Despacito Art School

The Despacito Art School is a hands-on place to learn about art, craft and functional object-making. Despacito is open to young people aged 5 to 12, who live in and around Cliftonville West. They named the art school after their favourite 2017 summer hit.

Their motto is: We will be the best artist we can be.

Despacito takes place every Wednesday afternoon during term time, 4-6pm. 

The Despacito participants have a say about the programme and contribute to shaping the sessions, which this year was led by OSE alumni Emily Whitebread, Sarah Karen, and Coral Brookes, with occasional guest collaborators (including the Margate theatre organisation 1927 as well as singer sarasara). The delivery of Despacito is supported by OSE team members Ayaan Bulale (aka Miss Ayaan) and Louis Palfrey as well as OSE 2019 Associates Emily Demetriou, Rhona Foster, Laurène Gitton, Holly Hunter, Annie Nichols and Jules Varnedoe. All facilitators are paid, thus providing a vital economy for the artists undertaking the OSE Associates Programme.

Despacito provides regular opportunities to showcase the work of the young artists to their families, the local community and the broader public; these include exhibitions in our building and participation in the summer Margate Carnival.

Last Sessions / Art Explorers:
18 September to 27 November 2019

To coincide with the 2019 Turner Prize being exhibited at Turner Contemporary, Margate, this term the Despacito Art School will spend each week exploring a range of ideas and processes inspired by Turner Prize nominees, both past and present. Each week will support the development of the group working towards their Discover Arts Award through informally documenting their activities and progress.

Wednesday 18 September 2019
Together we dance part 1: We will begin this term by focusing on the work of Lubaina Himid, winner of the 2017 Turner Prize. Her work explores ideas about identity and culture. Inspired by Himid’s cut out figures, we will begin to design and make cardboard portraits of ourselves while holding belongings that represent us and thinking about who we are as individuals/together, where we are from and what that means.

Wednesday 25 September 2019
Together we dance part 2: We will develop our Lubaina Himid inspired cut outs using fabric, paint and newspaper to colour, collage and embellish in an exciting session captured by BBC Southeast!

Wednesday 2 October 2019
Art Rebels: Looking at Jeremy Deller’s folk archives and local archives from Margate, we will think about subcultures and the idea of being rebellious through art making. We will create our own memorabilia/archive influenced by punk/protest references, consisting of DIY printed t-shirts, collaged posters, badge and patch making.

Wednesday 9 October 2019
Architecture in Reverse: Inspired by last years Turner Prize nominee Forensic Architecture, we will take objects apart to uncover a new world inside. We will experiment with forensic techniques and different ways of looking at these object components to build new stories. This will include processes such as cyanotypes and casts in clay. We will then suspend, light and photograph the objects as mobiles, inspired by 1997 nominee Cornelia Parker’s installation ‘Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View’.

Wednesday 16 October 2019
Beyond continents: Many of the artists nominated for this years Turner Prize explore ideas about people and places. Tai shani’s work looks at real and imaginary worlds whilst Oscar Murillo creates flags or textiles thinking about migration. We will use mark making inspired by the artists to look at these ideas. We will experiment with marbling influenced by Tai Shani’s sci-fi inspired sets as well as creating a large canvas together using mixed media as maps, flags or evidence of our movements inspired by Murillo’s paintings/installations.

Wednesday 23 October 2019
The Artist’s Hat: Monster Chetwynd is an artist who continuously changes her name. She works around ideas of popular culture and storytelling through her performance and costume making. We will explore our artist identities, making flamboyant hats inspired by her DIY and playful approach to making costumes and characters.

Wednesday 30 October 2019
How are you feeling: This week we will embark on life drawing inspired by David Shrigley’s Turner Prize nominated project ‘How are you feeling’. Using our artist hats and objects from previous weeks as props we will think about playful and unique ways that we can make observational life drawings of each other, using collaborative experimental activities and different mediums.

Wednesday 6 November 2019
Earwitness: Inspired by this years Turner Prize nominee Laurence Abu Hamdan, we will think about how different objects make sounds that can tell us about events and places. For this session we will use sound and listening as a way to navigate spaces and create stories with a guest artist (TBC).

