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)


Art history summer university applications open soon!

We are very excited to announce that applications for the 2015 Summer University opened today until 27th April 2015! Further information about the application process can be found on our website.


Summer University runs from Tuesday 7 to Friday 10 July 2015. This year’s theme is Global/ Local looking at art history in its global and local contexts, as well as studying art from across the world in a variety of London collections including our very own Courtauld Gallery.


Not sure what Summer University is? Especially designed for year 12 students, this is 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.



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 school or college.

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Got any questions? Email education@courtauld.ac.uk to find out more.

We hope to hear from you soon!

click, connect, construct!

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The 16-19 student visual essay competition is open to all young people aged 16-19 years who are studying or interested in art, art history and the humanities subjects.

Developed in partnership with FE and sixth form tutors, this digital project is centred on twentieth-century art historian Aby Warburg and utilises Pinterest.  Pinterest is a great way to collect images digitally and to shift through the multitude of artworks that are available on the internet. We are asking students to create a visual essay based on and around an artwork from The Courtauld Gallery collection.

The project brief supports students in developing visual literacy, research skills, knowledge and confidence for the critical and contextual component of the Art and Design A-level, BTEC and for the EPQ.



The Competition opens on the 29th September 2014.  The deadline for submissions is the 12th December 2014.

Details on how to submit student work digitally are covered in the brief.

Our Information for Teachers guide contains detaild of CPD opportunities and workshops that we offer to support you in delivering this project.

Find out more:


Check out The Courtauld’s Education Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/ecourtauld/and how the project was developed here.

Naomi, Student Ambassador for Summer University 2014, reveals her insights into the course!

I really enjoyed my week working as a Student Ambassador at the Art History Summer University. It was a fantastic opportunity to talk to young people about what art history at university is like, as many had not studied the subject before! Over the course of the week I saw the group really build, especially when they were shown in various workshops and introductory lectures how their research and writing skills from other art and design, humanities and even science subjects transferred well into art history.

One of my favourite lectures was Illustrated Books and How to Read Them? given by Dr Caroline Levitt. She spoke engagingly about the role of value in art (something that has definitely cropped up in my studies numerous times so far) and how the value of mass produced items like books can change when an artist draws directly onto them. Her lecture was also good in highlighting the broadness of art history and how ‘art’ goes beyond just a painting, a sculpture, a building, and can be extended to so many other forms and philosophical concepts.


Throughout the week the students were asked to prepare an exhibition pitch in groups. Following several curatorial workshops and a visit to the MA Curation exhibition, currently at The Courtauld Gallery, each group selected a theme and suggested a way in which objects in The Courtauld Gallery’s collection and beyond could be curated around this. Each group had fantastic research skills and a knack for understanding the interrelations between different artworks. Their presentations at the end of the week were truly impressive with clear communication and great visuals.


I really hope that the students enjoyed the week as much as we did and as a result will consider the many possibilities that art history at university level can offer.


Liz Libor, NCN History of Art Course Leader reflects on a day of Art History in Nottingham!

The intention:  To raise awareness of art history as a discipline and encourage students to consider applying for the subject at degree level

The locations: New College Nottingham (NCN): An FE college in the centre of the historic Lace Market area and Creative Quarter of Nottingham that offers History of Art A Level and has a widening participation partnership with the Courtauld Institute. Nottingham Contemporary: A new and cutting edge gallery with generous and flexible exhibition space, currently hosting the Arts Council touring exhibition: “Somewhat Abstract”.

The organisers and deliverers: The Courtauld Insitute of Art’s Oak Foundation Young People’s Co-ordinator Meghan Goodeve & Alice Odin and Gallery Educator Helen Higgins, and Dr Lucy Bradnock from the University of Nottingham.

The Schools: NCN, Redhill Academy, and South Wold Academy


We were excited and apprehensive in equal measure: would the students materialise in sufficient numbers to make the event a success for The Courtauld and University of Nottingham staff who had kindly given their time and effort to make this event happen?  If students did come, would they enjoy the experience and enhance their understanding and interest in art history? Would lunch appear on time? In the end it all went swimmingly – which all goes to prove that it’s better to be a Tigger than an Eyore, as all things tend to turn out well in the end.  Around 50 students and 4 staff attended plus the 3 Courtauld staff members and Dr Lucy Bradnock from the University of Nottingham.

A variety of short talks and student activities kept a lively pace throughout the day and time just flew past.  All the students were eager to participate and contributed freely to both open discussions and group activities. Their responses were excellent with mature, thought provoking and original ideas being generated. Perhaps a highlight of the morning session based in the lecture hall of the historic Adams Building at NCN was the curatorial group activity of planning and creating a gallery space to display a self-selected theme from a choice of images from The Courtauld Gallery’s collection. The results were diverse and imaginative, ranging from a focus on sophisticated themes through to actual 3D models of the envisaged gallery space and another focused on thoughts as to the use of lighting and positioning of works that promised an installation work in its own right!




Suddenly it was lunchtime and NCN provided a generous spread of sandwiches and fresh fruit, so generous that there was still plenty left over at the end – even with a room full of hungry teenagers!  After lunch  the whole group walked the short distance down the road to Nottingham Contemporary, moving from the imposing brick and stone grandeur of Adams to the geometric, cantilevered, utilitarian exterior of the gallery that has been nicknamed by some locals  ‘the chicken shed’. Appearances, as we all know can be deceptive and once inside the gallery space students were excited by the size and diverse contents of the current exhibition that ranges through 4 large interconnected spaces.  The day continued with activities centred on experiencing works of art face-to-face and evaluating curatorial decisions.  The current exhibition Somewhat Abstract displays a wide diversity of art works across all mediums and drawn from a chronological range from early 20th century to contemporary; some easily recognisable: a Francis Bacon Screaming Pope “Head VI”, a Barbara Hepworth abstract sculpture, several Bridget Riley, Frank Auerbachs & Walter Sickerts, a Rachael Whiteread; others less familiar and equally intriguing – something for everyone and everyone found something that excited them. So much so that students were reluctant to leave when the final summary and feedback session were delivered in the cavernous and atmospheric setting of Nottingham Contemporary’s The Space.


By the end of the day all participants appeared tired but also content. Feedback from students revealed that they felt it had all been worthwhile and that they had gained a valuable insight into the challenges, attractions, skill sets and employability offered by art history, while the teachers of the participating schools were very enthusiastic and declared that they would be eager to take part in any future activities. The Courtauld team and Lucy looked exhausted, but they were very positive and felt that their efforts had been well rewarded by the enthusiasm and quality of responses from the students – so well done all and a special thanks to Meghan, Alice, Helen and Lucy for making such a herculean effort to organise and deliver the event –  bravo and y’all come back real soon!

(Photos: AP Smith Pictures http://www.apsmithpictures.com/)

Art history: it’s just a timeline?

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Before the Easter break, we took a trip up to New College Nottingham to think about ‘modernism’. What a scary word! Using Alfred Barr’s infamous diagram as a starting point, we considered timelines of ‘modernism’ across the 20th Century. More importantly, we wondered what is missing from these canons and how we can challenge accepted histories!


Young people bringing British historical portraiture alive

See our blog entry on our Stories of the World project on the NPG’s Understanding British Portrait network. Great to revisit the Look again… exhibition and it’s fascinating portraits.