London’s Calling: IB Film and Art Students make a Great British trip


Lachlan H., Reporter

In the wee hours of January 30, a small group of people gathered at Hamad International Airport for a trip of massive proportions, at least for them and their artistic sensibilities. Accompanied by teacher-chaperones Mr. John Venditti, Ms. Rachel Huddleston, and Ms. Elizabeth Chaffee, 15 students from the IB Art and Film programs were about to embark on a trip to London, to broaden their artistic horizons, hone their craft, and engage with a vibrant city rich with art history, from the galleries to the graffiti cans.

As the students took their first steps out of Heathrow Airport, a sudden realization chilled them to the bone — it was freezing cold. Some rummaged through their bags to secure beanies and scarves, while others huddled together like penguins to stave off the Arctic blasts. Soon a beacon of hope arrived, pumping diesel and promising warmth. A Stagecoach. As our friendly guide Alan assisted with loading our luggage onto the bus, we had our sights set on the city. With £10 in our hands and a Tube map in our back pockets, we were ready to conquer London.

After arriving at the hotel and unpacking all of our bags, we leapt right into the action. We made our way to the British Museum to marvel at works of art and instruments of life from millennia ago. The Rosetta Stone, ornate mummies, and beautiful carvings lived on, not only in the memories of the students, but also in the camera rolls of all present. As soon as we exited the museum, we were hurried off to the National Portrait Gallery, where students would spend hours looking at perfectly captured moments in time. Staring into the eyes of others who had been immortalized in oil or watercolors or acrylic, had a meditative effect on the students. Seeing wrinkles, spots, and red cheeks canonized in timeless grace and beauty provided surprising insights most were not expecting when they entered the hallowed halls. After a filling meal at a slice of Americana at Big Moe’s Diner, the students and teachers alike retired to beds, exhausted but excited for the days ahead.

The next morning, some rising from bed slightly slower than others, the cohort gathered in the lobby of the hotel. Some were clutching coffee cups, others were munching on baguettes as they were the only things left on the buffet (guilty); regardless, all were excited for the day that lay before them. As the day prior had been focused predominantly on art, which the film students enjoyed thoroughly, today was their time to shine. The group of 18 made its way towards the British Film Institute, a looming figure on the Southbank and a veritable shrine for all to see the beauty of cinema. A quick run-through caught everyone up to speed on the basics of film, and we set off to create a silent black-and-white movie, an homage to the greats Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

After an intense period of filming and quite a few laughs from the final screening of our project, we were sent on our way, all with a newfound appreciation for the history of film. The day did not end there, as we next ventured to the National Gallery, a goliath housing everything from Michelangelo to Van Gogh. The gallery was far too vast for students to see everything, but, nonetheless, they enjoyed themselves and made their way to the next stop. Roma. A film that would move many students to the point of tears. 

And would you believe that this was only the second day?