Wednesday 13 November 2019
Pots for the people: This week we will work with clay to create unique pots and bowls, inspired by Laure Prouvost‘s nominated work ‘Wantee’ and Grayson Perry’s autobiographical pots. We will use them to host family and friends during our end of term celebration.

Wednesday 20 November 2019
The Message:  This week we will glaze our ceramics and experiment with writing activities inspired by one of this years Turner Prize nominees Helen Cammock. We will use this as a method to reflect on
what has been learnt over the term. We will address key messages and ideas for the future.

Past Sessions / Voices of Margate:
5 June to 24 July 2019

For this term we focused on using our voices to demonstrate what Margate means to us. This was explored through a series of workshops that focusing on two basic mediums: sound and print. We will worked with singer sarasara to create a unique and exciting soundscape evoking our thoughts and feelings of the town alongside a print workshop led by artist/textile designer Yemi Awosile.

Wednesday 5 June 2019
Sounds from Margate – Excursion to Olby’s Soul Cafe and Music Rooms: this will be our first soundscape session with singer, musician and producer sarasara. We will look at a basic map of Margate and identify key areas of the town that are important to us. We will begin working on our soundscape by recording words and phrases that represent our thoughts and feelings of the town we live in.

Wednesday 12 June 2019
Messages from Margate: in this session we will revisit our sound recordings and pick out words and phrases that can be used to inspire simple but BOLD posters. Our posters will draw influence from the Russian constructivism movement and will use a limited colour palette of paint, cut-out letters, and basic monoprinting.

Wednesday 19 June 2019
Messages from Margate part 2: in this session we will demonstrate the power of physical print by taking an active role in displaying our posters in highly visible areas around town, including billboards and shop windows. The posters will carry our unique hashtag #despacitoartschool and we will use this as an opportunity to create anticipation in the lead up to Margate Carnival.

Wednesday 26 June 2019
Cyanotype workshop – capturing movement: how can the body be used to create and evoke different feelings? How can we use movement as a tool to communicate? In this session we will watch short snippets from films and cartoons, and then create prints influenced by these clips using a large piece of cyanotype fabric. These prints will be used as flags during the Margate Carnival procession.

Wednesday 3 July 2019
Power of print with Yemi Awosile (as part of TP2019): in this session we will use our building and its interior to create rubbings, drawings and texts that we will then manipulate via photocopying and monoprinting. We will look at how we can use basic printing techniques to manipulate drawings and textures to take on new meanings and narratives. We will use the results to reclaim and alter the narrative of our space.

Wednesday 10 July 2019
Carnival prep: in this session we will construct more props and decorations for Margate Carnival. We will start by creating small and large mouths, ears, speech bubbles and puppets out of cardboard.

Wednesday 17 July 2019
Carnival prep part 2: in this session we will continue making props for Margate Carnival, as well as adding iron-on logos that we have designed to the t-shirts we will be wearing during the carnival procession.

Wednesday 24 July 2019 (double session)
Sounds from Margate part 2: in this second session with sarasara we will be creating simple sounds with our bodies eg. clapping, tapping and thumping. These sounds will be recorded and merged with our previous recordings to create a unique soundscape ready to be played during the carnival procession. This session will be split into two 90 minute sessions.

Past Sessions / Margate is a Playground:
20 February to 29 May 2019

We spent the first term of the year using our bodies, voices, and immediate surroundings to create playful sights and sounds. These will be used as material for an audio visual project depicting a fantastical version of Margate, designed by the Despacito young people. To keep us cool, calm and collected during this mammoth task of redesigning our town, we will also be setting time aside each session to practise simple moving meditations and relaxation techniques.

Wednesday 20 February 2019
Mapping the skyline: introduction to our new space with the Despacito young people, their parents, and a translator from Roma In The Lead. We will have drinks, nibbles, and take part in a workshop in which we will map the views seen from our new space, considering how our new surroundings could inspire our fantasy version of Margate.

