Students sit at their desks and draw the parts of an imaginary creature that will eventually become a snow sculpture. A professional in the field gives them live advice via video conference. This situation went well in Quebec a few weeks ago. This is one of the many activities offered by La cabane à culture, in partnership with École en réseau.
The culture hut was born last year on the initiative of Dominic St-Louis, a librarian at the Centre de services scolaires de Montréal. It has since been taken under its wing by the educational services department of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), with the financial support of the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications, and is now virtually visiting Quebec's elementary schools thanks to a partnership with Networked school (REA).
"The culture hut is a cultural mediation project. According to the concept, students virtually leave their classrooms to meet an artist who welcomes them to his or her region and lets them experience a live creative workshop," explains Olivia Marleau, librarian and cultural mediator in charge of the project.
Each activity aims to introduce an artist or scientist, a book available on the Biblius digital school library, a cultural institution and a region of Quebec. The students experiment with a discipline under the guidance of an artist or scientist.
For the 2022-2023 school year, eight "huts" were on the schedule. The disciplines presented so far are far from mundane: opera, traditional anicinabe dances, circus art and snow sculpture.
We were able to attend the virtual meeting between Alex S. Girard, author, cartoonist and snow sculptor, who was live from Bromont in the Eastern Townships. Alex did not carry out the workshop directly outside. The objective was not to create a sculpture. Instead, he explained to the children how they should prepare their project from a drawing, how they should plan the shapes so that their drawing could eventually become a sculpture that stands up. The children were allowed to vote on which parts of the imaginary creature the designer would make before their eyes. They were also invited to work on the paper at the same time. Once the workshop was completed, participating classes were invited to design a snow sculpture(s) in the schoolyard and share their creation on the wall Padlet of the event (go see, some are already there!).
Prior to the workshop, students were also invited to send questions to the artist. The artist answered a few questions before the workshop began. An educational booklet had also been given to participating teachers in the preceding weeks.
4 upcoming workshops
By the end of the school year, four more "huts" are proposed:
- February 23 or 24: puppet making (preschool)
- March 30 or 31: gumboot and storytelling (2nd cycle of elementary school)
- April 20 or 21: marine animals (1st cycle of primary school)
- May 18 or 19: creation of a herbarium (preschool)
Four different time slots are offered each time (morning or afternoon). The workshop lasts approximately 50 minutes. There is still time to register.