Once upon a time there was a wise old witch who lived deep in the forest in a charmed gingerbread house. It was a beautiful house, covered in magical delights that became the heart’s desire of whoever laid eyes on it. The witch lived in troubled times – there was war and fighting, the earth was scarred and scorched, plagues were numerous and many did not have enough to eat. Trees were very rare other than in the forest and most of the earth’s unusual animals had disappeared. Looking for someone to blame, many believed that the witch was the cause of their problems. After all, she lived alone in her charmed gingerbread house in the forest, casting strange spells and making concoctions from the herbs that grew there. Most people avoided the part of the forest the witch lived in, as they had heard that she was dangerous, but there were some who ventured close to the house and found it impossible to resist the temptation of going inside. Those people were rarely seen or heard of again, which only made others more fearful that the witch had murderous intentions. In truth, the witch was teaching them her sorcery: how to live better in their troubled world. Once people had experienced the witch’s powerful magic, they were unable to go back to the way they used to live. If they did return to where they were from, they had changed so much that no one recognised them. All of these apprentice witches (for that is what they were) moved out of the forest ready and able to create their own magic, which was just what the world needed in those dark days.
Ann Russell, 2019
This fairy tale foreshadows many of the themes investigated in Ann Russell's Doctoral Project. The exhibition features the creative components from the Project, investigating the hidden curriculum in secondary schools by metaphorically exploring archetypes from the Grimm brothers’ Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. Explore how art practice and creative thinking can disrupt outdated and unhelpful ideologies and enhance learning; ultimately leading to a kinder and more sustainable society. Further explanation of the artworks and their intended meaning can be found in the following pages.