Romanobritish :: Ping Pong Portals to the Past

Jane Holland, Assistant Head Teacher at Woodlands with the completed 'Romanbritish' table tennis table.

Jane Holland, Assistant Head Teacher at Woodlands High School with the completed ‘Romanobritish’ table tennis table.

Caer Heritage Project artist Paul Evans has been busy recently, completing work on our Romanobritish table tennis tables or ‘Ping Pong Portals to the Past’.

Paul used a carefully chosen selection from dozens of designs created during three days of intensive artistic workshops with students from Woodlands and Glyn Derw High Schools – see the following links for further details of these lively creative sessions:

Session I

Session II

Session III

One of the many designs created by young people from Woodlands and Glyn Derw during the Romanobritish creative workshops.

One of the many designs created by young people from Woodlands and Glyn Derw High Schools during the Romanobritish creative workshops.

Using these designs Paul has created 16 hand cut stencils that were used to transfer the designs onto two table tennis tables, one to be permanently sited at Michaelstone Community School, the other at Woodlands High School.

 

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Testing the layout – hand cut stencils in place at Michaelston Community School.

 

Stencilling complete - The Michaelston Table.

Stencilling complete – The Michaelston Table.

RomanoBritish :: Session III

Roans v Britons table tennis ...

Romans v Britons table tennis …

The third and final Romanobritish workshop, which took place at Glyn Derw High School in late October 2015, was all about focussing on the output of the Romanobritish project – a design for our ‘Ping Pong Portal to the Past’.

We began the day with the enjoyable but challenging task of creating a cartoon ‘Romans v Ancient Britons’ table tennis match. Romanobritish lead artist Paul Evans handed out an example of what such a match might look like, but our young people had no problems creating their own, individual, unique interpretations of this scene.

Question is who would win? Answers on a postcard to CAER Heritage Project please!

Developing Celtic designs based on animal themes ...

Developing ‘Romanobritish’ designs based on animal themes …

Next we turned our attention to developing a series of Romanobritish symbols or motifs for our table tennis design, using a collection of images of beautiful Romanobritish brooches as inspiration …

Bringing it all together - our Romanobritish table tennis design emerges.

Bringing it all together – our Romanobritish table tennis design emerges.

Finally, we collected all of the ideas, drawings and motifs developed over the three days of workshops and transferred the best of these onto A0 sheets of paper laid out to scale with table tennis markings.

All of these will now feed into the final designs to be developed by lead artist Paul Evans over the next month. These will then be transferred onto the outdoor table tennis tables sat Woodlands High School and Michaelston Community College sometime during the first few weeks of 2016.

 

 

 

RomanoBritish :: Session II

 

A tribal emblem for the 'Salmon Tribe'.

A tribal emblem for the ‘Salmon Tribe’.

Day two of the RomanoBritish project was once again packed full of creativity.

After a review of last week’s activities we warmed up with a customised version of the surrealist parlour game Exquisite Corpse. Although this has a rather alarming title, it’s actually a very simple, fun and creative drawing game involving paper folds.

Our first game of 'Exquisite Corpse' ...

Our first game of ‘Exquisite Corpse’ …

After the first stage, during which we created some spectacular mixed-up monsters, we applied the same format to the Romans and the Brits.

A mixed up (hybrid) Roman/Britain ...

A mixed up (hybrid) Roman/Britain …

The next activity took us outdoors and onto Trelai Park where the Ely Roman Villa is buried*. Measuring out a 30m line – where 1mm represented a year, 1m a thousand years – the young people were each allocated a millennium, made a sign for this year on paper, and then physically spaced themselves along it to scale. This really made us think about the huge distance that we need to go back into deep time to encounter the very earliest cave art that we explored in RomanBritish Session I .

Measuring out our 30,000 year timeline.

Measuring out our 30,000 year timeline.

Once we had established our timeline we located the millennia to which our examples of ancient art belonged, drew them onto luggage labels and tied them in place.

Attaching examples of ancient art to our timeline .

Attaching examples of ancient art to our timeline .

Returning indoors we then looked further into the culture of ancient Rome.

‘Carpe diem’ … Seize the day!

The Romans have developed something of a reputation amongst historians for ‘colourful graffiti’ so we decided to turn this idea its head and create some colourful, contemporary, ‘graffiti style’ versions of Latin phrases. These were created collectively, each of the young people designing their own Roman graffiti letter which were then compiled into classical sayings.

