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Titirangi Primary School

Region: Auckland

Art form: Multi-Disciplinary

Project name: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Creative name: Martin Sercombe and Britta Pollmuller

Project information: Titirangi Primary School will reach its 150th anniversary in 2022. We plan to celebrate this milestone by creating a student and community-led multimedia film, exploring the history of the school and the local community. Stories will be recounted through reminiscence, poetry, animation, and archive photography and culminate in a 30–40-minute film to launch our celebrations. 

The film could well begin in 1850 in the attic of the Bishop family, where local children paid 3d a week for their lessons. Other key moments to recall include the fundraising all-night dances in the 1870s, the earthquake of 1891, and the school fire of 1930. By the 1960s, the school had expanded to a roll of over 400 pupils and had its own swimming pool and dental clinic. We will include photographs, such as the Bishop homestead in 1890, a 1920s school picnic, and a school photo taken outside the temporary tin shed after the fire. 

The school will make a call out via our newsletter to local historians and parents interested in sharing stories, then schedule interviews. Small teams of Year 5 and 6 students will learn filmmaking and interview skills with our first creative. The film crews will travel to places of historic interest to record the stories. We will also invite some students to learn photography skills and collect relevant stills and cutaways using DSLR cameras. Our first creative will also prepare stories from written and online records with the help of the West Auckland Historical Society and online resources. Some of these stories will then be passed on to animation teams led by our second creative, to be visualised as short 2D cut-out animations. The children will be actively involved in choosing stories, studying archive images, and delegating creative tasks such as character and set design, voiceovers, and stop-motion work. Our full-time teachers will support the creative writing work. They will lead a poetry workshop inspired by school life during the two World Wars. 

The final chapter of the film will be a speculative look forwards fifty years to the school of the future. A class will be invited to write and illustrate poems about their hopes and concerns for the next generation of Titirangi pupils. A blue screen will allow students to perform in front of their illustrations. The completed 30–40-minute film will be premiered at Titirangi War Memorial Hall, with invites sent out to all participants and the local community. It will also be published online, providing a lasting legacy of value to historians and as a model of good educational practice to inspire others.

Project starting: February 2022

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