Art gets a new frame

17th November 2000 at 00:00
STILL LIFE FOR HIGHER STILL. by Liz Ross, Roy Keil and Richard Walker pound;4 for Edinburgh schools, pound;7 for others. from Education Department, City of Edinburgh Council, 10 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG.

One of the frustrations about resources for written work in art and design is that there isn't much choice. Teachers either have to adapt those produced for other courses (usually GCSE) or devise our own.

It has always been the case that art teachers across Scotland have duplicated their efforts in producing notes on the same subjects. How far more effective it would be to have one good set of notes on, for example, the Impressionists which could be printed and sent to all school art departments. Certainly there is no lack of books which cover the areas of the curriculum but very often the use of language is inappropriate or the cost of a class set is prohibitive.

The introduction of Higher Still courses has placed further emphasis on relating written work to practical work. This is to be welcomed, since it gives purpose to developing awareness in students of artists and their work.

The Higher Still art and design courses identify specific themes of study and one of these is still life. The City of Edinburgh Council's education and recreation departments have jointly produced a pack designed to support delivery of this area of the visual arts.

Still Life for Higher Still is intended for Higher, Intermedite 2 and Intermediate 1 students. It contains five high quality images by a variety of artists, with accompanying notes and activities.

This is an excellent resource. The images are stimulating and the information is accessible to a wide range of ability. The producers are to be congratulated.

The content and structure of the pack has been well thought out; it can be used unmodified in the classroom or as an introduction to further research. Accompanying each image is information on the artist, an analysis of the particular work and differentiated tasks. I found these notes to be well written in appropriate language.

The word bank dedicated to each image is an excellent idea, which will be very useful in promoting more descriptive writing. The suggested areas for further research allow students to look into relevant aspects of the work in more detail and encourage more personal responses to the theme.

The emphasis on using artwork that can be seen in Scottish galleries increases the relevance of the work to our students. Consideration has also been given to the "contemporary" element which is mandatory in Higher Still.

This format should be used as a template for resources in the other areas of the visual arts and design, with other education departments adding images over time. Perhaps the dream of shared, relevant and effective resources for written work in art and design will be realised.

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