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Take One: case study – Leeds Art Gallery

In a project run by Leeds Art Gallery, local primary school teachers used artworks from the gallery and objects from Artemis, the Leeds school loans service.

Deep engagement

Leeds Art Gallery ran training events for teachers to explore the use of objects and artworks for child-centred, cross-curricular activities. The gallery then supported individual teachers with meetings, phone calls and emails.

Teachers introduced their chosen objects to pupils in class then took their groups to the gallery to help them engage deeply with the object or artwork.

Shared approach to learning

Teachers tapped into the interests and curiosity of their pupils to design a project, encouraging a shared approach to learning.

The diverse collections of Leeds Art Gallery and Artemis inspired the teachers and they passed on their excitement to their pupils.

Children investigated objects in a way that the gallery had not witnessed before: teachers and pupils took risks with their learning. The teachers let the children's interests lead the direction of the project work.

What the teachers said

Teacher's insight
Teacher Kathryn Witts on what she learnt from the programme
0 mins 28 secs © Leeds Art Gallery, courtesy of photographer David Lindsay

Kathryn Witts: I've learnt that the art gallery isn’t a scary place. It is open and available to everybody and you can take from it what you want to take from it. It doesn’t have to be pretentious, it doesn’t have to be ‘Who made this?' and 'when they made it’, it can be what the children make of it and what you make of it, because then they get ownership of the art works... of the sculptures, and sometimes that’s more appropriate and more memorable to the children.

Take One brought out a wide range of creative processes in pupils and teachers, who described the project as inspirational.

'I think working with objects or artworks is a fantastic way of engaging all children but it particularly has a good effect on boys who find it difficult to concentrate. Having a stimulus that can be touched, moved, explored, sparks the interest of even the quietest child. A great way to bring drama and imagination into a classroom.'

– Teacher, Southroyd Primary School, West Yorkshire

'What I’ve enjoyed most about the project is seeing all the differences of opinions and how the children approach things – and how that changes as you get older, and the reasons behind it.'

– ITE student, Leeds Metropolitan University, West Yorkshire

Image above: Pupils from St Nicholas Catholic Primary School at Leeds Art Gallery