When Revd Hannah Amner arrived as the Chaplain for Bishops' Blue Coat C of E High School, Chester in the middle of last year, she felt that the neutral colours of the walls in the prayer space could do with brightening up a bit. Undecided about what creative direction to take she put the task in the hands of those that it would make the most difference to, the students.
It's easy to imagine that giving a group of teenagers the freedom to re-decorate a room might result in something wild and chaotic, with bright colours everywhere you look.
Well, that's exactly what happened. Every inch of the prayer room is now filled with one of many bright, vibrant colours, almost as if the paint was sourced from numerous sample-sized paint pots. But...It works.
As you walk into the room you get a sense that this is a great place to be. It feels different, alive and energising. The colours on the wall might seem like they have been randomly painted at will, but every patch of colour seems to have found its right place on the wall, complementing the bright patch of colour next to it. The creators of this artwork, for it's more than a simple re-decorating job, have achieved something that is simultaneously chaotic and harmonious at the same time. And this is not an easy thing to do. It hits you in the face but at the same time, quite relaxing.
Strangely the room is very calming, as if, there's just so much to occupy your senses, that personal worries seem to fade into the background, something that one of the students alludes to in the video below, "If you're worrying about something, you can't really think about that properly. It's just really calm in here"
The school's vision is 'Known, Nurtured, Inspired', and it's easy to see how each of those three words has played a part in what the pupils have achieved here.
Revd Hannah says, "My heart as a Chaplain is to not do things to young people, it's to do things with them." The new bright space reflects what can result from this thinking. a bright room created by bright young people, who, when given a chance, can create something wonderful.