2020.
Thank you to all staff involved in forming what was a meaningful and fun-filled event for our students.