Culture Detectives




From September 2010 through July 2011, Nimble Fish joined forces with A New Direction and 13 other Cultural Organisations across London to carry out an Olympic Themed Creative Partnership Enquiry School Programme in 150 schools. Nimble Fish’s programme of work, Culture Detectives, was an enquiry into culture: how it is defined, why it is important, and how it connects one set of individuals to others, both in the UK and around the world. We invited teachers and students to ‘co-author’ these definitions, using a variety of creative tools to find ‘clues’ that link their culture to that of the world of the Olympics. The results led to all kinds of ‘sleuthing’ activities.

The Year 2s at Dersingham Primary worked used Movement, Mime, Song and Play to investigate different aspects of the Olympics: sports, the Opening Ceremony and the different cultures of the participating countries!

At Gascoigne Primary the Gifted and Talented students from years 4 and 5 worked as interviewers, film-makers and editors! They made two films—one a detective story about the Olympics and the other an animated exploration of culture.

Students in year three and four at Horniman Primary worked together to come up with their own definition of culture: ‘culture is what makes us us’. They then developed cultural questions and cultural tokens for the rest of the school – leaving suggestions and clues around the school premises. These took the form of thought bubbles, comic strips, secret spy ball videos and culture boxes.

The students at Immanuel and St Andrews Primary created a chat show about good sportsmanship, cheating, winning and the world with their local community.

Two year 5 classes at John Ball Primary explored the difference between personal identity and cultural identity. Each student made their own ‘shoebox’ artwork, decorating shoeboxes and filling them with objects and anecdotes that they feel represent themselves and their culture.

The year 5’s at Malorees Junior explored the history of both the Olympics and of the Wembley Arena. Their film features key historic moments that they researched themselves – including the Ancient Olympic Games, the 1948 Olympic Games, the 1966 World Cup at Wembley and Live Aid!

The students at One One Five Behavioural worked with spoken word artists to explore their culture as young Londoners. Music and fashion were seen to dominate the cultural landscape so the students cut two tracks themed around a day in the life of a young Londoner.

Year 3 and Year 4 students at Queensbridge Primary explored what culture means to them and how it might relate to the world of the London 2012 Olympics. In one session, pictured, pupils were asked to bring in an item or photograph that captured an important sense of their personal culture, which pupils had collectively defined as anything that made them happy, feel safe, or was precious to them.

St Mary of the Angels Primary explored the ‘culture of their classroom’ with Yr 3 & 4 and how this can help them create their very own Olympic Opening Ceremony.

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