The Balfour Beatty Project

In September, GCSE Art and Design students in Year 11 had a great opportunity to work on a project in collaboration with Balfour Beatty. The company contacted our Development leader Pippa Blackstone in the summer with a view to making the main site building on the A21 development more attractive.

Following a site visit and meetings between Mrs Blackstone and myself with Balfour Beatty’s Natalie O’Dwyer and Environment and Sustainability deputy manager Sam Bower, a plan was hatched to create some more thought provoking art work that might have greater potential for use by the company.

Following some intense independent planning and preparatory tasks to some tight deadlines, small collaborative groups were chosen to plan to realise intentions. The girls were enthusiastic and worked with great determination to create some truly amazing mixed media works of art that will form part of their coursework for assessment in 2017. They also proved themselves to be excellent team players!

On Wednesday 23 November, Balfour Beatty’s Sam Bower and Design Manager, Alison Stevenson used the Years 10 and 11 assembly to present the complexities of what is involved in a development project of this scale and the special measures taken to preserve ancient woodland and established wildlife - if you are interested take a look for yourself.

The art students also had the opportunity to present their artwork to their peers. Rebecca, Phoebe, Mia and Alexandra  presented the ideas and inspirations behind the art work. Rebecca rounded up with a very thoughtful statement -

“Conflicts between conservation and development are ever present in modern life. It is easy to disconnect ourselves from the natural world due to the rise of technology and industry. Our lifestyle often damages the delicate ecosystems of the environment around us. Our paintings not only represent the difference between the two themes, but also how they can be balanced - both nature and industry are powerful forces, and can be combined to create empowering innovations.”

Balfour Beatty really had no idea what to expect. Even though I had sent them some samples of what the girls are capable of, we totally surpassed their expectations and they are thrilled with the results.

I would like to extend my thanks to Balfour Beatty for this opportunity and for their support in enabling it to happen.

Please stay posted for updates for what will happen with the art work next!

Mr J Tibbits-Williams