Dilys Finlay – Like Being in an Art Gallery

About the Session

Let me take you on a walk around our school – sculptures have plinths, textiles are hung, paintings and drawings are framed. Yes it’s ‘like being in an art gallery’ as many visitors have said. Children are so proud about their art that the atmosphere when moving around the school is calm and respectful, the art is always a talking point for children, staff and visitors.

Beecroft Garden, a Primary School in South London, doesn’t have an art room. On an art day you can see the children’s excitement with the tables moved around, covered, everything removed and replaced with different tools. Changing the classroom like this allows the children to believe anything is possible. The art making takes place within the children’s familiar daily space where they learn their maths, science, writing, reading. This is often how the children have made meaningful connections between art and other subjects, vocabulary from all other areas of learning being used alongside an evolving art vocabulary.

My presentation will highlight examples of how children’s art – both individual and collaborative, develops curiosity, problem solving and resilience. The experience becomes transformative. Inspired also by many different artists that reflect the diversity in our school community and local area, the children become empowered, allowing them to explore different versions of themselves through art. They become agents for their own learning. Our ART GALLERY school is a testament to this!

About Dilys

Dilys Finlay studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths College in London, specialising in painting, installation and sculpture. After completing her degree, she worked in Adult Education before studying to become a Primary Teacher. Her passion for art has always been something she has used to inspire children to ask questions, see the world differently and encourage a strong visual vocabulary whenever possible.Feeling the need to reconnect with her art, Dilys resumed her studio practice, sold her art in group and solo exhibitions and was offered a part-time role as Art Specialist/Artist in Residence at a school in Southwark, South London.

Since 2011 Dilys has worked as the Art Specialist Teacher at Beecroft Garden Primary School in Lewisham, South London, working from Years 1 to 6, where children explore the entire curriculum using a huge variety of media, not only for drawing and painting, but for sculpture, textiles, photography, mosaics and installation. This art is shown regularly to the public both at school and in local galleries. One of the school’s major fundraising exhibitions was featured in London Live TV news. Dilys passionately believes that events like these as well as collaborations with visiting artists have allowed the children to aspire and be ambitious and is how Beecroft Garden has become a school with creative, skilled and confident children.

Dilys tweets at @artmember209

Dilys Finlay

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