The Green Alphabet Project

September 2017

Part of FlipSide’s 2017 festival schools work, the Green Alphabet Project was a literacy and art project for KS2 children and took place in Lowestoft in September & October 2017.  The aim of the project was to start a conversation with the school children about environmental issues and use this as a basis for literacy and art work, incorporating an array of differing art forms.  The project had a special focus on the work of distinguished Brazilian poet Leonardo Froés - a celebrated journalist and writer whose work has concentrated on issues of the environment and sustainability in Brazil.  Dubbed Brazil’s ‘Green Poet’, Froés was a very special guest for the Lowestoft schools’ workshops which took place in recycling week!    

The project worked with 8 schools across Lowestoft including the Ashley School for children with additional needs and 1 school in Ipswich.

Teacher Emily Applegate from Gunton Primary School, Lowestoft wrote:

 “The children have really enjoyed doing it, they have been enthused by the different forms of art and it’s great for them to know that their work will be seen by others in Lowestoft, when it is displayed at the library.”

The project was split into four parts:

  1. Workshop One – The Green Alphabet Project was introduced and the children looked at the alphabet books by Eleanor Farjoen and John Agard, and the artistic alphabets of Michael Rothenstien, David Jones and Quentin Blake; they discussed which artistic style they preferred and debated why.  Time was then spent looking at environmental issues, particularly linked to the rainforest.  From this the children came up with words linked to the environment. Each child was given a letter and had to decide what that letter stood for. For example A is for Amazon, B is for Bee, C is for Carbon. In the second part of this workshop we explored poetic techniques and looked at the work of Brazil’s Green Poet, Leonardo Froés. This helped the children to write two lines of poetry about their chosen word. By the end of the workshop the children had produced a whole class alphabet poem.
  2. Workshop Two – in this workshop the children looked at pop artists, namely Sonia Dalauney, Patrick Caulfied and Craig Martin. They discussed and debated the different styles, they also looked at Matisse’s “Paper Cuts”.  This research informed the design of their green alphabet collages whereby the students created an image about their word by cutting out coloured paper and sticking it down.
  3. Visit from Brazil’s Green Poet, Leonardo Froés – children from the primary schools in Lowestoft had the opportunity to visit Lowestoft Library in early October to hear from Leonardo and his wife Regina, a retired head teacher. In Ipswich, Leonardo and Regina visted the school and spoke to Year 5.
  4. Exhibition – the output of the children’s collages were put together by  arts practioner Susan  Brinkhurst on large sheets of paper. The Lowestoft schools' work was displayed double sided in the Lowestoft library windows alongside their class poems, creating a visually striking presence.  This exhibition ran from 20th October – 22nd November 2017. The Ipswich school's work was on dislay at Snape Maltings during the FlipSide - Snape Maltings festival.

This project was delivered in line with the requirements of Discover Arts Award and children had the opportunity to gain this award; 60 children are working towards this qualification.

Meeting Leonardo Froés was very inspiring and aspirational for the children as Leonardo lives and works in the rainforest. The children had many questions for Leonardo about what the rainforest was like and how big the spiders were! They also had the opportunity to learn a short poem in Portuguese.  It was wonderful to partner with Lowestoft Library for these sessions as it brought the school groups together in the library and enabled the children to see what the library had to offer.

During the week of the festival many of the children who had taken part in workshops came into the library with their parents to view their artwork and  attended the festival.

The project was devised by FlipSide director, Genevieve Christie and delivered by FlipSide’s Outreach Manager, Alyson Tipping and Arts Practioner, Susan Brinkhurst.

In the press:

We're very grateful to the Chivers Trust and the East Anglian Art Foundation for thier generous support of this project.