One of the reasons that I was interested in becoming a part of the Creative Mentor scheme was to be able to work with and encourage children that might find some difficulty in their education. Like a lot of people who attended school in the 70s and 80s dyslexia wasn’t on the radar in fact it wasn’t even in the vocabulary, well not in Dunblane or Callender.
My overriding memory of school boils down to my first day at a new school, McLaren High School (in Callender). I was just starting 3rd year so would have been about 14. I was sitting at the back of an English class trying to be invisible when a girl came into the class and handed the teacher a note. The teacher then turned to the class and said “Stuart McCaffer this is your two periods of remedial”. Remedial was, for those who have never encountered it, a place where all the ‘slow’ ‘thick’ ‘Joey’ ‘dunces’ were put. All I remember doing was learning to spell lists of words, which by the end of the day I had completely forgotten. Up until that point I had been a keen if not brilliant student with quite good grades but the stigma from this moment meant I no longer cared about school or my education. It took me along time to get over the chip on my shoulder and it was to be about twenty years before I would dip my toe back into the educational system.
In my first year at Edinburgh College of Art I was diagnosed as dyslexic. The help I have received from both Edinburgh (where I graduated in 2004 with a 1st ) and subsequently the Royal College has been invaluable. So when Qona first asked me if I would like to be a Creative Mentor I was only too happy to get involved. My hope is that I will be able to, in some way engage with the children and show that drawing, painting, sculpture and expressing themselves through art can be used as a gateway to the opening up of their communication with the world. Well that and spell-check.
January 2011, 2012, 2017, Sculpture