New Creative Writing Arts Award at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

After being selected to receive MaxLiteracy Award funding, the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery wanted to expand their Arts Award offer and unlock the potential of their art collections as inspiration for a range of creative writing responses.

As an Arts Award provider, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery already supports local schools to complete the Discover level award. ‘Discover in a day’ workshops for Key Stage 2 pupils are tailored to museum exhibitions to provide a stimulus for pupils work and encourage children to learn about the art around them. The day ends with children creating a self-portrait inspired by artist work and techniques.

Photography by Freia Turley

However, after being selected to receive MaxLiteracy Award funding, the museum Learning team were able to co-create resources with teachers from Compass Point School and professional writer, Caleb Parkin, to unlock the potential of the art collections as inspiration for a range of creative writing responses.

Caleb ran a workshop for staff at Compass Point Primary School to ensure that everyone was engaged with the project. He then delivered eight sessions for Year 2 and Year 5 children, both in the school and at the museum, to trial activities and gather pupil feedback. All 18 Year 5 children that took part were able to achieve a ‘Discover ‘Level Arts Award.

These brand new activities for learners are now part of an Arts Award ‘Discover in a day’ workshop called Talking Pictures that is delivered in the art galleries. The activities bring artworks to ‘life’, encouraging closer observation and deepening engagement. Activities are designed to link with the English curriculum by encouraging speaking & listening, introducing new vocabulary and developing presentation skills. To end the day’s activities children perform their writing and became a ‘living gallery’.

Photography by Freia Turley

Compass Point School pupils said this project changed how they felt about poetry and writing: “I didn’t know that much poetry and you can make poetry out of anything”, said one participating pupil.

The MaxLiteracy Award project and subsequent development of a creative writing ‘Discover in a day’ Arts Award has developed closer links between Bristol Museums and Compass Point School.  In pupil feedback, children noted using the museum art gallery as inspiration for writing was their favourite part of the project.

My favourite bit of MaxLiteracy was going to the museum and looking at different styles of paintings.

My favourite part was going to the museum and I really enjoyed being with Caleb and having fun.

The project has also increased the museum Learning team’s knowledge and understanding of how English is taught in primary schools.

After taking part in the project, the Headteacher and staff at Compass Point School have decided that all the KS2 children will achieve an Arts Award by taking part in the ‘Discover in a day’ workshops.

Photography by Freia Turley