Literacy, camera, action! at the Photographers’ Gallery

Date Posted: 02/11/2016

Workshops in visual Literacy and camera skills are just some of the learning opportunities available at the Photographers' Gallery in London. School Travel Organiser finds out more. 

The Photographers’ Gallery is said to be the largest public gallery in London dedicated to photography. 

There’s plenty for visiting school children to see and learn from, including the latest emerging talent, historical archives and photography by established artists.

Teachers are able to book self-led school visits, whereby parties of school students can explore the galleries independently. 

Two educational workshops are also available, and can be added to extend a visit to the gallery. School visits must be booked in advance. 

About the Photographers’ Gallery 

A number of exhibitions, both temporary and permanent, are available to view at the Photographers’ Gallery at any one time. 

Current exhibitions include Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s, an exhibition comprising 48 international female artists, and Family Photography Now; a 40-week Instagram project that looks at representations of family. 

Future displays include Cathedral of the Pines – a new body of work by the American artist Gregory Crewdson, which will run from 27th January to 26th March 2017 and focus on landscapes in Massachusetts. 

Educational workshops 

Two workshops are available to pupils in Key Stage 2 and above. Groups of 33 students can take a workshop at one time; larger groups will be split into smaller parties. Each session lasts 90 minutes.

Visual Literacy sees pupils exploring individual photographs in the exhibitions, through games, discussion and practical assignments, in order to enhance their visual literacy skills.

Pupils are encouraged to develop their own understanding of the work on show and use this to extend their thinking and inform the way in which they make their own photographs and art.

The workshop will see the students considering the formal elements and vocabulary used to describe photographs; exploring how ideas, feelings and meanings are conveyed and interpreted through images; and reflecting on how the context of an image shapes its interpretation. 

The other workshop available to school parties is called Camera Obscura. The session makes use of the Photographers' Gallery's Camera Obscura room, which is a darkened room with an aperture that produces an inverted image of the scene outside. 

Each group will begin by entering the Camera Obscura room where they will learn about the early optical device, touching on both its scientific and historical connections.

Following this participants will work in pairs to create their own handheld pinhole Camera Obscura that they can take home with them.

As an extension activity, the group can explore the creative potential of the device and make group Camera Obscura portraits. 

Using the Camera Obscura room pupils can ‘catch’ the projected image using white paper and white t-shirts and make photographs of the resulting image.

Schools based in either London or Luton that have over 20 per cent of pupils who are eligible for free school meals can take these workshops for free.

Teachers can book workshops by e-mailing projects@tpg.org.uk.

For further information visit www.thephotographersgallery.org.uk.

School Travel Organiser's Guide