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Art History Summer University Applications NOW OPEN!

We are very excited to announce that applications for Summer University 2017 are now open! Further information about the application process can be found on our website. The deadline for applications is Monday 1st May 2017.

Summer University runs from Monday 3 to Monday 6 July 2017. This year’s theme is Art and Identity looking at art history in its contexts, as well as studying art from across the world in a variety of London collections, including our very own Courtauld Gallery.


Summer University is specifically designed to give Year 12 students an opportunity to spend four days experiencing student life at a world-class university, The Courtauld Institute of Art, with its own beautiful art gallery.

 

You will work closely with distinguished academics, gallery curators and professionals, as well as current and recent undergraduate students from The Courtauld. It is a great addition to any UCAS form, no matter the subject you plan to study, and an invaluable taster of what the arts and humanities offer at higher education.

To apply to take part you must be currently studying at a UK state school or FE college, with an interest in finding out more about Art History and the possibilities of studying the subject at degree level.

This is a free non-residential course designed for students from non-selective state schoo4ls or colleges.

The deadline for applications is Monday 1st May 2017.

Please email Helen Higgins at education@courtauld.ac.uk to find out more.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Capturing the Essence of Movement with Heronsgate Primary

On Wednesday 30 November 2016, a group of students from Heronsgate Primary School visited The Courtauld Gallery for the first of three workshops with artist and gallery educator Millie Knight.

The pupils firstly received an introduction to Rodin and his artworks exhibited in Rodin and Dance: The Essence of Movement. The class had the exciting opportunity to see the works of art discussed first-hand, looking at Rodin’s drawings, cut-outs and sculptures. Elsewhere in the Gallery, the pupils were able to explore how other works in the Courtauld Collection capture movement.

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In the afternoon, the pupils looked at maquettes (small-scale model replicas of Rodin’s work) and drew from observation onto paper. The aim was to draw big, and to capture the movement of a dancer! Millie asked us to sketch but not look at the paper, only looking at the sculpture; it was difficult at first but made us look closely.

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On 1 December, Millie and I went to visit school in Woolwich. The focus of this workshop was Rodin’s cut-outs. In pairs, pupils first drew round each other’s legs and arms, and then drew the body and head of their partner. The class then put their final cut-outs on the floor and took it in turns to respond, critiquing what they thought of each other’s work.

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On the following day, the focus was to use clay to create mini sculptures. Millie began by demonstrating how to use plaster moulds, which she created especially for the project. Pupils took it in turns to use the moulds – there were different ones for arms, legs, heads and bodies. In-order to personalise their sculptures, the pupils moulded body parts together in various ways to convey movement.

The class thoroughly enjoyed learning about Rodin and his artworks – the said that their highlight was being able to use clay to sculpt their own Rodin dancers!

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Hannah Dixon (Student Ambassador)

Courtauld Public Programmes collaborates with First Story

On Wednesday 16 November 2016 we were delighted to collaborate with First Story, a charity who change lives through creative writing by partnering writers with schools. We welcomed two secondary schools to join us on our quest to combine art and writing in imaginative ways: Acland Burghley School and Raine’s Foundation School.

Gathering in the lecture theatre, we heard from Jay, First Story’s Programme Officer, who gave us a run through of what the day was going to involve. The schools were split up into 4 groups, and each one was paired up with a Courtauld Gallery Tutor and a First Story Author. Each group were assigned two works of art from The Courtauld Gallery.

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We headed off to the gallery; Group 1 was downstairs in the Medieval and Renaissance room. It was very exciting to hear Tempe Nell’s detailed descriptions of The Seilern Triptch and The Walrus Ivory Box – especially because we were in front of the real things! The students discovered who the characters were in the religious scene; it has plenty of components so each student was able to focus on a different character. It was especially interesting to spot the man who commissioned the painting sitting in the bottom of the painting. Both works are made of materials the group hadn’t seen before: gold leaf, egg tempera and walrus tusk!

