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'Diana and Callisto' Schools Project

Can a historical painting enhance understanding of contemporary social issues?

The National Gallery’s groundbreaking 'Diana and Callisto' Schools Project took Titian’s Diana and Callisto painting, its context and the myth it portrays, as a stimulus for a creative intervention project.

The project explored the impact of using Titian’s painting to support teaching of PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic education) in a creative way with outcomes in poetry, art and design.

Working in consultation with the national teenage pregnancy charity Straight Talking and the PSHE Association, the project advised on effective practice when working with young people and dealing with the sensitive issues and themes at the heart of the painting – relationships with peers and unplanned pregnancy.

Watch a film about the project

Teachers and creative practitioners collaboratively planned the implementation of an art, design and poetry project whose focus was education through art – all activities were underpinned by exploration of the social issues that arose from the painting.

Hear about the project from the students and teachers involved, participating staff from Straight Talking and the National Gallery, and the poet Patience Agbabi.

'Diana and Callisto' Schools Project
Hear about this groundbreaking initiative from participants – 11 mins 58 secs

Teaching resources to accompany the use of Titian's 'Diana and Callisto' in PSHE lessons will be published online shortly.

Explore more

The Picture in Focus project employed another Titian painting based on the Diana myth – Diana and Actaeon – as a catalyst for learning.

Find out more about the project and view student work online

Titian's 'Diana and Callisto' inspired other contemporary poets to write their own poems – hear Lavinia Greenlaw and Jo Shapcott reading their poems.

Listen to and read an extract from an early poem about the Diana myth – Ovid's Callisto and Arcas – from his epic poem 'Metamorphoses' translated by Ted Hughes.