New College Worcester (NCW), Whittington Road, Worcester, WR5 2JX
Head of Department: Mrs Nicola Currie
At NCW it is the belief that everyone can succeed in Art and it is NCW’s role to enable students to realise their creative potential. Tactile or visual learning plays an important part in a holistic education. The creative process is taught through practical projects - from concept and design to making and evaluation. This process is important in art and is also beneficial for a student’s general education. Art is a popular subject at NCW and we work to make lessons informative, creative and fun.
The Art and Design courses at NCW are tailor-made to individual students and designed to accommodate their particular VI. The challenges of the art curriculum for a student with VI can include:
- Difficulty in accessing art, museums and artists
- The visual nature of most of the art curriculum
- Difficulties in researching a topic on the internet
- Limitations in the incidental learning which is acquired through sight
Examples of Adaptations for Visually Impaired Students
- Enabling access to art and artists - direct access to the work of artists is provided through a visiting artist programme. In this scheme professional artists bring in their work for students to handle and explore and they then teach the students specific art skills. Our students have had direct access to the work of professional ceramicists, photographers, print makers and jewellers
- Providing opportunities for both tactile and visual learning with appropriate resources - Course materials have been developed which are 2D, 3D, tactile and print, all adapted to suit the needs of the particular group. For example, for a lesson on the proportions of the head and face students have access to print drawings, swell paper drawings, ‘Yorick’ the skull, ‘Hairy Mary’, a hairdresser’s dummy and ‘Miss Polly’, a polystyrene head
- Assistance with researching a visual topic - Students are given guidance about how to access art resources for themselves to develop their independence skills. This can include advice about helpful websites, the provision of VI friendly topic sheets and one to one support when appropriate
- At Key Stage 3 working with the Drama department - Some of the art courses at NCW are designed with the Drama department so that students can experience a particular topic for themselves. For instance they act out the story of Beowulf whilst also exploring Anglo-Saxon design and pattern, monsters and buildings
- At Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 students decide on their chosen area of study in order to develop their personal interests
Multi-sensory art exhibition revealed of the life and works of Chagall.
A young vision impaired artist, Freya Shaw, has created an accessible multi-sensory art installation that focuses on the life and works of Russian artist Chagall.
The installation, titled ‘The story of Chagall’s Vitesbk - before and after the Holocaust’ was intricately created by using clay, Fimo and paint. It has been designed as a functioning piece of tactile, audio and olfactory art to allow people who are blind or vision impaired to use multiple senses as a means to experience art and to learn.
Inspired by a visit to Poland the piece focuses on the work of artist Marc Chagall and his influences, Jewish religion and brutality endured by the Jewish people in WWII.
The model village of Vitebsk, near where Chagall was raised in the 1800s, features vibrant sculptures of houses, poignant buildings such as a Synagogue and a church, as well as various smaller clay works to represent significant aspects of Jewish culture.
The installation takes those experiencing the piece on a journey through the childhood village using verbal direction, sound, smell, and the idea of ‘taking your fingers for a walk’.
Ms Shaw explains: “I found Chagall’s life particularly interesting, as well as the history of the Holocaust which I learnt more about on a visit to Poland. I feel that Chagall’s surrealist form of painting is something which is difficult to access to someone who is blind or vision impaired, and I wanted to recreate a piece that is accessible.”
The work formed part of Ms Shaw’s A Level work at New College Worcester, a school and college which specialises in teaching young people with vision impairment. Nicola Currie, Head of Art said: “Rarely have I taught such a dedicated and original student. She has brought a succession of extraordinary projects to fruition through her creative talent, determination and hard work.”
Video footage accompanies the installation offering a full audio commentary of the piece. To view this, please click on the following link: The Story of Chagall