Subject Ideas: Art and Design

Date Posted: 25/04/2014

Design Museum

Inspire creativity, fire the imagination and show pupils how Art and Design has shaped the world around them.

Cutting edge design

Founded by design guru Terence Conran, London's Design Museum (pictured) is devoted to modern design in every form, from furniture and graphics to architecture and industrial design.

The museum in Shad Thames has more than 3,000 objects from the early modernism of the 1900s to cutting edge contemporary design.

Telling the story of the history of design through mass produced objects, pupils should be fascinated to see early examples of furniture, lighting, domestic appliances and communications technology that have led to the more familiar objects they use today.

The museum offers a wide-ranging programme for schools and colleges, including resources for self-guided visits and workshops across the Key Stages.

A popular introductory workshop for all ages is Mystery, which uses a range of unusually designed domestic products to kick start pupils creative design ideas.

Other sessions include Chocolate Box, where a mouth-watering selection of confectionery packaging provides an engaging way for pupils to learn about key graphic design techniques, and Chairs where pupils evaluate a collection of folding chairs before sketching their own design.

I don't believe it

Students and teachers alike can prepare to be astounded when they go to Ripley's Believe It or Not! London.

Pupils won't believe their eyes when they look at the 700 plus interactive exhibits and wonders from around the world and teachers will be surprised at just how educational a visit to the attraction can be.

The Exciting Exploration learning resources are designed to support KS2 learning and there is a section devoted to art. Ripley's collection includes the world's smallest car, a miniatures gallery and astonishing art such as a duck created from junk, a portrait of supermodel Kate Moss made out of chewing gum and a model of Tower Bridge crafted from 264,345 matchsticks.

Compton Verney

PIctured: Children at Compton Verney (Photo credit: Compton Verney).

Educational workshops are available and talks can be tailored to complement specific lesson plans. That said, even if you are planning a visit related to Art and Design you won't want to miss the other galleries while you're there and children are always intrigued by the collection of Amazonian shrunken heads.

Ripley's, spread over six floors and boasting the largest collection of its kind, is situated in Piccadilly Circus in the heart of the West End and ideally placed for a longer visit taking in a central London artistic institution such as the National Gallery or National Portrait Gallery.

Art at the Ashmolean

Founded in 1683, at a time when the idea of the 'museum' was brand new, Oxford's Ashmolean was Britain's first public museum containing miscellaneous specimens and curiosities from around the world. In 1908 it was combined with the University Art Collection and became one of the UK's most important art and archaeology institutions.

Housed in an impressive neoclassical building, its treasures include the world's largest collection of Raphael drawings and an outstanding display of Chinese art. The new purpose built education centre has a dedicated entrance for schools and dedicated lunch room.

Examples of workshop sessions include the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, a wonderful way to introduce younger pupils to art by using the familiar hook of the Alice in Wonderland story.

For older pupils the Ashmolean offers a stunning resource from which to draw and photograph.

To help focus a visit, a short introductory talk is available. Suggested sessions include Sketchbook, where teachers choose a theme such animals, faces and portraits, fruits and flowers or journeys. Bespoke visits are also available to support individual topics.

Creative Compton Verney

Home to six diverse collections of art from around the world, Compton Verney can be found just outside Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire.

Ripley's Shrunken Heads.

Pictured: The Shrunken Heads exhibition at Ripleys.

The award-winning gallery offers a wide choice of school programmes across all Key Stages that have been designed to engage students with both the permanent collections and changing programme of international exhibitions.

One example is Face to Face, for KS2, which focuses on Tudor portraits, including Henry VIII, and explores costumes and Tudor life. After the study session pupils get involved in hands-on activities and create their own portraits using watercolour. 

This year is a special one as Compton Verney is celebrating its tenth anniversary season with an exhibition of two giants of modern sculpture, Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin.

The sculpture will be on display in the Capability Brown landscaped parkland with an accompanying exhibition of works inside the galleries which runs until the end of August.

Special workshops are available where students investigate how the sculptures were made and what inspired Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin to create them.

On the paper trail

Frogmore Paper Mill in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, is the world's oldest paper mill and the birthplace of paper's industrial revolution.

The mill was in use for paper manufacturing in 1774 and houses a steam powered paper making machine dating back to 1895.

Tours suitable for KS1 to KS4 focus on the production, use and recycling of paper and cover a wide range of curriculum areas including Art and Design. Practical sessions are based around a mill tour followed by workshops such as Arts and Paper Crafts and Packaging Design and Recycling.

Five ways to discover design on land, water and in the air

1. Lakeland Motor Museum: Situated at Bowness on Windermere, Cumbria, this diverse road transport collection spanning 50 years can be used to show how advances in technology have influenced the design of cars and motorcycles.

Children at Frogmore Paper Mill.

Pictured: Children at Frogmore Paper Mill.

2. London Transport Museum: London Moving, an interactive show investigating the science behind London transport past and present is one of the Design and Technology sessions available at the museum in the heart of Covent Garden.

3. National Waterways Museum: Roses and Castles, focusing on the distinctive and traditional decoration of canal boats, is one of the art-based workshops offered by the museum on the banks of the Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

4. RAF Museum Cosford: Making mini helicopters and test flying them is one of the exciting activities available at the Shropshire museum that houses more than 70 aircraft in three wartime hangars.

5. Steam: Pupils can assume the roles George and Robert Stephenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel to learn about the invention of the railways and early locomotion design at the Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon.

School Travel Organiser's Guide