|What: Make Medals - Fake Medals. Workshop producing fake medals with families|
Who: a secret club for The House of Fairy Tales
This activity was devloped as part of our collaboration with Annabelle Hartmann as a secret club to be part of The House of Fairy Tales's travelling art circus at their Port Eliot Festival stop.
The activity started it's life as a pitch to work with The House of Fairy Tales and was accepted pretty much as is: Getting participants to make medals out of scrap paper and old coins - we later added an emphasis on the medals being fakes, but more on the subversive layer a bit later.
This project was based on the same system of simplifying parts of the making as our The Artic project, but with more flexibility as participants would have more time to spend at this one. Initially, we thought of a wider range of medal templates, but the rosette-version was by far the most visually striking and we decided for more choice within that design rather than fundamentally different designs.
The House of Fairy Tales run an elaborate passport scheme as part of these educational/playful events, participating children get stamps for trying things out and/or interacting with a series of "players" thereby earning badges and eventually medals. A secret club worked outside of this scheme, prompting participants to cheat and make their own medal rather than earning them, we produced small secretive flyers that we hid in the passports that were handed out, suggesting that passport take the easy way to glory and our counterfitting workshop was hidden in a dark den.
This subversive element sits perfectly with the ethos of a secret club - no child was in doubt that it is wrong to cheat but also that the rules of this fairy tale world were different to those of, say, school and therefore cheating obtains a different status, it becomes part of the "story" that they experienced that day. Furthermore, this "cheating" activity took longer than any other activity, cheating was definitely not a shortcut.
A secret club focuses on collaborative play, these activities are not entertainment in the same way that two children playing together isn't entertainment, they are an ongoing educational project that aim to teach useful skills and thinking that is less recognised in today's society - creative thinking, experimentation and curiousity as opposed to skills that can be weighed, measured and tickboxed. For more of that kind of thing, visit a secret club