Wednesday 27 February 2019
Growing things: how does greenery affect the spaces we inhabit? We will spend this session learning about plants, parks, and trees, and we will plant the first seeds for our new indoor garden, which we will maintain throughout the year.

Wednesday 6 March 2019
Become a piece of architecture: what would it be like to spend the afternoon as a building? We will spend this session exploring our new building floor by floor, inch by inch, imagining what it would be like to become a piece of architecture for a short while. We will then consider what types of buildings we would want to populate our new town and why. 

Wednesday 13 March 2019
Noise planning: what noises do we want to hear in our new town? We will spend this session considering what noises are necessary for a functioning town and which ones we could do without. We will then create and record a noisy composition as a soundtrack to our new town, based on the sounds we hear in and around our new space.

Wednesday 20 March 2019
Moving buildings: if buildings were alive, how would they move? This session will be led in collaboration with 1927, where we will be designing, drawing and animating our own fantasy buildings. 

Wednesday 27 March 2019
Realising our town part 1: in this session we will begin creating a cardboard model of our town, working in different teams to design different areas.

Wednesday 3 April 2019
Realising our town part 2: in this session we will complete the cardboard model of our town, joining our different sections together.

Wednesday 10 April 2019
Realising our town part 3: in this session we will complete the cardboard model of our town, joining our different sections together.

Wednesday 17 April 2019
Weave a sculpture: using chicken wire and fabric strips we will make several big woven structures that could be placed around our new town.

Wednesday 24 April 2019
Placards: words are powerful. In this session we will make written banners to show the world what we care about (people, a place, the environment etc.).

Wednesday 1 May 2019
Imagined self-portraits: what is the difference between you and your environment? In this session we will make silhouette self-portraits, filling in the blank spaces with images that reflect our environment, our personalities, and our wildest dreams.

Wednesday 8 May 2019
Murals: in this session we will create a unique and colourful display to feature in and attract people to our new town.

Wednesday 15 May 2019
Murals 2: in this session we will continue to work on our unique and colourful display for our new town.

Wednesday 29 May 2019
Shapes in the outdoors: in this session we will create temporary geometric shape sculptures for our local park, taking influence from what we see in nature.

Past sessions / Heroes:
19 September to 28 November 2018

Wednesday 19 September 2018
Creating comics: recalling and embellishing memories of summer to create our own short comics.

Wednesday 26 September 2018
Characteristics: thinking about the characteristics of heroes and villains (brave and kind, wicked and cunning etc). How can we represent these traits through colour and form?

Wednesday 3 October 2018
Animation: workshop with 1927.

Wednesday 10 October 2018
Designing our characters: heroes and sidekicks, villains and henchmen. What will they look like? What powers will they have? Do they have a catchphrase? World Mental Health Day special session on feelings and exploring emotions.

Wednesday 24 October 2018 (half term double session)
Creating our costumes: using our designs to create our own heroes and villains costumes ready for Halloween.

Saturday 27 October 2018
Despacito showcase: an exhibition showcasing the work of the Despacito Art School.

Wednesday 31 October 2018
Halloween trick or treat: wearing our costumes and following a trick or treat map of Athelstan Road.

Wednesday 7 November 2018
Action figures: using wire and plasticine to turn our heroes into action figures.

Wednesday 14 November 2018
Action figures 2: using wire and plasticine to turn our villains into action figures.

Wednesday 21 November 2018
Creating a scene: placing our action figures into a scene by creating 3D comics from cardboard.

Wednesday 28 November 2018
Creating a scene 2: continuing to place our action figures into a scene by creating 3D comics from cardboard.

Past Sessions / Margate Carnival:
4 July to 5 August 2018

Wednesday 4, Wednesday 11 July & Wednesday 18 July 2018
Carnival School: working on large collaborative sculptures, on props and costumes using materials including recycled items.

Monday 30 July to Thursday 2 August 2018, every day between 11am and 2pm
Carnival School: last final boost before the big day!

Sunday 5 August 2018
Margate Carnival!

