How Many?

One of the powerful uses of TinyTap is for the learners to create a game as part of their learning process. One of my first few ideas which was tried with a class of preschooler has been made into this sample game.

http://www.tinytap.it/activities/g2v7g/play/how-many

Each learner or pair of learners is given a pair of plates and some counters. They are then assigned a number say X which they have learned. They have to place the correct number of counters in one plate and incorrect number for the other. Then take a photo and Ask a Question “Which plate has X?”

The process of putting the counters onto the plate will mean having to understand exactly what a number means and also what it does not (which can be any other configuration). This is a powerful learning experience isn’t it?

 

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Community Art

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Spent the evening at a casual, intimate and very stimulating conversation about the practice of community art facilitated by Janet Pillai and Jeffrey Tan. The group comprised artists as well as art administrators from NAC.

After listing the problems faced as a community artist, we built our conversation using two specific community art projects which are in progress as points of reference and springboards to further tease out the issues from the list and more broadly, to develop our collective understanding of community art.

We finally arrived at a representation of the practice of community art showing the relationship between the artist and the community using circles. From the artist working independently without the involvement of the community, to that of artist and community co-creating together.

When the question arose as to whether one of these represented the “ideal or definitive” community art (CA) project, it was most interesting to consider the idea that the entire spectrum of this could be CA. The crux resting on what the issue in the community is which the project is responding to in order to inform which type of CA is most appropriate.

In contrast, there might be many projects in which the specific issues within the community are entirely overlooked, and in some cases, it is the artist’s or the funding agency’s or governing authority’s imposing their artistic intention onto the community. An example might be the creating of a wall mural in a community which does not consider what that community needs or appreciates at all.

There is clearly nothing definitive about this discussion but it has certainly given rich food for thought and presented potentially useful and powerful frameworks for developing CA and for addressing the problems and challenges faced by community artists.

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Made a Pitch

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The idea of a social enterprise is a company that does good as it’s core activity while sustaining it as a business. In Singapore, we have an agency that supports SEs called raiSE.

Among other things, it runs an event called Leap for Good. This year, is the second run of it. Based on specific social needs, it is a call for ideas to vie for seed funding with a whole sleuth of supporting activities. This year, the focus was on two groups – Seniors and Caregivers.

I spent a weekend recently at the Hackathon – a chance to gather a team to help refine and create an initial pitch. Having read the initial research done about the needs of Seniors and Caregivers, and given my interest and experience in the use of the arts for better well-being, I went with my “Art and Stories on Wings” idea. My hope was to to see if this idea resonated with anyone and to learn more about the dimensions of a SE which I need to look into.

There were a few people who expressed interest in what could be done with creative arts but most had their own pitch and team. I was also able to quickly share about my use of TinyTap with seniors which resonated wth a few more people.

For the pitch I had in mind, I was honoured to walk through it with Giak Lang, Lay See and Rachel.

While there were quite a few things to look into regarding the facets of a SE, I must say that my idea remained more or less similar to what I had in mind at the start. (Was I too focused or just too stubborn? Haha) The concern has been whether there is really a potential market for this and perhaps how important it is to be very clear about the target group and the needs to be met (since the arts is often erroneously regarded as a good to have, rather than a necessity.  Preventive medicine is hard to sell.)

I also felt that the pairing of art with stories in picture books to be unique (and a selling point for positioning the product for a wider market), however, I was advised that perhaps picture books are too childish for seniors (which I beg to differ with). Since this was told to me ar a fairly late stage, in my 3-minute pitch, I have left that out.

The deadline for final submission is tomorrow but I would say I am not ready to go beyond this initial stage at this point. I am very glad to have learnt a few things through the process, met many wonderful people and potentially good collaborators too.

Hoping that someday soon “Art and Stories on Wings” will help inspirations take flight for a lot more people, no matter young or old.

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A Hundred Languages

I met this boy in one of my art tours and he was walking right in front of the queue with his class. While walking as a class, he got rather annoyed when his friend cut his queue. As he pouted away, his teacher indicated to me that this boy has behaviour problems.

Then an idea struck him and he came running to me to hold my hand. This way, no one would be ahead of him.

When the class started drawing the cactus-like sculpture they were looking at, he was one of the fastest to finish. I suggested that he could add his own nature-inspired pattern and so he added fire with smoke. I then pointed out the space around his drawing and told him to think of something to draw. He asked if he could draw a mosquito. Can you spot that? Since he was still among the faster ones, he had time and this time, he asked if he could add a very tall ladder.

When everyone was done with their drawing, they were told to write their name. I noticed the reversal in how he spelt. This got me wondering if this a learning challenge that is showing up as a behavioural problem.

In art, he certainly flourished and enjoyed expressing himself so creatively.

Indeed, all children, and perhaps all of us, do express ourselves in “a hundred languages”. It’s a pity when those who speak in the less popular ones are misunderstood or even neglected. Art does offer a wide range of ways to express ourselves, no matter how young or old we might be, and many more of us should have, or give ourselves, the chance to play with art. Agree?

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Sparks!

The wrap-up celebration of the pilot art residency at nursing homes – an exhibition at Raffles City which opened today. It was graced by President Halimah.

I am glad to meet Aunty Joan, Aunty Kwan, Mercy and Laurice again. Aunty Joan was very animated and interacted wonderfully with the guests.

The setup of our artwork was beautifully done. Pity though that the sound from the iPad way too soft, and links to their creations on QR codes were missing. Hopefully these will be corrected soon.

It was also great to finally see the fabulous artwork done at the other homes.

Here are photos of the team, including our curator Michael and the superb AIC reps Daniel and Charmaine. And a few of myself … haha!

The exhibition runs till 18 Mar.

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Nightingale

This is probably one of the fastest I have ever been in creating a new TinyTap resource. Here’s my retelling of the famous fairy tale Nightingale.

http://www.tinytap.it/activities/g2nts/play/nightingale

The text was written in rhyme (call me crazy) and then I created the illustrations (did re-purpose an earlier work) before stitching it all together on TinyTap.

There’s an upcoming Tell a Fairy Tale Day on 26 Feb and there will be a special playlist of fairy tale themed TinyTap games.

Come hear the nightingale sing and tell me what you think.

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Volunteers for Outings with Seniors

Imagine bespoke programs that will engage a senior with dementia or draw an isolated senior to be out engaging in the community.

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Empower Ageing, a registered charity, is prototyping personalized outings for seniors with dementia changing the way how outings are usually done.

Volunteers who are interested to co-develop this series of themed based outings  are needed. Training will be provided to help the volunteers relate better to seniors with dementia.

The volunteers will:

  • Brainstorm and come up with activities and programmes based on the theme.
  • Get to know the seniors and learn their history and interest.
  • Assist and care for the seniors during the outings
  • Facilitate small group sharing to draw out the stories
  • Observe how the seniors react to the various scenarios and activities
  • Feedback to lead so that a profile could be compiled for each seniors

Requirements:

Commitment : 1⁄2 day (4 hour) weekly for 12+3 wk (including training & modification of programme)

Age : 18 years and above

Energetic and passionate
Experience relating to seniors
Interest in arts, local history, culture or music
Able to speak Chinese dialects will be a great advantage
May be required to provide some assistance to seniors during the outings

Shortlisted volunteers will be contacted to attend an interview.

Contact:
Esther Yeo: 6841 9136

More details in the PDF documents in the link below:

Recruitment of volunteers for Dementia OutingWriteup – DM Fun Day Out for volunteer requirement

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