We then explored the mosaics that were used by the Romans to decorate various surfaces.

A mosaic under construction ...

A mosaic under construction …

 

Mosaic_2_lo-res

One a number of beautiful mosaics that were produced in this part of the workshop.

*Roman Villa site: In 1894 a first century Roman villa was discovered on Ely Racecourse and excavations were carried out in 1922. The site of the villa is still visible as an unmown area in the middle of Trelai Park, although the excavations have been covered over. The site is a scheduled ancient monument.

 

RomanoBritish :: Session I

Our first collaborative - based on ancient hand stencils ...

Our first collaborative art work – based on ancient hand stencils …

Romanobritish is a new project that is being run in partnership between Woodlands School, Glyn Derw High School, Caer Heritage Project lead artist Paul Evans and Dr David Wyatt from Caer Heritage Project. The aim of the Romanobritish is to co-produce designs for playing surfaces of two table tennis tables that will be permanently sited within Woodlands and Michaelston Community Schools.

These ‘playable artworks’ will act as ‘ping-pong portals to the past’ with eye-catching designs based on artistic motifs from the Romanobritish cultural period that began after the Roman conquest around AD43. The first session, however, focussed on art that preceded this time and amounted to a whistle-stop tour of artistic prehistory.

The Romanobritish project will feature a number of collaborative artworks during the course of the project and our first piece was based on the theme of very ancient hand stencils which feature in the most ancient cave paintings, dating back some 40,000 years. These hand stencils were originally created using blown paint but we decided to use felt tip pens to trace our hands. Everyone in the class room – teachers, class room assistants and young people each traced their own hand onto the paper and decorated in with patterns based on the very earliest rock art and spiral motifs that appeared in the Neolithic.

Decorating our cave-art 'hand stencils' ...

Decorating our cave-art ‘hand stencils’ …

We then looked at Palaeolithic representations of animals and considered the conditions under which they were made – in the dark, deep in the ground, from memory. We each drew an animal from memory using charcoal – a material that would have been quite familiar to our ancient ancestors – again creating a group artwork, representing our collective identity.

Drawing animals from memory.

Drawing animals from memory.

The final creative task for a very busy morning was to make an individual artwork in homage to the Bronze Age . After looking at images of golden masks, we made a simple, mask-like form in plasticine. We then used another soft, shiny metal – aluminium foil – to mould around this.

Moulding aluminium foil around our 'Bronze Age' mask.

Moulding aluminium foil around our ‘Bronze Age’ mask.

Dr Dave Wyatt then made a short presentation on Caerau hill fort and its place in Romanobritish culture to the group which prompted lots of lively discussion.

Dr Dave Wyatt leads a lively discussion on Romanobritish culture.

Dr Dave Wyatt leads a lively discussion on Romanobritish culture.

The session was finished off with the young people being offered the chance to handle some recent finds from the dig – some of which had been buried out of sight for over 2,000 years.

We are grateful to the staff and pupils of Woodlands School and Glyn Derw High School for making this a very special day.

 

 

 

CAER HEDZ

Our on-site animation studio ...

Our on-site animation studio …

CAER Heritage Project community digs are nothing if not groundbreaking (no pun intended) but this time we really feel that we have pioneered a first in archaeology – by creating a hi-tec animation studio directly on site.

Working with CAER Heritage Project lead artist Paul Evans, and film maker Jon Harrison, pupils from Glyn Derw High School and Michaelston Community College worked in small groups with the latest technology to create short animation sequences for our forthcoming film ‘CAER HEDZ’.

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Everyone on site created their own ‘Celtic Head’ …

Over 40 were made in total, each a uniquely creative response to the same subject ...

Over 40 were made in total, each a uniquely creative response to the same subject …

Then, during lunchtime, everyone on site – including young people, community volunteers and Cardiff University archaeologists – downed tools to each make an individual ‘Celtic Head’ based on Iron Age examples. Over 40 heads were made in this way – revealing an amazing amount of skill and creativity – and contributing to ‘a unique, collective, creative moment’.

CAER Heritage project directors Dave and Olly looking focussed on the task in hand ...

