Northfield Academy pupils ask “What’s Your Treasure?”

Northfield Academy pupils pictured at the Treasure Hub with Councillor Jessica Mennie, Vice Convener, Children and Family Services Committee, and artist Mhairi Allan.

PUPILS FROM Northfield Academy have created a new exhibition called What’s Your Treasure? at the Treasure Hub museum collection centre, close to the school. It will be seen for the first time by visitors to the Treasure Hub Open Day on Saturday 17 June.

During May and June, 27 pupils from S2, S3 and S4 worked with artist Mhairi Allan to offer their own perspectives on a selection of artworks and objects at the Treasure Hub. The state-of-the-art facility, which opened in Northfield in 2016, is where the collection is stored and cared for when not on public display in the city’s gallery and museums.

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Mhairi Allan is an Aberdeenshire-based textile designer, Lecturer in Art, Design and Textiles, and founder of Paper House Design. The pupils worked with Mhairi over a number of sessions at the Treasure Hub to explore themes of place and community and looking at how they can express their own culture and heritage through the idea of ‘treasure’. The sessions are culminating in the What’s Your Treasure? exhibition, which features items chosen by the pupils, together with their creative responses to the question of what treasure means to them.

This residency is part of This is Northfield, a City Council programme which will deliver four artists’ residencies with Northfield Academy in 2023. Working with artists on projects themed around Creative Northfield, Resilient Northfield, Health and Wellbeing and What’s Your Treasure?, the programme is engaging with pupils, teachers and the wider school community to explore, discuss and celebrate the school and its community. This is Northfield is being delivered by the Council’s Creative Learning team, together with a number of partners, including staff from Archives, Gallery & Museums who are responsible for the Treasure Hub.

Councillor Martin Greig, Convener of the Education and Children’s Service Committee and Northfield Advisory Group, said: “This is Northfield is an excellent partnership initiative. The collaboration with artists and other specialists is adding a welcome extra dimension to the learning experiences of pupils at Northfield Academy. The teamwork is really helping to release the creative energy and enthusiasm of the young people. It is inspiring to see the thoughtful work that they have produced. I am really grateful to all the students who have taken part and who have given so much time and effort. The Council’s Treasure Hub is located in the area, so it is especially appropriate that the city’s art and history collection is being used as a local resource by the school and the community.”

Mhairi Allan, artist, said: “Working with Northfield Academy pupils and teachers to explore the Treasure Hub with the Archives, Gallery & Museums team has been a brilliant experience. Seeing how everyone has reacted to getting special access to the collection has been wonderful. Every student has had a go at all the various textile techniques I’ve shown them, from stitching onto paper to group collage. It’s been great to see their confidence and curiosity grow. They have worked with the curators to create a wonderful exhibition for the Open Day. I’m really excited to see folks’ reactions to the marvellous work the students have created. They are proud of themselves, I’m proud of them and I am sure every visitor will be too.” 

One of the pupils from Northfield Academy who has taken part in the project said: “This has been a new experience and we’ve learnt new stuff. We got to see behind the scenes at the Treasure Hub and saw clothes, paintings, photographs, shoes and hats. It was interesting seeing all the old toys and different types of pictures. It really added to our project and helped us to understand more about different types of art and what treasure could be.”

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