Case Studies

The Whitworth

Key stage 4 (ages 13 - 14)

Raising self-esteem and building young people’s resilience, The Whitworth worked in partnership with Trinity Church of England High School and creative writer Johnny Woodhams, to increase levels of literacy across all subject areas.

  • Encouraged young people to participate in open discussion. A toolkit was provided for pupils to find their voice and speak out
  • Further developed literacy in terms of fluency in imagination and creativity
  • Inspired by visual art, pupils developed literacy, making the link between enhanced literacy when using visual stimulus
  • Raised awareness of mental health literacy and the negative perceptions associated with mental health
  • Co-created a digital and physical resource which can be used by other schools and gallery educators

Creative Writer, Johnny Woodhams, delivered sessions covering different aspects of the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, encouraging expression and thinking in relation to thoughts and feelings.  Pupils learned about the artists in the Collection, as well as their lived experience and what led them to their practice.

Each session linked to one of the Outsider artists and their work, especially those who were considered particularly relevant to the project and pupils interests. The pupils worked with different materials and techniques, such as wrapping wool, sewing or collage.  They added words to the visual work.

Gallery staff developed a number of questionnaires, covering a cross section of emotional and mental well-being and health.  They wanted the work to fit in with the national curriculum, covering areas such as Citizenship, Art and Design and English.

The Whitworth is committed to the concept of the ‘useful museum’ with a civic agenda to promote art as a tool for impacting on the world. The gallery holds the largest public collection of Outsider Art in the UK, the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art collection.

The Whitworth
The Whitworth
Venue Lead
Denise Bowler, Secondary and FE Coordinator
Creative Writer
Johnny Woodhams
Trinity Church of England High School
School Lead
Victoria Ribbons
30, Year 9 pupils, aged 13 - 14
  • mental health

Resource produced

Stories from the Inside Out

Downloadable PDF

The Stories from the Inside Out pdf resource introduces users to the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, along with pupil responses to the artwork and ‘top tips’.

Lightbulb Moment

Students connecting with ‘Outsider Artists’ through creative writing and visual art in order to better understand and express their mental and health and wellbeing.

Explore more ideas in the resources

Explore other case studies

Manchester Art Gallery

Key Stages 3 & 4 (ages 11 – 16)

A historic painting acts as the visual stimulus to help secondary pupils develop confidence in meeting the challenges of the new English GCSE.

  • art literacy
  • GCSE
  • National curriculum

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Key Stage 3 (ages 11 – 14)

A major exhibition is the stimulus for bookmaking, guided writing, printing and random poetry, and an alternative audio guide for the venue is voiced by year 7 students.

  • exhibition
  • mixed ability
  • visual impairment

York Art Gallery

Key Stage 3 (ages 11 – 14)

An evocative statue of a bleeding young boy is the starting point for year 9 students to explore storytelling, poetry and playwriting through drama and wordplay.

  • creative literacy
  • empathy
  • five senses
  • role play

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