Bridge Learning Campus is one of a number of new schools in the City developed under the first wave of Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme in Bristol led by BCC and the Bristol LEP (Local Education Partnership). As part of the development artist Loben Tatlow was commissioned to develop a new art work for the building, working closely with the art consultant (RIO).
“I said I wanted the building to have a mouth / voice and so that was how it started.”New Fosseway Commissioning group student
Loben’s work for Bristol Learning Centre comprises a sound work, installed in structures through the school. The system allows children to communicate with one another across sound booths and an informal sound relay system. An important part of the brief was the inclusion and input from the users of the school which formed the basis for the artist’s research. The commissioning body was Lobe’s first point of interaction with the schools, and using a series of day visits with the individual partners he gauged input/ feed back from not only the students, but also teachers, support staff, parents and governors.
Loben brought in and used his drum machine, watched a video and looked at pictures with students and staff and recorded pupils questions and answers about what they were saying they wanted in the new school. One comment that prevailed was that of a child who said: “I wanted the building to have a mouth / voice and so that was how it started.” (New Fosseway Commissioning group student)
Loben’s final artwork has given the school a vehicle for future generations and it is an ever-changing piece of art which succeeds in ‘giving the building a voice’. It will be part of the building and its future use, and so part of the community.
“To me, what public art has done is to have given the building a voice and ears. It has brought together five very different educational establishments and what we’ve ended up with is something that articulates this and in that way the finished work goes beyond the brief.” (Gus Grimshaw: Head teacher: Teyfant School)
Loben Tatlow who designs and teaches music technology, works in radio and makes soundtracks for performances and film.
Bridge Learning Campus
Bridge Learning Campus in south Bristol is a new all-through education trust, formed from a hard federation of a primary and a secondary school, a student support centre for disaffected secondary students and a 14-19 centre. All of the phases are based on a single purpose-built campus. A special school joined the other schools as a soft federation partner in September 2009.