The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

Ceramic Students Install Interactive Art at Harvard University


Six students traveled to Boston with over 200 cups made in less than two months

On October 26th, a project that had been in the making since the beginning of the school year finally came to fruition. Seniors Drew Freed, Dan McGlinn, Michael Stangis, Brian Tatlow, junior Joe Martin, and sophomore Liam Wheeler, along with Ms. Plows, Ms. White, Mr. Wasson, and Mr. McGlinn, all headed to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education with over 200 handmade cups. These cups that had many countless hours put into them would soon be finding homes with new owners.

The project wasn’t just making cups, it was about telling a story, and the cups were the vessels to pass each story along.

The project was centered around the concept of flow, an idea developed by the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  Flow occurs when everything comes together and a person is intently focused on what they are doing. The students involved interviewed Malvern students, parents, teachers, and others about their perception and experiences with and while in a state of flow.

The interviews were recorded and uploaded to a Soundcloud page.With the interviews all online, a QR code was generated for each interview, and then printed out and fired on each cup as a decal. Now with the simple scan of a smartphone, anyone interested can reach these interviews from the ceramic cups.

At the conference, which drew arts educators from all over the country, the Malvern representatives were set up in a corner of the room, with the mugs displayed for all to investigate. Naturally people were drawn to them for a look, but the excitement really started when the visitors learned that the cups were being given away. The deal was anyone could have a cup, in exchange for another interview relating to flow.  There was a slow start, but once the cups started moving, people were lined up and spending lots of time looking through the cups in search of the one that spoke to them.

IMG_3362When we weren’t hanging out in a library basement, we were out exploring the many sites that Boston has to offer.  We were able to watch part of the big Harvard vs. Princeton football game Saturday afternoon. After that we went and checked out the COOP, Harvard’s main bookstore, and I assisted Joe Martin in rearranging all of the stuffed animals in a display so they would all be looking at you when you walked by. And after our packing everything up from the conference, we went to what was arguably Ms. Plows’ favorite part of the whole trip, Radiolab Live in the Wang Theater. The theme of the touring show was endings, and we saw some life-size dinosaurs on stage.

Being a part of this opportunity was a great experience for all of us that were involved. Personally it was very exciting to hear from people how much they loved our work and admired our dedication to art. I was also pretty excited to hear that there was a common theme for what many of the people found their flow in: their job. With many of the people being educators, it was a great sign to hear that teachers really enjoy what they do, and that they strive to help their students make the best of their time with them.

When the teacher and the student are able to enter into a state of flow while in each other’s presence in a learning environment, that is when great things happen.

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