Pupils from Royal Mile Primary School visited Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) on 21st June 2017 for a day of workshops. Their visit is part of the "Dear Future" project which aims to culminate in a new co-produced, permanent installation in the school playground.

The group of Primary 6 pupils arrived at ECA and started off in the glass workshops. They learned about glassblowing and other glass-making techniques, and one pupil tried it out for themselves.

From there they visited one of the textiles workshops for a demonstration of printmaking techniques. And finally they went to metalwork where they saw demonstrations of metal cutting, and 3D model-making.

"They arrived very excited," said Clare McCallister, Curatorial Trainee at Talbot Rice Gallery, "the technicians were amazing - they made them feel so welcome. And they were given tokens to take away, which was a real bonus for them."

The visit was part of the "Dear Future" project, which Talbot Rice Gallery (the University's art gallery) initiated following the recent "Between poles and tides" exhibition. The exhibition was a showcase of work which included ECA graduates, and all of which were recent acquisitions for the University of Edinburgh Art Collection. They wanted to work with a primary school group to explore some of the work further, and chose Katie Paterson's Future Library.

Clare McAllister, Curatorial Trainee at Talbot Rice Gallery, explains the project
Edinburgh College of Art

"We decided that Future Library would be a great project to focus on with the school kids, considering its roots in nature, ecology, and thinking about the future."

Clare McCallister, Curatorial Trainee at Talbot Rice Gallery

Future Library meant planting a forest in Norway which will supply paper for an anthology of books that will not be printed until the year 2114 (100 years after the start of the project, in 2014). Every year until then a writer is asked to contribute a piece of writing that no one else will read until the project's completion. The authors who have contributed to date are Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, and Sjón.

Through exploring the Future Library work, pupils will have a chance to try different artistic techniques. They will then co-produce the work to act as a permanent installation in the school playground, and an exhibition documenting the project will go on display.

Pupils in the textiles workshop
Edinburgh College of Art
Pupils in the textiles workshop
Pupils in the metal workshop
Edinburgh College of Art
Pupils in the metal workshop

The ECA visit aimed to inspire the pupils to think about how artistic practice is wide-reaching and includes an array of materials and processes.

"I think they learned about materials and how things are made," said Clare, "They learned about what an art school is. A lot of them were really surprised that these kind of workshops existed in an art school."

"It really opened their minds and made them really excited about the prospect of art, how it's made, and what it can be."

The school playground installation, and an opening event, is planned for the autumn of 2017.