Poets’ Corner

Duratran light box and vinyl lettering
Commission for Thomas Bennett Community College, Crawley, West Sussex, 2007
Funded by West Sussex County Council as part of the Crawley Art & Architecture Programme

The new PFI (Private Finance Initiative) schools programme provided opportunities for new artworks to be created specifically for the new school buildings.

Poets’ Corner creates a virtual opening into Tilgate Forest through a corner wall in the main atrium of the college. The scene is created by a large back-lit photograph housed behind two sets of sliding doors inviting the viewer to step through into the virtual space beyond. The image is printed at high resolution so that tiny details, including a trail of yellow origami birds slowly unfolding into the background, may be discovered over time.

A written description of the actual forest forms a ribbon of Chinese Whispers to contrast with students’ perception of the structure of school life. This begins in the image, then out across the college walls and down the atrium.  By the time it reaches the main entrance it welcomes visitors with a meaning all of its own.

The project was created in collaboration with a student group from the college.  It was their thoughts, feelings and ideas about their newly opened school that formed the basis for the development of the artwork.