One day I must do this in class…

It’s been a while since I’ve visited the Cardboard box office blog. For any film lover it is worth dropping by to Lilly and Leon’s site. Although, nowadays it is also Orson (yes really!) and from the most recent posts, also little Elliot. The new arrivals do perhaps give an understandable reason for rather less frequent posts than in the past.

Ever since stumbling on the site a few years ago I have been toying with the idea of how I might do something similar in a school/education setting with a heap of cardboard, some lamps and a whole load of duct tape. Maybe in some sort of a project week, because trying to build such scenery spread over twice a week art lessons for a number of weeks is one sure way to fall out with colleagues as they battle their way past all the cardboard in the store room!


Scan through the site, and you’ll soon find you’ll have your own few favourites. I think that my own personal favourite is King Kong, but there are so many others that catch the eye.

I think if I stop to analyse it a little there are two main things that I like so much about the ‘installations’ that Lilly and Leon construct. Firstly, there is just the lovable silliness of it all. They clearly love the film world and want to use their own creativity to engage with it in some way. And that leads nicely onto the second reason, that being the amount of creativity and inventiveness they show in making their ‘screen shots’.

As an art teacher creativity is an often talked about subject. We like to encourage our pupils to be creative with their materials, you try to design lessons and assignments that challenge your classes creatively. But Lilly and Leon’s installations display a visual inventiveness that requires a particular mindset that teenagers enjoy seeing but find surprisingly difficult to dare to explore in their own work.

I saw this inventiveness a little during an animation project that I did with groups of fifteen-year olds last year, once they realized that they had to go looking at home for suitable materials to animate, a bit of a creative lid did seem to come off.  I’m hoping to see something similar with a forthcoming project where pupils will be photographically reconstructing old master portrait paintings.

3 thoughts on “One day I must do this in class…

  1. This reminds me of a workshop for adults (parents and teachers) while teaching, designed around the teachings of German educator Friedrich Froebel. I used his model for the stages of block play to scaffold the learning experience, guiding them through two days of carrying, stacking, bridging, making enclosures, building complex structures and finally dramatic play with complex structures.

    Using unit blocks, the participants first demonstrated each stage among themselves and then presented their constructions to colleagues. By the time they reached the final stage, they were ready to engage in dramatic play by creating huge installations–on a scale very similar to Leon and Lilly’s. They were encouraged to look around the entire school to find objects and to use them as creatively as they liked.

    For your students, it may be a good idea to start out with the most basic exercises in building, using a limited set of objects, then advance in stages to the most complex. Small teams work best for this, as they build trust in one another gradually, and individual skills and talents emerge.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful reply Cynthia. Your observations and experiences connect well with my feelings that this I sent a project that would require a little time in order to get the best out of it and a fairly extended amount of time to bring it to a successful conclusion.
      Your comments have also set me thinking that it is a project that could work well in a slightly different context than school. I sometimes give team building workshops to adult groups from various contexts. The creative lead given by Leon and Lilly work could certainly work well within such a setting.
      As for a successful working out of the idea for teenagers…….I’ll continue to ponder it. The right moment to jump in will surely come!

  2. Pingback: Capturing the imagination – a photographic remake | Peter Sansom

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