Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The Open University is part of a Centre for Doctoral Training, called DesignStar http://www.designstar.org.uk. The centre had organised a Summer School at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park https://ysp.org.uk a couple of weeks back.

On the first day, the group of around 20 students and supervisors had a choice to attend either of two sessions led by the park’s outreach team. I attended the sculpture making workshop. First, we were guided around a smaller area of the park (the entire park is a massive 500 acres!) and we were sketching aspects of the sculptures we saw. We drew outlines or created patterns inspired by discussions around our feelings and fact about the sculptures.

In the afternoon, we were let loose to log around massive pieces of materials creating our own temporary sculpture. We built in teams of two and were given an emotion and a concepts to base our sculptures on. My building partner was Freya Wise, an OU PhD student and our emotion was ‘tranquillity’ and the concept was ‘views from all sides’. This was our creation. We had so much fun and engaged in really interesting discussion around the pieces. I think this should be a team-building task at any design summer school, regardless of academic level. The park offers the workshop to the public, too https://ysp.org.uk/exhibitions

To end the day, we had a lovely dinner at the Park with a talk about the ongoing exhibitions and pointing us to the highlights in the park, which we had time to visit the following day. That day I also attended a Social Media recording workshop offered by one of OU’s PhD students Tot Foster, in which I have learned a lot about the centrality of audio quality and ways in which you can produce cost effective videos to reach a larger audience or demonstrate impact through Social Media. Tot asked us to describe one sculpture that we found most interesting and I chose Wilsis by Jaume Plensa https://ysp.org.uk/openair/wilsis

For me, approaching the sculpture from across the large central lake in the park, it first nearly wasn’t there. You couldn’t really see it in the shade of the trees, but then when you came closer it looked rather virtual. It is a 3D shape, but somehow flattened as if you are exploring an object that is badly rendered in a 3D immersive world. I loved the transience of the object. I could totally comprehend the artist concept of ‘discovery while you approach it’.

One piece that pushed the concept of sculpture for me was James Turrell’s Deer Shelter which was basically a room with a high ceiling and a whole in the roof. Looking up at a glorious sunny day seeing some fluffy clouds drifiting by while sitting on a bench with slanted back I felt transpoted into another world entirely. This sculpture was so immersive that I forgot it was a sculpture https://ysp.org.uk/openair/jamesturrell/deershelterskyspace

The park, the people and the activities were stimulating and relaxing at the same time, which was absolutely fascinating. I recommend a visit.

Erika, Freya or Katerina, do you want to share your observations or comments?

There are two related posts on events organised for DesignStar PhD students and their supervisors on this blog: http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/design/design-star-methods-day/and http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/design/design-and-social-responsibility/.

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