A busy September!

Student Ambassador, Sophie Newton (BA3), tells us all about September’s young people’s workshops.

It’s been a busy September with two workshops designed to give Sixth Form and College students the opportunity to learn more about Art History and life at a London University.  On Saturday 12th September was the first in this year’s series of Insights into Art History workshops. This focused on The Courtauld Gallery’s Unfinished exhibition and students were invited to come and explore the collection before implementing their skills in a curation task of their own.

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The day began with a short discussion in The Courtauld Institute’s lecture theatre, led by Dr. Katie Faulkner. This introduced the subject of Art History with all that it can entail, before we moved over to the gallery for a guided tour of the Unfinished exhibition from Fran Herrick. Her talk and subsequent discussion gave a great insight into the workings of a public gallery and the thought and care that goes into the planning and execution of a successful exhibition, setting up the students for their main afternoon project.

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Returning to the Institute, Dr. Katie Faulkner once again led a workshop to develop the students’ skills of visual analysis, moving beyond the world of historical art and into the imagery of popular culture today.

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Finally, combining all of the information from throughout the day, the students set about curating their own exhibition using images from the Courtauld’s collection, coming up with a theme, title and floorplan that would guide the gallery visitor through their ideas and intentions. Despite all starting at the same point, the final exhibitions ranged from broad themes, right down to intimate analysis of the use of specific colours and pigments. A great day with some fantastic results!

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On Wednesday 16th September was a Progression Day for students who had attended this year’s Summer University or had been involved in Insights workshops from the last academic year. This day aimed to allay worries and help the transition from school or college to university. Students who attended were at all stages of the process, from writing their UCAS forms to starting university this month.

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The day began with an open discussion where students were able to express their concerns and ask questions on subjects including the change in workload, managing finances and new social circles.

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Before attending the event, students who were working towards their ASDAN universities award were asked to write a review of an exhibition or collection display, and feedback was given. This led onto a workshop on essay writing when at university, where mark schemes and criteria were discussed, and helpful tips handed out along with looking at an example essay.

The morning finished off with a seminar led by Courtauld PhD student Will Atkin, who guided students through a critical analysis of one of Paul Gauguin’s letters, leading to a greater insight and understanding of his image Where Do We Come From, What Are We Doing, Where Are We Going (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).

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Finally, the day finished off with a boat trip to Greenwich and the Old Royal Naval College, with a tour around the Painted Hall and a VIP trip up into the dome of the Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul. Here, the Director of Conservation spoke about the history and use of the building, with views over Greenwich Park, the river and back towards the city.

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With such a packed day, there was just enough time for a few games of Victorian Skittles in the basement, before saying goodbye and heading back to The Courtauld! Thanks so much to Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College for such an amazing afternoon.

Written by Sophie Newton (BA3) a public programmes student ambassador at The Courtauld Institute of Art. 

For more information on Insights workshops or the young people’s programme more widely, please contact Meghan Goodeve and/ or Helen Higgins, Oak Foundation Young People’s Programme Coordinator (job-share) on education@courtauld.ac.uk or 0207 848 1058.