Image: Mr. Gregory, our new art teacher at IES Kista
Welcome to the first edition of our Meet the Mr./Ms. series of articles that will be a running feature on the IES Kista website.
These articles stem from in-depth interviews with each of our staff at our school. As different members of staff take the limelight, we will share a little bit of extra information about them as a person, and also how they go the extra mile to make our school community as fabulous as possible.
For this debut article, we take a look at our new Art teacher Dr. Gregory. Here he talks about broken bones, Japanese culture and our all important house system.
Dr. Gregory's art experience comes from time spent at Liverpool John Moore's University in the Liverpool School of Art. He studied Art there as an undergraduate student, and continued straight on to complete a PhD which he completed aged 26. His PhD comes from a fascination with Japanese art culture, and in particular Dr. Gregory studied the relationship between visual Japanese art and the music culture of the country.
"The link between art, creativity and society was fascinating to me," Dr. Gregory explains, "I think there is an aesthetic that runs through Japanese culture, from centuries of tradition to what we have today."
After his PhD studies Dr. Gregory then went on to lecture in Art at University level, which he did in total for twelve years. The skills he accumulated over many years of teaching and research make him a valuable asset to our school environment. Over the summer months Dr. Gregory has been working many projects for us including designing the four crests for each of houses here at IES Kista. We asked him a little bit about his role in the design process.
"These crests are designed to be in the traditional shield style. The crests will be on badges and put up across the school, and the colour themes will be used for many different events in the year. I was given the names of the four scientists, as well as the colours chosen for each of them. I did a bit of research into what each of these scientists achieved. I've just finished reading Herman Lindquist's History of Sweden, learning a little about the scientific and technological innovations that have come through in Sweden. It was fun to look at the different scientists and find objects that symbolise each of them.
"For example, the starting point with Celsius is of course the thermometer, but then I did more research into him and realised many of his astronomical achievements, such as setting up Uppsala astronomy and for being one of the first to get an accurate measurement of the distance between the Earth and Sun."
The house system crests are going to be prominently placed at the front of the school, with rolling tallies of rewards updated regularly to encourage our students to do their best in all aspects of school life.
In art lessons themselves, students will be able to earn house points, but what is it Dr. Gregory is looking for in his art students? We ask him, as a teacher and as the Head of Celsius House.
"I think firstly it is not just drawing accurately or painting realistically which makes someone good at art. Traditionally people spend years of schooling trying do this, defining if they were good at art purely by their drawing and painting skills. I think having new, interesting and exciting ideas makes a good artist, and there are so many ways these can be realised through all sorts of creative materials and experimental methods, and also to think about the art we have in the real world. Art fits into every aspect of life and society, even the things in these rooms and the walls have been designed by somebody who drew it and planned it. I think that's how we will look at it and I want to encourage students to be experimental and playful with ideas and also think about how it fits into the real world."
Away from the classroom, Dr. Gregory loves his music, and previous spent some years away from the educational field working as a professional musician. Dr. Gregory also continues with his artistic passions, and has an exhibition of his work in Gallery MC, New York, on September 24th. He also has a love of the outdoors, and has been utilising those fleeting moments of Swedish summer to enjoy the freedom of Stockholm's beautiful archipelago. Trying out the winter sports here are also great for Dr. Gregory, however perhaps not so graceful as a trip to hospital was required last year from an ice skating fall, breaking his arm.
With the first school year at IES Kista ready to begin, we welcome Dr. Gregory and all the other staff to our school with open arms. We look forward to learning more about all our talented staff members.