Heather & Ivan Morison: Shadow Curriculum

Highshore School watch the felling of the tree in Sussex. Photo: Wig Worland

Highshore School watch the felling of the tree in Sussex. Photo: Wig Worland

Highshore School watch the felling of the tree in Sussex. Photo: Wig Worland

Shadow Curriculum is a project led by artists Heather and Ivan Morison which unfolds in several chapters over the forthcoming year. In early 2013 the artists have been working in partnership with teachers and students at Highshore, a mixed needs special secondary school situated in Peckham, to create a new large-scale permanent art work which will eventually be located in the school’s new premises in Camberwell.

For the first phase of the project, 150 students and teachers travelled to a forest in Sussex in June 2013 to witness the felling of a 34m-high Douglas fir tree. The tree was then transported to the school in Peckham where it will play a central role in the curriculum during the rest of the school year. The students, working with the artists, will be involved in considering how the tree might be transformed and what kind of object it could become, and what meaning that object would have, in advance of the whole school moving to a brand new building in Camberwell in May 2014. A procession through the streets of Peckham, led by the students of Highshore, will follow the tree’s transition from the school's current to new premises in June 2014. The culmination of the procession and the project will see the transformed tree being raised back into its original vertical position to tower above the new school building, acting as a flagpole as well as an embodiment of Highshore’s unique spirit.

In Oct - Nov 2015 an exhibition in the first floor galleries documented the project. It featured a filmed documentary of the work and process of Shadow Curriculum, shot and edited by Pete Telfer. Also on display were specific objects which documented the two-year-long project and the range of materials and outcomes created with the pupils at Highshore School. 

Artists Heather and Ivan Morison make art as an active engagement with materials, histories, sites, and processes. Through their peripatetic travels the Morisons have produced sculpture, photographs, buildings, fiction and are developing their own arboretum. 

This commission is part of a strand of SLG Local which brings contemporary art into a wide range of social settings in the vicinity of the South London Gallery and is sponsored by Bloomberg.

With thanks to Highshore School. 


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