Residency: Natalya Martin and Sian Watson Taylor at Ellesmere College

Across May and June 2021, Natalya Martin, supported by Sian Watson Taylor delivered an 18 day residency at Ellesmere College. Sessions were to be delivered partly as live video call sessions, with additional pre-recorded and pre-planned provocations for teaching staff to explore with their students. Unfortunately, on the first day of delivery, 2 of 3 classes went into isolation due to a positive case within their bubble. This led to just one class receiving in person sessions, and the
remainder being moved to pre-recorded.
Sessions were developed in partnership by the 2 artist team, developing from the successes of the residency at Ashmount, Sian created stages for the 3 classes at Ellesmere, with Natalya planning nature themed explorations which could take place in the classroom or outside due to the portability of the young people’s mats.


The sessions were a good example of emergent curriculum, with session 1 exploring
mandalas and patterns made from flowers, herbs and other natural resources. Young people in the sessions clearly went from a calm, still beginning, slowly developing to in depth explorations of the materials, smelling, scrunching, pulling apart and arranging in their own designs. As with Sian’s sessions at Ashmount, Natalya quietly went about her own exploration during the session, giving space for learners to set the pace, and then responding when learners wished to share something by approaching the camera, or to support the teaching staff facilitating the session within the room.

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