Week 22 | Skids Row: 07.07.10

“Any sane person could be excused for thinking that a rap star had taken up a trainer-design residency at the V&A…”

‘Cardboard Constructions’

Imagine the poor security guard’s face when a thousand shoeboxes were delivered to the Sackler Centre… Any sane person could be excused for thinking that a rap star had taken up a trainer-design residency at the V&A and he was using the entire materials budget to ship in a trolley load of box-fresh Nikes. Except that person would be wrong. The shoeboxes were completely empty and they were destined for the children taking part in our ‘Cardboard Constructions’ workshop.

But getting hold of the shoeboxes turned out to the easy part. By the time the kids stepped foot in the studio, the aberrant in-house team of expert cutters, stickers and modelers had spent an entire week transforming the dimensions of each humble shoebox into a blank stage-set model.

It was a truly gigantic project and big props go to Petr, Ziya, Kris, Chris, Max, Leanne, Edith, Lyn and Mark for their tireless dedication to the craft. Thank you A-Team!

Look kids. No hands!

The workshop challenged each participant to personalise a blank stage set under the umbrella theme of ‘play’. To encourage the children to draw inspiration from the V&A collection, we armed them with clipboards, we told them to imagine the V&A as a playground and we issued them with a mandate to find shapes, patterns and structures in the museum that they could redeploy in their stage sets as swings, slides and seesaws.

In hindsight, we must have sounded like deluded parents when we turned our children loose on the museum galleries and told them to look with their eyes and not with their hands. But luckily for us, the kids must have been paying attention, because there have been no reports of unruly youths climbing over the Horace Walpole exhibition like a jungle gym.

c/o Wendy’s House, Skid Row

The participants returned to the Sackler Centre with their clipboards and set about turning their drawings and ideas into playful stage-set models. 

When the children were finished with their unique designs, we added each of the shoebox-sized models together – a bit like cardboard bricks – and created a full sized pop-up playhouse.

The playhouse even has a cardboard roof, which we managed to fit just in time for the photo-op at the end of the week.

It must be that time of year again…

Our London Met students had their external exams this week and the word is that they did extremely well. We’d like to thank them all for their hard work throughout the year and we look forward to seeing their work at the final show.

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