#tatesummerschool – day three

We began the day with our now usual ‘noisy circle’ exercise, although today we actually started off lying on the floor. Travis also asked us to imagine we were a fruit juice and explained that using such an apparently abstracted option allowed young people to indicate their emotional/physical state of mind. This was useful information that could be taken into account when teaching. (Feeling like burnt toast for example, Travis said, was definitely a sign that all might not be well. )

Then it was revisiting our gender-related questions pegged on the washing line, and recording any other questions we had thought of since. Next, down to the Tanks  where an expert panel spoke about issues facing trans and gender variant children, young people and adults. Four people, including Greygory from Open Barbers and Sabah from Gendered Intelligence, answered questions about the main issues facing trans and gender variant youth and the challenges of phobic workplaces. The panel shared their experiences and expertise on how to make organisations and classrooms inclusive.

thumbnail_IMG_1571.jpgThe audience was encouraged to become trans and gender variant allies. Key messages included:

  • we need to always check for preferred pronouns, don’t make assumptions
  • we don’t have to have ‘the answer’ for young people, but we can hold the space for them and support them to find answers
  • rather than think about young people ‘coming out’ we should think about the honour of them ‘letting us in’
  • being uncomfortable is OK as it is how we learn, we should learn to apologise when we get it wrong, and
  • cis gendered people must understand that inclusion  means giving up positions of heteronormative power.


After lunch we had the choice of either doing a sound workshop in the gallery with Xana, or a zine workshop with Linda in the Exchange. I chose to stay with zines. Both the sound workshop and zine-making used the conversations from the morning as their subject matter.


Linda showed the group I was in how to fthumbnail_IMG_1569.jpgold a page to make a zine – it’s not that hard but does require moments of precision  – and suggested a range of classroom uses for them. This was an activity that a number of teachers said  that they might immediately use.

At the end of the day we watched performances by three sound bands in the gallery and then returned to the Exchange to check out the collection of zines. We added our reflections to the day’s timeline.


Tomorrow we are at Tate Britain but I also hope to catch up with today’s sound workshop.

Pedagogic points:

  1. invite ‘in’ people with expertise to provide accurate information and lived experience
  2. making allows people to sit with key ideas and messages and process them
  3. provide a choice of activities to cater for different preferences and energy levels.










About pat thomson

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education in the School of Education, The University of Nottingham, UK
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