Chris Riddell's Visit - October 2015

At the end of October Chris Riddell, the Children’s Laureate, visited the Academy for the day. I was selected to chaperone Chris during his visit. I initially found the prospect daunting, but was immediately put at easy by his easy going and affable nature. Chris worked with three different groups over the course of the day. Firstly he talked with sixth form students that are studying Government and Politics or Communication and Culture. He then met a group of talented English students and finally a group of talented art students.

Chris discussed his drawings and inspiration for these. He was very entertaining and charismatic; all the students were captivated by his knowledge and expertise, which made my job very easy! Being the writer that he is, he always seemed to be telling a story of sorts, even casting every day experiences from his own life into a comic tale! He spoke of how he keeps a journal and, although drawing is his underlining passion and theme to his career, he finds that the words on a page are only enhanced by the representation of imagination.

He spoke of how the very thing he loves to do become his life work, talking on the choices he has and had made to get to the place he was now. Something he said really resonated with me: ‘you can have pictures, but without a story to tell it becomes of no meaning’. He was able to relay his career journey to the different groups of students. You could see the ambition and wonder crackling in the room, he was really able to inspire them – and me! No wonder he was nominated the children’s laureate!

He has inspired many a student within the school to begin their own scrap books and encouraged students to explore the limitless creative machine the human imagination is. He mentioned how everybody is capable of drawing, even if you find it difficult. It is as simple as putting paper to pen and allowing yourself be lost in the creation of making something so unique and beautiful. No matter the form shape and size of art, art is art.

Tatenda Chiwewe



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