north west bound

Its an exciting time at Incidental - this term we seem to be expanding in all directions - working on our new SEN app, launching a whole new course called AppHack, AND moving beyond our heartlands in South Wales and London to deliver Feed courses in North Wales and the North West of England.

It’s great news - meaning a whole new area of the UK gets to learn about Feed, and we get to meet a whole new group of amazing students and teachers, starting with those at St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School in Flint and Christleton Primary School in Chester.

For anyone who is new to Incidental, we are a group of artists and developers who (among other things) offer schools wildly creative experiences that support and enhance National Curriculum at KS2 and KS3. A lot of this is done through courses and days that feature Feed, an iOS app of our own creation that lets you remix the sounds of the world around you. And as students get to work creating their own sonic art; they just happen to learn about fractions, materials, palindromes, story structures and more.

What happens? Well, it depends on each set of students, but our experience with St Richard Gwyn and Christleton gives a good sense of what we get up to. As always, a key part of our work is exploratory journeys across the school to find the most microscopic of sounds. Students scratch a ruler on the table and hear it become an almighty monster’s claw, or listen as the shake of a pencil pot an impressive thunderous shiver.  Although sounds differ, the sense of discovery remains the same: encountering familiar environments and creating new sonic worlds within them. Same ability to hear, new ways of listening.

But it’s not just about that. Over the course of our days with them our students developed their own digital music compositions, composed via graphic scores, discussed just exactly what John Cage meant with 4:33”, learnt about normalisation and sonic frequencies, explored how musical rhythms are built up from different fractions and numeric patterns, tore up books and used the fragments to create poems and sonic artworks, expanded their vocabulary and packed in a few “jazz hands” dances for good measure.  

Throughout the process, we work in a way that doesn’t just get students to focus on iPads. Instead, we swing back and forth between digital and physical-world experiences, between self-guided exploration and structured learning, using the creative experience of the app itself to re-engage students with their environment, their curriculum and each other.

Of course, much of this is now familiar to our friends in South Wales, where over 2,400 have been through our courses. But its all new in the North West. We’re totally excited to be expanding into the area, and if the response of the teachers and students at St Richard Gwyn and Christleton is anything to go by, you just might be too. So if you’re a teacher in that neck of the woods - drop us a line. We’re on your doorstep and we’d love to come by and show you how we work.