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ESOL special projects

Discover our past projects and partnerships

ESOL project highlights

The ESOL programme at the Old Royal Naval College started in 2013 as part of a conservation project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Students responded to the artwork and conservation of the Painted Hall and curated exhibitions in the Painted Hall and Woolwich Centre.

Since then we delivered several exciting ESOL projects. Here’s some highlights:

Animation project

In 2014, a class of 16–19 year-old E1 learners at Lewisham and Southwark College explored stories and art work in the Chapel and worked with animators to produce this animation:

Brave imagination

In 2017, we invited six young English language learners from Lewisham Southwark College to explore and respond to the symbolism, drama and history illustrated in the Painted Hall. These young people are making new lives in south-east London for many reasons and come from countries all over the world: the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, the Gambia and Peru.

Our six participants worked with south-east London artist Michelle Butcher, who has a decade of experience in art teaching for young ESOL learners. Michelle enabled the students, who had no prior experience with art materials and techniques, to relate their stories and aspirations using methods and styles of art inspired by the work of two contemporary artists, Damian Le Bas and Joyce Treasure who have both explored journey and dislocation in their work.

The resulting exhibition celebrated the imaginations of these young artists. Repositioning, reinterpreting, even repurposing elements from the ceiling’s paintings into new and often surprising arrangements, these young people have drawn upon their experience of leaving their home countries and finding themselves in London.

Making my Mark

In 2015, a class of 16–19 year-old E1 learners at Lewisham and Southwark College took part in a special six week project exploring mark making around the site. The group looked at the symbolic artwork in the Painted Hall, traditional craft techniques such as stone masonry and historic examples of graffiti etched into the buildings and visited Building Crafts College in Stratford to try stone carving and wood work. They also worked with a street artist to produce a shared art work about personal and group symbols, which was displayed at their college.