CAER Heritage project directors Dave and Olly looking focussed on the task in hand …

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An excellent reaction to the variety of work from our on-site artists …

8 of these heads will be used to create animations that will be lip-synched animations with local voices from volunteers that were interviewed in The Hubs at an earlier date.

The CAER HEDZ emerge into the light of day from an Iron Age post-hole.

The CAER HEDZ emerge into the light of day from an Iron Age post-hole.

Towards the end of the working day all of these heads were placed in an arrangement around one of the post-hole excavations, emerging, as it were from the deep past!

All photos © Paul Evans 2015

 

 

Postcards from the Past | Postcards to the Future

Future postman ...

Future postman … Photo courtesy of David Owen/NCCPE

Tread softly, don’t forget, we do this for you.

Love,

Your Ancestors

On Wednesday 3rd December Paul Evans and Jeff Trask created this unusual encounter for the NCCPE Engage Conference in Bristol. Dressed as characters from the past and from the future (Jeff wore a medieval costume, the identity of the future postman remains something of a mystery), our time-travelling postmen invited conference delegates to write postcards either from the past to the present or from the present to the future*. Around forty highly original, imaginative (and some very moving) postcards were written, and the quality of the handwriting was judged as exemplary by our postman.

Please see below for a few examples, chosen more or less at random from our postbags.

Postcard to the past or postcard to the future?

Postcard to the past or postcard to the future? Photo courtesy of David Owen/NCCPE

 

Hello Humans!

Be excellent to each other – and don’t eat the red Smarties!

To the future!

Learn from the past & our mistakes. Be open and emotional, responsive & communicative. When aliens come, be their friends!

I hope everything is good for you & that we didn’t mess it up too much.

Charlotte X

We used to enjoy watching people kick balls into nets …

a team called Arsenal were the best at this.

It is OK to be radical

We’ve trodden too heavily on the earth, and forgotten to live in more equitable ways.

We’ve much to learn from the past in terms of the danger of walking heavily and the benefits of walking lightly.

We’ve one earth – engage with it wisely.

The university no longer exists – it becomes public.

Don’t trust the English!

When they come to visit your country to ‘help you out’ they actually plan to stay for 800 years and make you eat potatoes!!!

Dear the Future,

Sorry for breaking the environment and the healthcare system!

Hope you’re all OK!

P.S. Here’s a drawing of a tree in case you don’t know what one looks like X

To whom it may concern,

Let it be noted that you have not been forgotten and we are still learning from the relics you left behind and these experiences bring new engagements and relationships for the future!

Reality TV is a bad idea – don’t do it!

Don’t repeat the same mistakes generations before you have made.

*Even allowing for seasonal disruptions in the temporal continuum, we are confident that all of these postcards will have reached their destination in time for Christmas.

 

Digging Communities | Connected Communities Festival Part 3: The Connected Communities Banner Procession

CAERAU: HISTORY IS OUR FUTURE

CAERAU: HISTORY IS OUR FUTURE

In the third of three blog posts, Caer Heritage Project Lead Artist Paul Evans looks back on three creative projects that he was involved in co-curating for the AHRC Connected Communities Festival 2014. 

The Connected Communities Banner Procession arose through a collaborative process involving: Glyn Derw High School & the Healthy Wealthy and Wise Group from Caerau & Ely; St Aloysius School & Dowlais Primary Schools, Merthyr Tydfil; Dr Ellie Byrne, Research Associate for Representing Communities, Cardiff University; Sian Williams, librarian at the South Wales Miners’ Library; Dr David Wyatt from the CAER Heritage Project and Paul Evans, CAER Heritage Project lead artist.

Our designs, which were unveiled during a spectacular procession from Bute Park to Cardiff Bay, were developed during a series of intensive workshops led by Paul Evans in the communities of Caerau & Ely and Merthyr Tydfil. Each workshop was undertaken in the same format, where the young (and not so young) participants first devised a series of circular motifs based on traditional miners’ banner designs – and then invented a powerful slogan to encapsulate a positive message connecting past, present and future.

Banner design workshop with the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise group.

Banner design workshop with the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise group.

 

Glyn Derw's banner - work in progress ...

Glyn Derw’s banner – work in progress …

 

Banner design workshop at St Aloysius, Merthyr Tydfal ...

The banner design workshop at St Aloysius, Merthyr Tydfil …

... and at Dowlais.

… and the one at Dowlais.