Reading School of Art student artists and co-researchers review and recommend the best of free projects available on the internet, from galleries, institutions, artists and creatives.
“Milk Bottle Woolley Mammoth, by Museums Sheffield”, review by Tehya, artist and current Studio 2, BA Art and Film Student
“Ikea Fort instructions” review by Jessica, artist and recent BA Art & English Graduate
“How to make a protest Poster” by Tate Kids, review by Lennox, artist and current Studio 3 BA Art student
“Ashmolean prompts” review by Cerys G, artist and current Studio 2 BA Art and Philosophy Student
“National Gallery of Art & Tate Kids” review by Cerys C, artist and Studio 1 BA Art and Art History Student;
From a first glance at the following gallery websites, (National Gallery Of Art and Tate Kids), It seems that the Tate Modern are killing it with not only the quantity of kids content but also quality. As for the National Gallery Of Art, they have developed an app (NGAkids) that enables kids to take part in various activities. App developing could be something we could explore in the future. They also target a similar age group to ArtLab ranging from 9 to 11 years.
I would like to focus mainly on Tate Kids as I feel they have the most positive attributes to learn from. They have been consistent with uploads of new activities for kids to try, have a variety of activities to choose from and seems to have not only successfully found an effective way of educating children but also to keep them engaged. I investigated a couple activities I thought would be useful to have a look at. The activity ‘Make marbled paper with foam’ is a great hands on activity but I would like to highlight some noteworthy examples. The text and instructions on the page are very simple which goes a long way to reassure children that can complete the activities without having to rely on a parent to explain. I feel this gives the children a sense of independence and achievement in creating something by themselves. Another great aspect of this activity and many other like this on the website is that they have an estimated time for how long the activity should take, which is great for parents who are supervising the activity, whilst not being too restrictive to the child. One point I would like to make is that there isn’t, from what I can see, a safety disclaimer for kids using materials like scissors which would require adult supervision. The use of Gifs in this activity is something I think would be useful to incorporate in the ArtLab project as we’ve mentioned exploring this avenue in a previous meeting. I feel the use of motion through gifs is important for instructions on webpages, as it allows the younger demographic to more clearly understand and interpret the steps. I believe there is potential to use gifs for instructional videos to make it much more engaging for children. Thinking back to when I was a kid, it becomes clear to me how little my attention span would have been for videos and website activities with little visual movement so it’s great that they’re embedding these into the webpage.
Coming back to the educational aspect of these activities, Tate kids include a small section of artist inspiration and a little about the artist which I think is brilliant in introducing art from the adult world.
Another activity I think we can take inspiration from would be the ‘draw a fairy tale’ activity. I feel that it offers kids a great prompt or starting point to trigger their imagination, given that the ‘fairy tale’ concept is universally known and so it would take help the child to create ideas of their own based off of inspirations they are already familiar with. If you access the web address that the activity is on and scroll down towards the bottom, it has a gif that I think would be easy for kids to create on the stop animation app ArtLab recommends in ‘Animate Your Home’. This could be a possible set up for a series of videos we could upload to the ArtLab website where they begin by making simple art first, and further bring it to life through animation, bridging physical art to digital art.
From this, I also had an idea of creating a series in which the children tune into the website weekly, to continue on the journey to making an animation. The whole series could involve creating a whole story, making the characters in the first video, then the props, setting and finally the story line.
‘Colour Walks’ by Tate Kids review by Jennifer, artist and recent BA Art and Psychology graduate
‘Go on a colour walk’ is a great activity to get you engaged with your surroundings and get you moving! You can adjust it depending on how much time you want to spend on it – you can draw, take photos and make a montage of a few objects you see around your room, the house or outside. It’s useful to ask yourself questions like “how does this colour make me feel?”, “what is the function of this object?” and “is this object important to me”? I chose to bring the objects to life by drawing them on paper and cutting them out so I could later animate them as I am interested in video and storytelling. This was really fun as it made me reflect on everyday objects that can go unnoticed and also made me appreciate colour more. For me a combination of Red, Pink, Purple and Blue help improve my mood! So I encourage you to explore and find out what colours make you feel good too.
“Camden Botanical Print” Review by Khadija, recent BA Art and English graduate
‘How to Make a Rainbow Toy Transformer!’ – another review by artist and grad Jennifer
This ‘rainbow toy transformer’ tutorial is a great task to immerse yourself in. You will need coloured sheets of paper, glue and a bit of patience as all of the folding involved gets quite fiddly! When feeling stressed I like to use origami and paper crafts to relax, focus on a task and improve my concentration. When you’re feeling anxious it’s useful to have something fun to distract yourself with and when you complete this paper craft it’s very satisfying knowing that you made it yourself! It also makes for a great gift to let someone know you’re thinking of them and have taken the time to make something by hand.