The Dolphin School in Montpelier has announced a partnership with accomplished Bristol-based artist Michele Curtis in the rebrand of their school emblem.
In October last year, following a public consultation, the school community voted to replace its original emblem because the design echoed the Colston family crest. The school invited interest from artists and designers to which they received a positive response, with Michele being appointed to deliver this collaborative project.
Vice Principal of The Dolphin School, Kate Jenkins, said: “We’re thrilled that Michele is working with us to develop our new emblem. She’s taken on board the feedback gathered during the public consultation and is now working with our pupils virtually to explore the power of images in telling a story.”
Michele is the founder of Iconic Black Britons, a community interest company, and she is also the architect and artist behind the Seven Saints of St Paul’s art project, designed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the St Paul’s Carnival and the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Windrush Generation. The Bristol-based trail of seven giant murals around the city profiles what Michele describes as “ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances”.
In the previous academic year, as part of its CuriousCity curriculum and the One Bristol Curriculum, pupils from The Dolphin School followed the unique mural trail to inspire their own school project creating pieces of work to celebrate someone significant to them.
The pupils hosted an exhibition and invited Michele to visit, which led to her becoming a regular visitor to the school before lockdown, accepting every invitation to engage with pupils about art and design. “Art is a wonderful way for young people to express themselves,” said Michele. “There is increasingly more cross over between the creative industries and so many different sectors and I welcome every opportunity to empower young people through art.”
“I was thrilled to be selected to work with the school community to develop their new emblem. I don’t believe in erasing history but we can evolve and move forward. It’s a privilege to be part of this collaborative project, working hand-in-hand with the school community to design a visual identity that reflects the hope and wonder that the children radiate in abundance.”
“Key words that came out of the public consultation include ‘values, community, diversity, curious, intelligent and inclusive’. It’s fascinating to explore with young children how symbols might be used to represent these positive messages and to apply that collaborative process to develop a new identity that truly reflects The Dolphin School.”
Kate Jenkins added: “I believe that the school will gain so much more than a new emblem from this project. Michele is a positive role model who has hurdled barriers throughout her life to become a well-respected artist nationally. The children are inspired by her energy and optimism, in fact they already think of her as a local hero. I have no doubt that Michele will perfectly capture the vibrant spirit of our school.”
The Dolphin School is part of Venturers Trust, sponsored by the Society of Merchant Venturers and the University of Bristol.
The new emblem will be revealed in March.
Photo: (L-R) The Dolphin School pupil, SB, age 10; artist Michele Curtis; The Dolphin School pupil, Amy, age 9; and Vice Principal of The Dolphin School, Kate Jenkins.