Thursday, 7 November 2013

Finding the Rs in Arts

A few weeks ago, Education at 20-21 delivered a fun packed  hour and half of teacher training focusing on using art as a catalyst for teaching literacy in the classroom.

Our Education Officer, Hayley McPhun was joined by local artist Kirsty Champ and local poet Ruth Dixon who both entertained with performance poetry and a hands on activity that got the teacher thinking more actively about embedding the arts and written word as a whole offer.
Kirsty Champ

Ruth Dixon performing her humorous poetry
Teachers were challenged to look at some famous artworks and write words associated with what they could see. Martin Parr, Richard Billingham and Vincent Van Gogh's portraits and self portraits featured here, to highlight what we read into an image and what that image tells us about that person.

We spoke about how Pie Corbett uses historical arts to recount tales untold and encouraged teachers to use our resources and facilities to use art as a catalyst for creative writing in the classroom.

The afternoon took the teachers on a visit to Helen Snell's exhibition Burnt Out, which uses old maritime and nautical stories as a starting point for creating some truly beautiful artworks. We used the tour of Helen's work as a starting point for creating poetry of our own memories of the work and our experience with it.

Although the session was very rushed, lots of teachers took back quality advice and ideas to embed arts in literacy and vice versa. Here's what they had to say:

"It's helpful to get new ideas and to network. I've got lots of ideas for cross curricular work."
"The deliverers brought the ideas to life!"
"Teachers Training needs to happen more often at 20-21!"
"It was good to have a variety of leaders. Their enthusiastic delivery made the session even better!"

We'd very much like to see more teachers using the centre as a resource and are keen to help with fitting workshops, loan packs and delivery around the requirements of schools. Please get in touch if you'd like to know more about what we can offer as bespoke packages to your school. Contact our Education Officer, Hayley McPhun on 01724 297070 or email

We look forward to hearing from you and to booking in more Finding the Rs in Arts sessions!