Take 15 Pictures

The main focus week was just before October half term (21st – 25th).

On the Monday morning children walked in the Family Groups to the Laing Art Gallery. This in itself would be a challenge to a class of Reception children – but walking with their Y5 mentors makes it so much more manageable.

At the gallery Y6 children led the learning which included introducing the picture and what they had found out about it. They also asked questions –‘What do you see?’, ‘What do you notice?’ and ‘What do you wonder?’. As Y6 had spent a day with gallery education staff they had a wealth of activities to draw on – for some groups too many!

Back at school children worked in their family groups to create their own visual responses to their picture. They worked on a writing response to their art work in classes. Family Group portfolios of writing were then created showing writing progression from Reception to Y6.

This project follows on from a similar piece of work that Hotspur did last year with Great North Museum: Hancock with objects from their world cultures gallery and a ‘Picture of the Week’ theme that ran in school for the Autumn Term. Hotspur and the Laing had also collaborated on other smaller scale work in the past. There were a range of objectives for ‘Take 15 pictures’ including:

  • Further enriching children’s knowledge and appreciation of a range of artists and their work
  • Developing oracy through discussion of art work (building on the Laing’s ‘Articulate’ work with secondary aged pupils)
  • Providing a real-life opportunity for Y6 children to co-curate and co-design cultural learning and then take on leadership, mentoring and ‘teaching’ roles during the project
  • Enhancing relationships between different aged children in vertically organised Family Groups
  • Using pictures to stimulate children’s own creative work in visual art and writing
  • Helping children from differing backgrounds to develop a bond with a leading local cultural venue and to see the Laing as ‘our art gallery’

In the summer term the current Y6 children spent time at the Laing choosing a picture for each Family Group (15 in total). They ensured that there was a balance across the collection – this included spanning 500 years, abstract and figurative work and gender of artist. Although there is a geographical spread of artists there is a bias towards people from the local area.

During the half term holiday families were encouraged to visit the Laing Art Gallery. The staff had prepared a ‘treasure hunt’ and art activity for children to complete which again asked them to think about the art and carry out a personal curation.

Y6 children returned to the gallery for the Engage Conference which brings together gallery educators from across the country. They spoke about their chosen pictures and the project to delegates who were impressed with their vocabulary and differing perspectives.