Stories that take you to hidden places: family art workshops in South London
We were thrilled to visit Turf Projects this week, a small and welcoming gallery space tucked away in the corner of a busy shopping centre in Croydon, South London. Turf have built a strong family following for their series of family-friendly art workshops, which run alongside each of their contemporary art exhibitions. So, we went along to find out a little bit more. Turfs exhibitions are always pretty cutting-edge, and have covered a range of themes central to 21st century life. The current exhibition, Channel 6, is no exception.
Immigration, Brexit, abuses of power – Channel 6 explores how controversial news stories of the past, present and future could be broadcast over this imaginary sixth TV channel. The title, as you may have guessed, refers to the pre-digital age when viewers had just five options for channel-hopping. A concept pretty alien to most of the gallery’s younger visitors!
Image cr. Tim Bowditch
Like many of Turf’s installations, this one includes beautiful moving imagery, in this case taking the form of mini broadcasts from the hidden ‘sixth channel’. With these images, sound clips and static illustration pieces dotted around the walls, stepping into Channel 6 is quite an exciting, immersive experience.
But how can contemporary art around serious political themes be relatable to families coming through the door, during their visit to the Whitgift shopping centre? Sophie, the family workshop leader, tells us that children are loving the idea of a secret sixth channel: “Channel 6 is a secret, hidden channel. It's a blank canvas enabling families to get creative and respond to the news with their own thoughts, feelings and opinions.”
The family workshop based on this exhibition gives them a chance to do just that, by creating their own programmes, adverts, news reports. Families can work together to construct sets, props and costumes to perform their final programme together under the specially crafted old-style TV stand. Modern technology comes in useful too, grabbing a copy to share with the rest of the family at home.
We were impressed with how artists at the gallery had adapted themes from the exhibition to create a truly captivating experience for families. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
Turf’s next family art fun day takes place this Saturday 16th November at their gallery space in the Whitgift Shopping Centre, Croydon. Spaces fill up fast so make sure to book a free ticket in advance online or in the gallery. Jennifer Martin’s ‘Channel 6’ runs until 7th December.
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