Learning Programme

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Hayley Buscombe, the Trust’s Learning Officer, runs a learning programme for schools, families and the community which is based on the local fishing industry, the sea, and the artists who work alongside the fishermen.

Workshop sessions are offered both at Porthmeor and as outreach at schools and other venues, and the content and length of the workshop sessions can be tailored to meet needs. A range of activities are offered including art-based; practical hands on activities such as rope-making; archival based activity including freeze-framing; and story-telling and role-play. A visit to Porthmeor can include a demonstration of net setting by one of the resident fishermen, a tour of the historic fishing cellars and viewing Mark Dion’s site specific installation ‘The Maritime Artist’. A town trail based on the fishing industry and a visit to one of the Fishermen’s Lodges is also possible.

The Gyotaku Fish Printing Workshop has been our most popular activity, and it has been delivered to over 1200 Cornish school children, as well as adults and families at Falmouth Art Gallery and Newlyn Fish Festival.

Gyotaku fish printing was traditionally used by Japanese fishermen to record their catch. Images are created by painting squid ink onto the fish and printing directly onto cloth or rice paper, giving an accurate record of the size, shape and types of fish caught. These workshop sessions were originally developed by Vicky Wiltshire, a freelance visual artist and art educator, in conjunction with Tate St Ives for their 2014 Aquatopia Exhibition.

The workshop sessions begin by looking at a selection of fresh local fish; examining the different body and tail shapes and the colours and patterns on the skin, and these differences are then related to habitats and lifestyle. Children learn where squid ink comes from and why squid have ink in their bodies, and they then have the opportunity to choose a fish and to make their own prints.

“They all learned a lot from the experience, had a lot of fun and had a super piece of artwork that they can be proud of.”
“Surpassed all expectations – it literally became the talk of the school” 
“The practical activity will be a life-long memory for the children.”