Early years : Discovering, learning and creating with all the senses
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 Tuesday, April 16thBarcelona


After an eventful first day, the students gathered for an energizing breakfast. After a few instructions, each group went on its way. The same workshops as the previous day were planned, only different groups. One group made its way to the Gracía-quarter, a place where there are not as many tourists as in other parts of Barcelona and therefore a quieter place. There they tried to capture the genius loci of a place they liked. A genius loci? Say what? A genius loci is a kind of spirit that protects or looks after the place. It was a very easy, but very effective task, one student said, because it is very easy to do it with children. You had to use all your senses to get a grip on the vibe of the place. It is all about using your imagination. One group for example found a very big sunny square, the Plaza del Sol, which was very quiet at first, but as it gets later, more and more movement can be seen. It was an inspiring place, because of the contrasts you could find there: sun vs. shadow, quiet vs. loud, sad vs. happy, … The genius loci was a kind of a two-faced mime player, with a happy, light and a sad, dark face. After this assignment the students had to create an activity to do with children on this place, making a relation to the spirit. The students played a statue-mirror game, where one child is a statue and the other child mirrors the statue, so slowly, that you can barely see the movement.



A second group went into the old town, where every student got blindfolded and the teacher put a big string around the group, so everyone stayed together. The group was guided to the marketplace, La Boqueria. There they had to guess where they were, by smelling and listening. A student explained: “At first it was a little bit weird, because we were the attraction  of the day: everyone was looking at us and taking pictures and they were talking about us. But once we arrived it was very special: the smell of the fish for example was really intense, I had never smelled it like that. It was a cool experience.”

When the blindfolds went off, they discussed their feelings about the activity and then observed the place and the different stands. Every student could look for a place in the market that he found interesting for some reason and make a drawing of it. Later they went in groups of two, where one student had to look at the drawing of the other and had to try to find the place again. After that the blindfolds went back one and the group was leaded to a square. There the experience was totally different. It was quieter, there were not as many smells, they heard a fountain and some people talking. It was a lot more difficult to find out where they were. When the blindfolds went off, they observed the place and compared the differences of doors and windows and the inner life of the square, the Plaza Real.




Blindfolds again? Oh yes! The blindfolds came back to focus on the smells of different fruits. The students smelled the fruits, guess what it was and tasted them. “We were again the attraction of the square, but it was very fun to do, because tasting and smelling without seeing is a lot more intense.”, the same student confessed.



As a treat, all the rest of the fruit was decussated by the hungry, but satisfied students.



Oh no, here the comes, the blindfolds again! Because after a little walk, the student got them on again and they came out in a smaller square. It was a funny and interesting workshop.


A third group went to Passeig de Gracia, where the famous building, Casa de Battlo, is. It is a beautiful piece of art by mister Gaudi himself, one of Barcelona top attractions. After a detailed observation of the three buildings, the students compared and described what the buildings have in common, and where they are different. A detailed observation of the house of Battlo followed, analyzing some of the characteristics. The students had to describe their feelings about the house in one word. They were given a cardboard frame to focus on one detail of the building. The students observed the detail closely and made a drawing of it. Upon returning to Marti Codolar, the students talked about the different natural shapes, that can be often found in Gaudi’s work, and they had to look for examples in the surroundings of the park. At the end they made a 2D clay artwork, inspired by the same natural shapes, that would fit perfectly in a Gaudi-building. The results were very original and they were some real pieces of art!




After each lunched at a different place in the city, they all gathered for two interesting lectures: one lecture from Concha Ceballos about Gaudi and what his work meant to Barcelona and one lecture from Dietlinde Fuchs about the importance of warming up exercises, because they wake up the body and increase the concentration level, so you are focused for the next activity. The students experienced the effects of warming-up exercises, because apart from the theory it was also a practical workshop.