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Miriam Nash our writer and poet led the interactive activity, we chatted with her about how our character would have felt within the painting. This led onto our writing workshop back in the seminar room where the group developed their ideas. We discussed how creating a piece of writing, and creating an artwork, require similar levels of imagination and attention to detail.

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As well as taking inspiration from the works of art, we looked a Lucile Clifton’s persona poem called ‘Easter Sunday.’ Persona poems are poems where the reader takes on the voice of a different person. The students took elements of this type of poetry and used it in their own work. Everyone’s poems or monologues were written from the point of view of a character that features in the painting or on the ivory box.

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At the end of the day we went back to the lecture theatre, Group 1 performed their creative writing pieces to the other three groups – everybody enjoyed them thoroughly and gave a mighty round of applause! We then heard from the Groups 2, 3 and 4. They told us which artworks they had focused on and they read aloud their own unique responses to the artworks. Everyone’s writing successfully captured the themes and characters in the works of art found at The Courtauld Gallery, giving their own unique spin on the paintings and objects that have been around for hundreds of years.

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Overall, the First Story and Courtauld Insitute of Art collaborative workshop was a wholly enjoyable and thought-provoking day fuelled by the student’s creativity. We look forward to similar sessions in future!

by Hannah Dixon, Student Ambassador

An Exciting New Collaboration in Coventry!

In March the exhibition Degas’ Dancers: A Courtauld Masterpiece opened at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. It included one of The Courtauld’s most famous pieces of work Degas’ Two Dancers on a Stage, 1874, as well as two sculptures and a drawing.

 

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Edgar Degas, Two Dancers on a Stage, 1874, The Courtauld Gallery, London

To celebrate these works on tour in Coventry the learning departments from both the Herbert and The Courtauld have worked together to put on a range of events for the public. For example, the Herbert organised a number of late openings to engage new audiences and The Courtauld’s Oak Foundation Young People’s Programme Coordinator (Thurs-Fri) Helen Higgins delivered a number of talks as part of this. We also took the time to observe and learn from each other’s specialisms, which you can read below.

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Meghan Goodeve, Oak Foundation Young People’s Programme Coordinator (Mon-Weds) from The Courtauld, reflects on primary school workshops ran by The Herbert:

“One of the first things that struck me when meeting the learning team from the Herbert was how comprehensive their primary school programme was. I was keen to observe one of these and see how they used their amazing learning space. I was lucky enough to see a workshop on the theme of sculpture (including our Degas!) for 28 year 4 students from local Gosford Park Primary School. The session was engaging and lively, using props such as a chisel and hammer (under close supervision!!) to demonstrate key ways of making sculpture, in this case carving. The Herbert were also brilliant at grounding the learning in literacy, using sheets with key words to help expand the students’ vocabulary. One of my favourite bits of the workshop was when a student was asked to play the role of the workshop teacher and lead the class through their own visual analysis of a work – culminating their learning from earlier in the session. Finally, we hit their learning space to take part in some hands-on clay sculpture. I know the table I was on really enjoyed this and left clutching their work proudly!”

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Brian Scholes, Learning Officer for Schools from the Herbert, reflects on a post-16 outreach workshop for Coventry City College delivered by The Courtauld:

“The outreach workshop was delivered to a group of 20 art students from different disciplines including painting, photography and graphic design. Meghan Goodeve and Naomi Lebens from The Courtauld led the session, beginning with a presentation in the Herbert’s learning space which gave a brief history of the Courtauld. This was extremely illuminating as it also gave the students a chance to learn about the nature and the status of modern art at the end of the 19th and turn of the 20th centuries.

Meghan then introduced the students to the role of curators in museums. This included an exploration of the different viewpoints of art historians and how this can influence the interpretation of an artwork (The Courtauld’s masterpiece A Bar at the Folies Bergere was used as an illustration for critique). A discussion then took place around how differing interpretations of artworks can influence the creation of an exhibition. Bearing these points in mind the students were then introduced the Herbert’s exhibition Degas’ Dancers in the gallery. The students engaged in an interesting discussion about the content and display.

