Big Bang Summer School 2014

This year’s Big Bang Summer School was a very special collaboration between Regent High School pupils alongside a variety of student volunteers from the Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD), the Institute of Education (IOE) and the University of Arts London (UAL) as well as our Generators and puppeteer Nina, writes Raiesa Choudhury.

Global Generation expanded into a super-team for two wonderful weeks with bright ideas and skills being shared in the special space of the Kings Cross Skip Garden.

From the first day, our new Big Bang Ambassadors embraced the Garden – watering, planting and exploring a space that lends itself to being what you want it to be through a little imagination. They were here to learn, but also to show us their capacities… and they showed us bucketloads of it!

Smelling the thyme in the sunshine and meeting some wonderfully creative children who taught me that we are all connected to each other and we can all participate in the story of our garden through interactions, smiling and learning and helping each other.
— Daisy, IOE

From the Universe Story-themed day where incredible personified writings came alive to the drama exercises led by Jacqueline and Kyle from CSSD where a fire dance emerged that would be part of the final performance.

There came a time when we had to stop being surprised at the strengths of our young Big Bang Ambassadors and start using it towards our Saturday performance.

There has always been a delicate balance between science, culture and religion in using the Universe Story, especially as it is a tool that Global Generation believes can be used to bring people together. One of our pupils, Aliya, struggled to meld her beliefs with what she saw as a contradicting Universe Story.

However, by the end of the day, she had found her place in it. The next day, Aliya had something special to share on our bee-themed day: a quote from the Quran about the importance of honey.

The bees communicate incredibly well with the flowers. These amazing and clever little things bring wonder to our taste buds. The intelligent and hairy creatures are a mystery to us all. They’re ingenious and incredible and a world without bees is a world with nothing.
— Reem, 11
The Universe leaves me with the question - Who is responsible for this beautiful creation? As a galaxy I have to be obedient because I have no control of the role I play. I am a mystery to the human brain because of the qualities I uphold. You will continue to wonder about this existence but I won’t tell a thing.
— Aliya, 16

So we all reenergised for our second week together – now using our Big Bang Ambassadors’ writings, artwork and a giant bee puppet to bring an emerging performance to life. Alongside our bright and commanding Generators, a script formed with plans to use the whole of Kings Cross Skip Garden as our theatre.

I am really glad to be fortunate enough to learn from the Garden. Being outside and being able to wander and wonder about the outside and inside of me. Should I have a plan? Or perhaps be confident enough to go with the flow. Imagining myself after the project: what will I feel, will I have discovered things or purely have enjoyed the experience for what it’s worth?
— Jacqueline, CSSD

One day to go… Our CSSD students helped the Big Bang Ambassadors with a movement workshop, our IOE trainee teachers had an exhibition underway and Charlie from UAL had built a beehive-shaped donation box to top it all off.

Saturday’s performance went off with a bang, as faces glittered with ‘stardust’ from the yurt through the poly-tunnel where artwork for our 14 billion-year timeline was displayed, to the Flying Classroom for a shadow puppet show with live saxophone and back towards the garden shed as our water nymphs carried their load through the skips.

Then back to the fire pit for a showdown with the giant bee puppet being saved by the nectar from a giant flower. Finally, Aliya’s bee quote from the Quran to close the show:

And thy Lord taught the bee to build its cells in hills, on trees and in (men’s) habitations... there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, wherein is healing for mankind.
I feel very comfortable in this beautiful garden. When I see the butterflies, it feels like I am a butterfly too, flying around the garden, seeing the bees and the apple tree.
— Asal, 11
I see beauty in all creatures. From the smallest bug to the large whales. I’ve learned a lot about life.
— Abdirahman, 11

A new experience for the Kings Cross Skip Garden and a wonderfully shared one for everyone involved. The Stories for a Better World project continues after a Summer School filled with promise and collaboration.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who took part, and to everyone who came to see the culmination of our efforts on Saturday.