by Mélys Codo
While invigilating the art exhibition My Dreams, My World, Chloe Harrison, 2nd-year Fine Art/ History of Art joint honours student and CEN8 extraordinaire, took the time to reflect with us on her prolific year at CEN8, her aspirations for the future, and how the two are seamlessly interwoven together.
Chloe got involved at the beginning of the academic year, after learning about CEN8 through Goldsmiths’ Careers Service. Eager to take her experience as a student beyond the realm of academic life, she decided to become a volunteer. “I really wanted to do something out of my course, and I am really interested in art and art education” she said. Thus, not only did CEN8 offer Chloe a fertile place for self-growth and personal development; it also provided her with an extra-curricular outlet to bind together her passion for art and her interest in education.
Chloe hit the ground running as she started volunteering with CEN8. Eager to set up a visual arts workshop, she discussed with Gill the possibilities for such a group activity to be implemented, and as early as October, the Kids After School Club was in full swing. “It was one day a week until after Christmas and then we took it up to two days a week” explains Chloe, who gradually undertook more responsibility, such as carving out lesson plans for each weekly session, and liaising with fellow CEN8 volunteers to make sure that sessions would be facilitated.
Having displayed such sound organisation skills and having dedicated so much of her time to CEN8, Chloe caught the attention of Gill – CEN8 director – who decided to record her activities on a Higher Education Achievement Record – otherwise known as HEAR, a national initiative implemented – and soon-to-be implemented – in about 90 national higher education institutions. “I didn’t actually realize I was doing the HEAR” reveals Chloe, “I just wanted to do something that was not part of my course […] and then Gill told me she logged in my hours on the HEAR”. It is most certainly this sense of selflessness and of disinterested dedication which carried Chloe all the way through to the third level of the initiative, which consists in leading a project and evidencing leadership skills.
Chloe’s leading involvement in the organisation and curation of the art exhibition My Dreams, My World was only natural, as the Fine Art/History of Art joint honours student had been so thoroughly involved in the process of creation which took place during the weekly workshops. The theme of the exhibition stemmed rather organically out of the framework the workshops had been delivered through. “I think the theme came from how we were asking children to visualize things, and what we were asking them to visualize”, tells Chloe, in whose opinion the exhibition was a good platform for children to showcase their work, and to proudly show their parents each piece they had created.
Working with young children proved to be a most precious learning experience for Chloe – as much on a personal level as on a professional one. Not only did she get to interact with the children who attended the workshops, and to witness their enthusiastic commitment into making art; she also got an insight into what working with children is like – a most valuable insight, considering Chloe highly values education, and is interested in going into teaching.
From her calm composure to her disarming humility, there is something about Chloe – something resolute leaders and thorough educators are made of. Lucky are her students to come; lucky are we to see her come back next year.