After lunch the students were given a task, working in small groups, in the learning space. This was led by Meghan and Naomi. Each group was given a series of postcards of paintings from The Courtauld collection. The groups had to pick a theme, then choose appropriate works of art (using the postcards) in order to design an (imaginary) exhibition, including the physical layout of the show. This led to much discussion as ideas flowed and eventually each group came up with a design for an exhibition using the learning from the day.

The whole experience was invaluable to the students, not least because they were all about to embark on the display of their end-of-year shows.”

 

 

TEDx Courtauld Institute explore ‘what is utopian art?’

On Saturday 12th March, TEDx Courtauld Institute collaborated with The Courtauld’s public programmes to organise ‘What is Utopian Art?’ the first undergraduate-led workshop for a group of 16-19 year olds. They planned a workshop for young people interested in learning more about art history and the idea of ‘Utopia’. This was in response to Somerset House’s year of activities around the same theme. The undergraduate students will explain a bit more about the workshop below! 

To fit in with the concept of TedxCourtauld 2016, Utopia; Breaking the Rules, we decided to introduce, discuss and debate the relationship between art and ‘Utopia’. We did this by tracing the concept of ‘Utopia’ through Thomas More’s original book, the Courtauld collection, and contemporary art work commissioned for both the TedxCourtauld 2016 and the Utopia 2016 festival at Somerset House.  Our aim was to create a journey through the different ideas of ‘Utopia’. We wanted to empower the young people at the workshop, to explore how art informs, reflects and helps construct ‘Utopias’, and how can they use this to challenge their environment through art.

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At the start of the day the students heard an introduction to the UTOPIA 2016 marking the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia. They found out about what More set out in his text: what his view of ‘Utopia’ was in 1516 and the issues with the text that we unwittingly evoke every time we use this word.We also discussed Somerset House’s architectural features and the history of the site.

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To build on this concept we then toured two examples of contemporary artwork within Somerset House. By visiting Jeremy Deller’s and Fraser Muggeridge’s acid-coloured flag perched on top of Somerset house and the interactive space or ‘Treasury’, we considered the influence of popular culture and political context on their work.  We also went for a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of Peter Liversidge’s work as Artist in Residence for TEDx Courtauld talks. He spent two weeks at the River Rooms with volunteers creating apolitical protest signs for an installation within the TedxCourtauld Institute talk space. We were able to visit their work-in-progress, getting exclusive access to a contemporary artist’s creative process, to understand how Peter’s work challenges the concept of Utopia by looking at the act of protest.

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In The Courtauld Gallery collection we used Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works of art to dissect this knowledge further. We were taught that there are many different ways of reading artworks, with art historians putting on a different set of methodological glasses to view a work.  We used the days theme of ‘Utopia’ to interpret the artworks in front of us, with the student’s presenting to the group their thoughts when asking themselves ‘Can this artwork be viewed as Utopian or Dystopian?’ and ‘Was this the artist’s intention? Or has this view of the work changed over time?’

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In the afternooon, the group collaborated to create a flag to symbolise their interpretation of Utopia. The finished piece was displayed in the foyer to represent TEDx Courtauld Institute 2016 to our two hundred guests. The young people tackled a section of the flag in a unique and collaborative way choosing to draw on different ways artists have approached ‘Utopia’ throughout the century, incorporating elements which could be traced back to the discussions had throughout the day!

 

Fashion or dress?

Last Saturday we had a great workshop thinking all about fashion in The Courtauld Gallery’s collection. We started the day with Dr Liz Kutesko, looking at Renoir’s La Loge 1874 and Degas’ Lady with a Parasol 1870-72. She introduced us to some really interesting ideas – like the difference between fashion and dress! She has recently finished her PhD with The Courtauld’s History of Dress department so revealed some new ways to approach paintings.