Past sessions / Creatures of Cliftonville:
9 May to 27 June 2018

Wednesday 9 May 2018
Slimy creatures: learning how to make slime to create our own creatures.

Wednesday 16 May 2018
Designing and printing T-shirts / Tai Chi: learning printing processes to make our own t’shirts. The session also explores Tai Chi techniques to think about movement and the motion of different species – something we will continue to practice in the following weeks.

Wednesday 23 May 2018
Hackathon characters: reusing and reassembling old toys to create our own imaginary characters.

Wednesday 30 May 2018
Kite Making: designing and constructing our own kites to fly, looking at the birds of Cliftonville to give us ideas: from seagulls, sanderlings and pigeons to parakeets.

Wednesday 6 June 2018
Instrument Making: making our own instruments out of this week’s recycled materials to think about how different objects can create unique sounds.

Wednesday 13 June 2018
The Art of Cooking: weigh, chop, mix and taste, thinking about cooking as a creative and sensory process, and inventing our own recipes.

Wednesday 20 June 2018
Shadow puppets and painting with light: using digital and manual processes (e.g. card cut-outs and cameras) to think about shape and light.

Wednesday 27 June 2018
Clay animals: modelling, building and decorating our own clay animals.

Past sessions: January to April 2018

This round of Despacito echoed the project ‘Emperor Qin’s Mausoleum‘ led by Marguerite Humeau, which ran in parallel and explored the afterlife, antiquity and space. The programme for Despacito was put together Heather Tait.

Wednesday 31 January
Who is awesome? Who do we celebrate?: create large 3d Portraits

Wednesday 7 February
Mummies: explore ‘wrapping’ methods using string, wool and other fabrics

Wednesday 14 February
Build and decorate a space rocket inspired by the LIDO Tower

Wednesday 21 February
Clay modelling: create our own terracotta army that will journey with us to the new planet

Wednesday 28 February
Build a wall: brick making from plaster of Paris and foraged items e.g. seaweed, shells, etc.

Wednesday 7 March
Chalk carving: inspired by hieroglyphics we will create our own symbolic language and carve it into the chalk

Wednesday 14 March
Metalwork: embossing and wired metalwork

Wednesday 21 March
Jewellery making: bracelets, badges and pendants using sea glass and other found items

Wednesday 28 March
Make a time capsule: what should we leave behind?

Wednesday 4 April
Candle making

Wednesday 11 April
Costume making part 1

Wednesday 18 April
Costume making part 2

Past sessions: Autumn 2017

Wednesday 4 October
Printing from drain covers.

We will be making prints from drain covers and other street furniture. We will be painting onto the covers using printing ink and making prints from them. We will also experiment with rubbings and make prints of road signs and other text based street furniture.

Wednesday 11 October
T-shirt printing from drain covers.

Using last weeks techniques we will make printed t-shirts for themselves

Wednesday 18 and 25 October (half term)
Giant sweetshop.

We will create enlarged versions of favourite sweets as individual projects which will be put together to create a sweetshop exhibition. They will be made from cardboard and mudrock, then painted.

Wednesday 1 November
Cynotype printing using found objects

Children will be shown how to print simple cyanotypes using found objects.

Wednesday 8 November
Cyanotype printing with self portraits

Make cyanotype self portraits. Take photographic portraits and turn them into negatives using vegetable oil. These will then be turned into cyanotypes.

Wednesday 15 November
Leather making workshop

We will be making handmade, drawstring purse from pre-cut patterns. We will be sewing pieces of leather together, thread thong and adding poppers.

Wednesday 22 November
Monoprinted self portraits

Experiment with monoprinting mark making, followed by self portraits. Photographs will be taken of each child and used to make monoprints.

Wednesday 29 November
Musical instrument making from recycled materials

We will make rainsticks from cardboard tubes and dowling which we will paint.

Wednesday 6 December

An image of the Pettmans will be cut into equal parts and given to each child to recreate; colour in/ add things to, using drawing materials. The images will be reassembled into a whole and displayed.

Wednesday 13 December
Christmas workshop

We will be making Christmas themed decorations.