NowHaus Session One


Yesterday we met the Year 4 class we're working with to build a house (you can read more about the project in the post below)! It was great to finally meet them, they were brimming with ideas and enthusiasm and we all couldn't wait to get started.

The first session centred around The Shipley and its collections, we wanted the children to view the work from a new perspective and think differently (we did have a moment where one group was looking at the work backwards through their legs!). The initial activities were centred around distortion, design and hacking.


The children were all given a telescope each, the end of which was covered in a different transparent material (netting, webbing, coloured acetates). There was also a box of materials which they could pop over or wrap around their heads (lame, bubble wrap). The idea being that the collections would be distorted in some way, whether it allowed them to focus in on a design detail, obstructed elements of the work or made the work 'fuzzy'. They then were encourage to draw what they could see through the material.


Giant rolls of paper were laid out on the floor of the Designs For Life exhibition. The children were asked to look at the collection of chairs – what did they like, what didn't they like, what materials felt like. We then moved onto thinking about designing our own chairs – what shape would it be, how big would it be, what would you make it out of. The children explored how it would make them feel if their feet dangled off the edge, or the chair could move or even talk! Their ideas were then drawn on the floor – we had chairs with slides into swimming pools, chairs which were entire houses, chairs which danced, chairs made out of gold and leather, chairs made out of lots of other chairs!


Pen Hack

The pen hack centred around looking at surface, pattern and texture on the walls of the gallery, then translating these ideas onto giant rolls of paper. We had a series of pens which were attached to various objects (cups, glasses, tubes) or to each other in long lines or scrunched together in balls. Children were encouraged to make marks and patterns with the pens in any way they liked, it was messy and it was great!

 The pen hack

The pen hack

Talk from Tim Bailey, Xsite Architecture

Tim came down to The Shipley to give a talk on the history of architecture in 10 minutes! Tim showed the children how buildings came to be what they are today from tents, to mud huts, to flat roves, to sky scrapers and everything inbetween. The children were encouraged to think about what materials were available at the time of building and the evolution of buildings in line with the development of technologies.

 Tim's talk

Tim's talk

Group Build

Fresh from Tim's inspiring talk, the children put into practice what they had just learnt. They were given access to the Chalk scrapyard to build a structure in anyway they liked. The materials they had to work with were:

  • Tubes (large and small)
  • Bamboo canes (large and small)
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Blankets and cushions
  • Floor matting
  • Foil blankets
  • Acetate
  • Twine
  • Selotape

The results were fantastic, lots of freestanding structures and completely different ideas.


We will be uploading videos and further images of the session in the coming days.