Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow leaves viewers in no doubt

By Lucy Ogilvie-Grant, Parent

Human-Flow-PS-cropThe Geography department hosted a screening of Human Flow in the SLT on Tuesday evening – a wonderful opportunity to see a quite extraordinary film made by Chinese conceptual artist and political activist Ai Weiwei.

Ai Weiwei has personal experience of the agonies of refugee-hood and isolation, having endured exile along with his family. He described how it feels “when life itself is a dimming light on the verge of being completely extinguished” and this surely is the engine that drives his understanding and evident compassion for the individuals who become refugees.

The terrifying experiences and arduous journeys that refugees endure, as shown in Human Flow, leave people despondent and exhausted – rarely do arrivals find a generous or compassionate welcome.

It’s clear to see that razor wire and dog patrols, high fences and forcible removal show that, on a  humanitarian level, the developed world is failing. Ai Weiwei proposes an enormous change of attitude in which we could see people’s struggles for basic necessities prioritised over financial gain. Imagining a life lived in a refugee camp, suspended between a violent past and an unimaginable future, it’s easy to understand how young people could be vulnerable to radicalisation.

There are some breathtakingly beautiful visual images in Human Flow – Ai Weiwei makes it impossible to look away from the burning oil fields, dust-storms and wind-torn tents.  Even his pictures of desperate crowds wrapped in foil heat blankets are works of art, something that leaves one with a distinct sense of unease. There are extraordinary drone shots and some tender and moving still-life portrait ‘studio’ shots. The whole montage, although long, could leave no viewer in doubt that there’s a different and less short-sighted way to approach this immense human migration.

 

 

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First Give charity final 2018

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By Beatrice Bonsey, Block 4

Just before half term, five Block 4 groups gave presentations for the First Give charity final with the aim of winning £1,000 for their charity of choice.

The team representing Catalyst went first and showed us a unique video with interviews with people speaking on behalf of those helped by the charity. Next was the team representing Stone Pillow who managed to raise money with a charity bake sale. They made two very inventive videos, one showing facts on homelessness while the other was a motion picture showing that it could be you on the streets. After that, it was our charity, Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association; we showed a video about a child with Down Syndrome finding the charity online and his life improving greatly. We then spoke about how much we had raised and how much this charity has helped families and children with Down Syndrome. After us, it was Jigsaw Trust, who told us about how much the charity does, how it is improving the lives of those with autism and how it is unique by using old planes to help children get over their fear of flying. Finally, the Salvation Army team told us statistics about homelessness and showed a short interview with a person saying how the charity helped him and others. They also told us how they were going to fundraise by one member of the team running two peaks in the Lake District.

The judges then went off to make a decision: they announced Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association the winner!  The £1000 prize money can be spent funding 13 pre-school sessions (1 years’ worth) to help children develop their learning milestones and help families with the children. The charity’s representative who had come to watch was over the moon to receive the money for her charity.

How a global adventure can refresh your school’s thinking – a case study on Bedales

Exchanges are a good way of understanding more about America too says Keith Budge, Headmaster of Bedales Schools in Hampshire. One of many international links is with The Putney School in Vermont, a progressive secondary boarding and day school on a 500-acre dairy farm. “Children benefit from being in an environment with colourful and interesting people,” he says. “One of the favourite words in New England is frugal, and Putney is warm, earthy and utterly authentic. If the duty team of students doesn’t get up and light the cooker, there will be no porridge. In our school, many students are entranced by the digital world and swept off in the supposed glamour of celebrity, but in this situation you have to make human contact with people who are very different: it’s very grounding.”

Bedales sends a student group for a 12-day visit to the school each year, and takes several Putney students for a term. The link helped further inspire the school’s outdoor work programme in the UK, including animal husbandry, blacksmithing and weaving. Michael Rice, 16, who went to exam-free Putney last year, is keen to add another idea at Bedales: “At the end of term, every person did any project they wanted, and was given a rating – and some of them have left school and started businesses already,” he says.

Todd Lengacher, director of intercultural programs at The Putney School, says Bedales pupils do seem surprised at their “apparent casual nature”, especially “spacious” days of three classes plus activities such as milking the cows. But such exchanges, he believes, are vital. “I often look at world leaders, in particular some of my country’s leaders, and have to believe that they would see the people from beyond our borders in a different – more empathetic – way if they had taken these kinds of exchange opportunities in high school. Our world is a better place for every interaction we push ourselves to have with people not ‘like’ us.”

By Senay Boztas

Freelance journalist Senay Boztas wrote this case study on Bedales whilst researching for an article on international partnerships, recently published in The Guardian

 

Bedales remembers: Armistice Day

BLOG Bedales remembers - Armistice Day

Ten Bedales Sixth Form students fundraised for the Royal British Legion in Petersfield town during the Service of Remembrance on 8 November. The service was led by The Reverend Will Hughes of St. Peter’s Church, who spoke about the sacrifices of fallen soldiers and how we may honour their memory. The service finished with wreath-laying at the war memorial. We were all delighted by the incredible generosity of everyone who donated to the Royal British Legion, and who came to pay their respects despite the cold and rain. Meanwhile, on 11 November, Michael Rice from Block 5 played bugle outside the Memorial Library to the gathered staff and student body.

By Ruben Brooke, 6.2

Badley celebrations and Sam Banks Pavilion opening

At the end of September the school community participated in activities to celebrate our founder’s ethos, working on projects across the estate in support of the school motto, ‘Work of Each for Weal of All’. The overall theme was the appreciation of nature, with activities ranging from foraging and bush-craft to falconry and poetry inspired by the outdoors. Other activities included tapestry weaving, lantern making and mural painting. The Whole School Effort transformed the area behind Steephurst, through the planting of an orchard of cherry trees. To mark the official opening of the Sam Banks Pavilion, Louise Banks and Keith Budge mounted an engraved school cricket bat on the wall of the pavilion whilst Graham Banks declared the building officially open. Read more. View photos of Badley Celebration Weekend. View photos of the opening of the Sam Banks Pavilion.

Badley Celebration Weekend 2013

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

Outreach at Bedales and beyond

Outreach is an important part of life, both at Bedales and for OBs. Over the last year students have helped many charities, including Tools for Self Reliance, Stonepillow and schools in Swaziland. Watch a new Bedales Outreach film. Beyond Bedales, Poppy Wetherill (OB) who works for the British Red Cross is looking for people to sign up to either a breath taking cycle ride from Vietnam to Cambodia or a beautiful trek up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise vital funds for those who need it most. For more information, please email pwetherill@redcross.org.uk or visit the British Red Cross website. Olivia Yetman (OB) is also doing her bit for charity. Prior to veterinary training, Olivia is off to Okonjima in Namibia next month as part of her gap year to work with leopards, cheetahs and other Namibian wildlife at the Africat Foundation for five months. If you would like to find out more about her adventures, she is writing a blog about her visit.

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

Completing the Pavilion roof

Last weekend saw members of the Bedales community, past and present, and relatives of the Banks family congregate to complete the final stages of roofing the Sam Banks Pavilion. OBs Gabriel Langlands and John Russell, who have been instrumental in designing and constructing the pavilion, shared the tasks of the exterior construction with friends and members of the school who will benefit in years to come. The highlight of the weekend was the ‘topping out’ ceremony, an ancient Scandinavian ritual to appease the spirits of the forest, which involves mounting an evergreen branch on the structure, in this case the roof gable, to symbolize growth and bring good luck to the building. The building is a culmination of fundraising efforts with significant contributions from the various efforts of parents, students and OBs. Read more. View photos.

Sam Banks Pavilion

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.