We then went back to the classroom, where we thought about fashion imagery today. We were asked to visually analyse a fashion shoot thinking about the photographer, sets, the role of model, and much more!

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In the afternoon artist and art historian Millie Knight joined us and revealed more about creating a set for a fashion shoot. With lots of inspiration from the morning, we created a model of a fashion shoot using The Courtauld Gallery collection as a starting point.

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It was such a brilliant day and are now looking forward to the next workshops in February half term!

Thanks to Liz and Millie!

What will 2016 bring?

We are really excited at what will be happening here at The Courtauld for young people in 2016. Here is a round up of what we have planned for you!

  1. A brand new set of Insights into Art History workshops starting this January. Highlights include Fashion with a dress historian and illustrator coming next! Bookings now open.

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2. We are going on the road, bringing a series of art history workshops for 16-19 year olds to Nottingham! With the University of Nottingham and New College Nottingham, we will run three workshops, each exploring a different aspect of ‘modernism’ in art. Bookings now open!

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3. For the seventh year running, we are working with Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London, to investigate how art history and moving image can collide! See previous years’ results on our project website here.

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4. Our Art History Summer University for year 12 students will open for applications on Monday 22nd February 2016. Each year students spend 4 days in The Institute with a range of staff members to discover what art history at higher education can be!

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5. Finally, Look Again, a photography project for young people in East London will transform The Courtauld collection’s portraits. If you are interested in this for your school – let us know!

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We are really looking forward to these projects and much more! If you would like to get involved please send us an email on education@courtauld.ac.uk and we can discuss the ways you can work with us. Happy 2016!

Meghan & Helen

Oak Foundation Young People’s Programme Coordinator (job-share)

Exploring Self

On Saturday 5th December 2015, we welcomed young people from across London to join us for a day to think about Van Gogh, self-portraits, and photography. They started the day by working with Art Historian Fran Herrick to explore Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with a Bandaged Ear, 1889, at The Courtauld Gallery. They then looked at lots of other examples of portraits in the collection before picking some of their favourites to think about more closely.

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In the afternoon, they worked with photographer Elizabeth Bicher to think about ways to make their own self-portraits. Taking inspiration from the collection and contemporary photography, they thought about issues such as identity and representation of yourself. They were also tasked with creating self-portraits that used techniques such as masks, shadows, and disguises – how can you create a self-portrait without necessarily showing your face?

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Wassily Kandinsky: Between East and West

Last week we welcomed 15 young people to our fully-booked Insights into Art History workshop here at The Courtauld Gallery. They came from all over London to spend time with Natalia Murray an expert art historian in Russian 20th century art and The Courtauld’s collection of Kandinsky’s. After a quick introduction into the context Kandinsky was working in and his inspiration from artists to the West and East, we headed into the gallery to look and analysis Kandinsky’s works firsthand. A few observational drawings were made before heading back to the seminar room to try our hand at woodcut printing!

The next Insights workshop is on Saturday 5th December and will focus on Van Gogh.

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We Welcome Welling School Back

We are happy to announce that this year we are working with Welling School and their brilliant year 7 students again. Yesterday we welcomed the first group of their students to The Courtauld Gallery to explore our current display Bridget Riley: Learning from Seurat. They spent the day with art historian Dr Katie Faulkner and artist Nadine Mahoney thinking about how artists use paintings from the past to learn, Seurat’s and Riley’s use of colour theory, and the difference between copying and transcriptions. My favourite quote from the day is ‘I learnt that you can learn a lot about painting yourself by observing other people’s paintings’. We are now all equip to visit any gallery and learn like an artist! Here are some photos from the day…

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We can’t wait for our visit to Welling School in December…

Meghan Goodeve, Oak Foundation Young People’s Programme Coordinator (job-share with Helen Higgins)