A multi-disciplinary project that engages students at Dandenong Primary School in an extended investigation into the relationships between play (personal collecting) and cultural production (institutional collections) has been conceived by artist-educator Kym Maxwell.
Forming part of Monash University Museum of Art’s (MUMA) new exhibition called Shapes of Knowledge, the project Objects of Longing will result in a live theatre piece performed by the students at MUMA on Saturday 23 February 2019.
MUMA has an existing relationship with at Dandenong Primary School, which is located in the outer suburbs of Melbourne and has a multicultural demographic of recently settled refugees and an enthusiastic art department and principal.
Taking place over 18 months to allow for a diverse engagement across various learning platforms (site visits, class work, workshops and assessments), Objects of Longing began in Term 3 of 2018 with a facilitated workshop at MUMA.
Participating students had the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at the museum with curators and educators to learn about what museums collect and why. Students had the opportunity to view original artworks from the Monash University Collection and discuss the works.
Following the excursion, students engaged in a series of artist-led workshops at school. These activities were designed to encourage the students to research, develop and communicate their ideas about collecting and the role of collecting during playtime, with some students undertaking the task of being researchers. The creative outcomes of this stage (including artworks from the MUMA collection, student material responses and collecting paraphernalia) will be exhibited as part of Shapes of Knowledge at MUMA.