Voices Through Art: June Workshop with New Forest School

In June, we participated in a workshop run by Tracie and Sam at New Forest School. We have strived to include student voices at every step of our project but wanted to add a more immersive element to our work to help student motivation on the project.page4image1616810816

Tracie’s noticeboard involving extracts from the comic, student work and informative posts from our Instagram page

A group of 12 students from New Forest School (mostly Years 7-8) took part in a day-long workshop which was used as an opportunity for the students to meet the Team working on the project and for us to gather first-hand feedback and ideas from the students. The morning session involved a brief icebreaker before the students were split into two groups – the first group worked with Sam and Tracie in the art room colouring in Sam’s line art characters, choosing the colours that they felt best suited the characters.

They also talked about the animal characters including which they identified with and what they thought the characters might say to each other if they bumped into each other on their first day. They also played around with drawing out their own characters starting with basic circle outlines that Sam generated to teach young people how to draw comic characters.


An example of the task Sam and Tracie carried out with the students

Meanwhile, the second group worked with Amanda, New Forest School’s English Teacher, and Annie to discuss the individual panels of the comic. Students were prompted to think about what the different colours and expressions of the characters meant, how each animal could represent a certain feeling or personality trait and relate back to their own transition experiences. They also talked about

their own transitions, including what they felt worked best for them when they joined New Forest school and how they felt listened to. The groups rotated after lunch and carried out the previous group’s task.


Students used this panel to explore what emotions the colours & body language represented


The team enjoying their hard- earned lunch (left-to-right: Hanna, Tracie, Sam and Annie)

The team are very grateful for this collaboration with New Forest School – and for Tracie’s organisation of a busy day where everyone could come together to work on the comic art and storylines.

The workshop enabled us to generate ideas for new character colours, animals, and storylines based on the students’ feedback, suggestions, and experiences. Sam is busily creating the next iteration of comics and we will once more gather student feedback on these. We expect the students will be able to see how their involvement in the workshop supported the next comic, and as ever, we look forward to all their comments and feedback to these which we will gather before the end of the summer term.


One student took engagement with the skittles icebreaker to an artistic level

If you would like to be a part of this pilot please get in touch with Hanna Kovshoff who is leading the project:H.Kovshoff@soton.ac.uk