|Participants in BP Portrait Award: Next Generation Taster Sessions, July 2012 |
Photograph Othello De’Souza-Hartley © National Portrait Gallery
BP is a premier partner of the London 2012 Olympics. One of the Museum activities associated with the London 2012 Festival - part of the Cultural Olympiad - is the National Portrait Gallery's BP Portrait Award Next Generation programme which is about:
- bringing together leading artists with young people
- widening the horizons of young people
- enabling them to participate in learning about making art
- encouraging them to draw and paint portraits
- inspiring a permanent artistic legacy.
The Next Generation is a project run by the National Portrait Gallery which is all about inspiring 14-19-year-olds (aka "The Next Generation") about portraiture. It provides different opportunities for teenagers to meet with and gain insights from past BP Portrait Award artists and to share their own artwork.A Next Generation Taster Session
I recently attended a BP Portrait Award: Next Generation Taster Session at the NPG and this post is a report on what happened.
The aims of the Taster Session are to
- Achieve engagement and participation - nobody learns unless they're interested!
- Try out a range of portrait techniques in the Gallery spaces and develop an understanding that there's more than one way to record a figure and make a portrait
- Meet artists who have had work in the BP Portrait Exhibition
For those who followed the debate on my Facebook page following the last blog post (prior to comments by a certain indiviudal being deleted by me), here are the answers to what actually happens. As I very much suspected, it's very wrong to criticise the guidance offered by the NPG and/or to assume that it's always appropriate that young people follow a traditional atelier approach and are taught how to draw a face in conventional terms!
The reason for this is that these are young people who are interested in art - but they have very different experiences in relation to portraiture. From what I could see a fair number of the young people had little prior instruction in drawing a head. Any session therefore has to be geared to involving everybody - whatever their experience or skill level - and to generate engagement and participation within a three hour time slot which in turn is likely to promote future engagement.
In this post I'm including some of the comments from the young people on the feedback forms which they complete at the end of the session. From these you can deduce the value of the Taster Session from their perspective.
‘I found it really useful and it helped me have an insight into the artworld. I hope to go to artschool and this has broadened my experience of art’The structure of the taster session
Participant in Next Generation Taster Session, 2012
I'm going to describe the way in which the 3.5 hours were structured - but first a comment on how well the young people engaged with the sessions.