Museum visits inspire art students

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We spoke to Art teacher Fiona, from LightCliffe Academy about her recent visit to the Museum.

Describe what you did with your students and what you were hoping to achieve?

"As a school we think the Museum is an excellent resource for Art students and have usually brought students from Key Stages four and five.

Our most recent visit has been with a group of year 11 boys who had not yet achieved their Art GCSE target grade. We brought the students for the whole day with the aim that they produce a piece of GCSE course work.

We booked the learning space for a whole day, and initially worked from images of art work based on mining. Some of these we brought ourselves, some of which were from a resource pack provided by the Museum. The Museum has a fantastic collection of art and photography!

Armed with sketching materials we went underground with a Miner Guide who willingly did some short poses for our students at various points during the tour. Students also took inspiration for their sketches from the underground space and models.

Once on the surface we got straight down to work and developed a piece of reduction print work on polystyrene plates, (a material which is quick and easy to work with) based on one of the student's sketches.”

Why do you bring your students to the Museum? What is special about this place?

"Our visit always works well as many of the students have never been to the Museum or down a mine, so a change of scene and new experience is always a plus, even with the harder to engage students.

Taking them out of the school environment gives an opportunity for a different way of working and is a really inspiring starting point.

It is an intensive day but also a very productive one: our students came away with a series of successful studies and prints which constitute a coursework piece: a great achievement!

Next month we will be bringing students working on the theme 'Beneath Our Feet'."

What did your students think of the trip?

"The boys gained a great deal from this opportunity, one this year when asked if he had enjoyed the experience, commented that ' I wasn't looking forward to it and only came because my Mum said I had to, but it was really good'.

The guides are always very good, and tailor the underground tour to our needs, chatting to the students and answering their questions. At this stage in their Year 11 to hear the guide talk about his experience of starting in the mine straight from school is something that the boys could relate to.

I would like to bring more students, but a small targeted group does work well at KS4, and the nature of the resource means it is particularly boy friendly. There were many students both male and female from my group who wished they had been given the opportunity."

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