St Mary’s girls move Heaven and Earth to create Ely Cathedral exhibition works

St Mary’s girls move Heaven and Earth to create Ely Cathedral exhibition works

10 June 2021

St Mary’s June Jubilee Jamboree celebration, which includes a wide range of curricular and extra-curricular fun, is well underway with a series of exciting and thought-provoking events for girls in our Senior School.

Having completed exams earlier in the week our students were more than ready for a creative day of Integrated Learning, and on Friday 11 June, they therefore participated in an exciting project that we are working on in partnership with Ely Cathedral for their up-coming exhibition Heaven and Earth – The World in Our Hands.

The exhibition is a special event to highlight some of the very real issues affecting our world, addressing our responsibility to safeguard our planet and to acknowledge the impact of climate change. The focal point is Gaia who, in Greek mythology, is the

personification of the Earth and the ancestral mother of all life. Students worked with sustainable materials to produce wonderfully creative work which filled the Cathedral nave.

They made beautiful wall hangings to communicate their ideas, contributed to the Stone Trail which symbolises togetherness, as well as making origami birds and writing haiku poems to symbolise peace and hope. However, this was not just a day to focus solely on their creative skills, in keeping with our philosophy of Integrated Learning the day called on a range of their academic skills. As Head of Textiles, Mrs Kakengi noted:

“Students used mathematical perspective when designing and executing their ​origami installations and wall hangings. They also learnt about sustainability and environmental issues by researching current news and affairs linking with ‘Heaven and Earth’ as part of the inspiration for painting their stones. “

Soft skills were not be left behind and our students became better team players and risk takers by the end of the day. There were

prizes for teamwork and collaboration, as well as individual prizes for empathy, kindness and leadership – all values we hold dear at St Mary’s. The project has been a wonderful opportunity to showcase our students’ passionately-held beliefs as well as their incredible creativity, in the awe-inspiring setting of Ely Cathedral.

This is an example of one of our Integrated Learning Days. Integrated Learning is part of our academic approach here at St Mary’s. Every year in years 7-9, students spend time away from their usual lessons working together on solving problems which require them to bring skills together from across a number of subject disciplines, they also deploy and develop those all important wider skills of collaboration and experimentation outside the confines of the curriculum. This process begins in Year 7 with a week spent on students working to the Theme of ‘Eliminating Injustice’- for example they sing protest songs in Music, look at how algorithms can entrench prejudice in computer science and at how fast fashion destroys the environment in textiles. They also hold a mini UN summit and put together a market place display on how they want to change the world.

We were also delighted that the day coincided with our summer Open Morning, so prospective parents could really get a feel for our diverse and bespoke approach to teaching and learning. Kate Latham, Director of Teaching and Learning, said of the day:

“It is so exciting and such an honour for us to be invited to fill the cathedral with wonderful art – we knew our girls were up to the challenge, and they didn’t let us down!”

The work that was produced will be taken to Ely Cathedral as part of their Heaven and Earth summer exhibition so do go along to show your support.

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