In workshops created and delivered by Jane, since 2019 over 1000 primary school children from across the North East and internationally, have been given the opportunity to make portraits of some of the world’s most vulnerable species for Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibitions. The project continues to involve more schools.
Working with Born Free’s Head of Education Laura Gosset, and Education Officer Charlie Baker, Jane’s workshops include an educational presentation about depleting wildlife populations, generated by human destruction combined with positive actions we can all take to help vulnerable wildlife, with all workshop information contained in a digital booklet tailored for each participating school. The presentation is followed by portrait and drawing tips and a practical drawing session where Jane works with each child individually throughout the workshop.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jane continued to deliver workshops in person and virtually for the 2021 Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition at Great North Museum: Hancock. Workshop materials were shipped to international Teams in California, Guyana, Kenya and Malaysia so that children could create drawings for the exhibition. Where virtual workshops were not possible Outreach Teams in Guyana and Kenya delivered Jane's workshops.
Jane at working with Year 4 children during Oceania workshop, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields, 2019
Using her favoured medium for its simplicity and accessibility, the humble Biro, with emphasis on self-expression to transport the mind through drawing, Jane encourages children to make emotional connections with the species they draw, nurturing her premise “if we care, we want to conserve”.
Children are encouraged to work at their own pace and embrace one another's unique drawing styles by engaging in a display of finished drawings at the end of the workshop. Her workshops also aim to build children's confidence through creativity and the understanding that everyone can draw.
Eashan Year 4 Mortimer Primary School, South Shields with his colour Biro drawing Koala created in Oceania workshop, at Where Did All the Animals Go? Exhibition, Thought Foundation 2019
Evocative and uninhibited, the art of children, in its purity, not only expresses an honest depiction of subject matter but also portrays the unique characteristics of the inner child. Drawings of vulnerable species depict individual beings that live their own lives according to their needs, each portrayal contemplating what their eyes have seen, and representing a species facing extinction. Jane Lee McCracken
Special exhibition workshop, giving talented children Jane has worked with at her Thought Foundation workshops, the opportunity to create work for Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition
Top image: Children from Year 4, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields during their exhibition workshop with Jane, 2019