Case Studies

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Key Stage 1 and 2 (ages 6 and 10)

An innovative pilot project with Compass Point Primary School and Creative Writer Caleb Parkin, through which students were able to bring the collection to life as talking pictures, exploring how to develop legacy boxes for all primary school children in the area.

  • Developed closer links between Bristol Museums, local teachers and schools
  • Created and piloted literacy activities suitable for a range of abilities
  • Provided loan boxes of objects together with ideas for literacy activities that schools can use visiting art galleries and in their classroom
  • Increased Bristol Museums’ Formal Learning team’s knowledge and understanding of how literacy is taught in schools

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery has displays of natural history, geology, archaeology, European Old Master paintings, British and European Art, Eastern Art and the Bristol School of Artists. There is also a programme of changing temporary exhibitions.

95% of all Bristol schools have visited one of Bristol Museums, or participated in museum-led activities, at least once in the past 3 years.   Bristol City Council runs a reading recovery programme called Every Child a Reader (ECaR) to improve levels of literacy across Bristol.

Project Delivery

Caleb Parkin (Creative Writer) ran a workshop for staff at Compass Point Primary School to ensure they engaged with the project.  Caleb then delivered eight sessions with classes, both in the school and at the museum. The sessions focused on engaging the children by using words in different ways to create a poem.  They used a variety of materials and books to find the start and end of sentences. The Creative Writer called this ‘metaphoraging’. This approach took pressure off the children, as they were able to draw upon pre-written text.   Pupils chose an ‘expert’ name for themselves. In one of the activities called ‘ten line growing poem’ the children produced a poem starting with one word on a line, then two, then three and so on.   In the final performance the children held up picture frames to perform their poems and became a ‘living gallery.’ The frames helped them to act a role – that of a painting or their named expert.

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Venue Lead
Jane Hack, Senior Officer – Formal Learning, Bristol Museums
Creative Writer
Caleb Parkin
Victoria Skuce, Compass Point Primary School
School Lead
Victoria Skuce
45, Year 2 and Year 5 classes (some SEND)
  • cascade
  • confidence building
  • loan boxes

Resource produced

Talking Pictures

Downloadable PDF

Talking Pictures offers a step-by-step guide of how to create poems, together with curriculum links, for any teachers visiting an art gallery.

Lightbulb Moment

Becoming the Gallery: students enacting and performing their curatorial/expert selves through the frame of living art works.

Explore more ideas in the resources

Explore other case studies

Kettle’s Yard

Key Stage 1 and 2 (ages 5 – 11)

Maritime artworks and a unique domestic collection inspire year 3 pupils to create messages in bottles and lead family tours. Long term partnerships benefit the whole community.

  • developing vocabulary
  • EAL
  • writing for audience

Leeds Art Gallery

Key Stage 1 and 2 (ages 5 – 11)

An original painting, On the Move by Jack Butler Yeats, is loaned to a local primary school where it stimulates ideas for colour, poetry, music and public performance.

  • art on loan
  • families
  • poetry

Attenborough Arts Centre

SEN (ages 7 - 16)

A pioneering project supporting non-verbal students with profound learning difficulties from Ashmount School, to experience new language and produce visual poetry with creative writer John (Owen) Berkavitch.

  • developing vocabulary
  • non-verbal

Looking for funding?

The MaxLiteracy Awards 2023-24 are now open for applications. Deadline: 10am, Friday 30 June 2023

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