Session 9: Visit to Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery

The Northampton University art specialism students visited the Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery yesterday to explore the works of artists Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and Tala Madani.

Throughout the day they engaged in workshops with the artist Sian Watson and had a tour of the exhibition with artist Simon Raven.

The aims of the visit were:

  • To allow the students to work with an artist to interpret work in an exhibition, increasing understanding of how you can interpret contemporary art with children from the Early Years to KS3
  • To allow students the opportunity to Interpret the roles and practices of artists from different times and cultures and recognise their contribution within the wider context of art education
  • To Identify and review a range of artistic skills in educational application by exploring how the gallery runs educational workshops

The day was full of intrigue, excitement and controversy. Marvin Gaye Chetwynds ‘Cousin It’ interacted with the students in a new language and raised questions about the art of interpretation and imaginative language… It was also interesting watching viewers responses to the unusual interaction in the gallery space.

Many questions were raised by the students about how to engage children with gallery work, which works are appropriate to view with which age group of children and how to find ways in to contemporary art with children without losing the meaning behind the work.

Sian Watson brought the exhibition alive for the students and raised some interesting teaching ideas for use in the classroom- view the art education ideas page for these suggestions.

The students themselves have selected a work from the gallery to focus the development of their own classroom idea on and I look forward to the students sharing these on this blog.

An important outcome from the visit was the shared ethos that ‘Everyone is correct in their opinion’ when engaging in contemporary art. Therefore when engaging in art in or out of the classroom we must establish an environment where all views can be shared and debated.




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