Spiral Workshop curriculum is designed to be useful in public school settings for middle school and high school age students.
Many of these ideas will also work with younger students or older students, however, our developmental goals are set thinking of the needs, interests, and capacities of 13-19 year olds.
A typical Spiral Workshop is 9 weeks of classes (3 hours each), the gathering for the community show, and a follow up week for discussion, review, and other closing activities. Because we don't have as many clean-up/set ups and everyday school routines, I figure that a week of Spiral is equivalent to a week of class in an average high school (five 50-minute classes a week).
Each Spiral course is designed to introduce students to a related series of practices of making and seeing while investigating a theme. I'm still working on articulating what we mean by the complicated concept of theme. They are not themes in the sense of a topic--such as "ecology" or "the family."
Spiral themes function as metaphors that help us to investigate how notions of self and society are organized in language.
For example, the Drawing Dirty Pictures group explored cultivating creativity through messiness, personal narratives of "getting dirty," and how the metaphor of dirt organizes our thoughts on what is considered to be familiar and acceptable and what is considered to be taboo and/or unwanted. Students learn fresh ways of making, of seeing, and of thinking.
This portfolio shares the details (in image and word) of a number of Spiral Workshop theme groups. Each section includes a mission statement explaining the interrelated conceptual and aesthetic themes of the group. In an accompanying pdf file, I've included descriptions and examples of completed student projects as well as suggestions for teaching about artists, cultural practices, and related concepts. Some of the pdfs are condensations of presentations that I have given on this group/theme and also contain additional explanatory text and images.
Leave a comment if you are longing to see one of the groups marked as Coming. I respond to positive reinforcement and will move it higher on my to-do list.
Founding Director of Spiral Workshop