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CREAT-e-books

Image credit: Steven Ardley

Programme Context

The John Hansard Gallery is a national portfolio organisation of Arts Council England and is supported by the University of Southampton. From early February to late March 2013, the John Hansard Gallery’s Central off-site space, located in Southampton City Centre, exhibited artist’s photobooks as part of the Photobook Show open submission. The Photobook Show was brought to Southampton by image-maker Kristianne Drake and Southampton Solent University.

Lead Organisation/Project Manager
Managed by the Head of Education, Ronda Gowland-Pryde, the John Hansard Gallery in partnership with image-maker, Kristianne Drake and Southampton Solent University, developed a research and development programme in response to the Artswork - South East Bridge call for projects that would extend digital practice between cultural organisations and schools that enabled young people to create their own digital photobooks. Embedding the Bronze Art Award, the programme aimed to support schools with the new GCSE Photography course, launched in 2010. The lead cluster/Teaching School, Hounsdown, planned to offer GCSE Photography in the 2013/2014 academic year and develop an Arts Award programme for its students. 
 
With extensive experience in the delivery of photographic/digital practice based projects and the Arts Award at all levels from Discover to Gold, the John Hansard Gallery was able to lead and support a high quality digital practice programme that responded to the current needs of schools as they programme the new Photography GCSE.
 
About the Photobook Show                                                                                       
Photobook Show is a Brighton-based arts organisation, set up in 2011 by William Sadowski and Kevin Beck to raise the profile of artist-led photobooks, with particular focus on self-published or hand-crafted works. It aims to hold several exhibitions a year, alongside talks and workshops, to promote the visibility of photobooks. For further information about the Photobook Show and the Southampton E Photobook Show visit: www.photobookshow.co.uk

Project Aims and Objectives
Using the John Hansard Gallery Central offsite space exhibition of specially commissioned artists books from the Photobook Show, brought to Southampton in partnership with Southampton Solent University, managed by image-maker, Kristianne Drake, the programme aimed to:
Trial and develop opportunities for extending photographic digital practice in schools to enhance the delivery of the new photography GCSE which embeds the Bronze Art Award.
By developing these opportunities, the programmes main objectives included;
The trialling and development of a framework for delivering the Photography GCSE with lead Teaching School, Hounsdown School and alliance partner, Wildern School.
Supporting groups of Year 9 students to develop their photographic practice with professional, Arts Award Advisor trained artist-photographers, which embeds the Bronze Art Award.
Enhance young people’s learning about creative digital practice with visits to John Hansard Gallery exhibitions and talks from artists/researchers at the Winchester School of Art Research Centre and Southampton Solent University.
Providing students with an opportunity to create their own digital photographic books (through online photobook resources such as Blurb) and online Arts Award portfolios, (using software tools such as apple i-motion or apps such as Penultimate) which uses schools existing ICT resources.
The creation of a template resource guide for other schools who will be delivering the Photography GCSE and Bronze Art Award using digital practice and online portfolios, thus;
Enabling the schools to provide students with access to the Arts Award more independently and achieve Artsmark status. 
Wider dissemination of the template/resource to the Southampton Schools Art Network.
Legacy provision of group Bronze/Silver Arts Award Advisor Training for lead contact teachers from the school cluster.
 
What Happened
CREAT-e-Books Project ran from mid-January to end of March 2013. The work took place over 2 Academy schools – Hounsdown and Wildern – with Hounsdown being the lead school on the project. Young people who participated on the project volunteered to take part and were Year 9’s.
 
Throughout the project, elements of both GCSE Photography and Bronze Arts Award was embedded into the delivery to both support the schools in developing their own courses and support the students in developing their technical, research and creative abilities. 
 
The key practical objective was to develop teaching and learning skills using electronic delivery throughout – and this was done through digital photography sessions using Canon DSLR cameras in a full manual mode, creating blogs which the students used in the same way they might use a workbook to collect and collate material and finally through the production of a self-publish on demand electronic book using the Blurb program.
 
Students working with DSLR cameras during a practical session/visit to John Hansard Gallery Central

The sessions followed a scheme of work, which included practical and theoretical delivery to the students. There were also tasks set for the students to complete. The sessions were also supported by gallery visits, which were considered as a vital part of the programme to enhance students understanding of current digital practice in contemporary art.
 
The first visit was to the John Hansard Gallery Central where the students were able to view and interact with all the work in The Photobook Show – they had time to view the books as well as a talk about how and why the show was there and some of the work in the show. They then spent time discussing the works and how Photobooks relate to art in general. 
 
Students exploring the E-Book Show at John Hansard Gallery Central with Kristianne Drake

The second visit was to the main John Hansard Gallery site where three sessions were delivered. Firstly they were taken round the exhibition by the head of Education Ronda Gowland Pryde and asked to participate in discussions with Dr. Victoria Walters from the Winchester School of Art Research Centre, whilst collecting information for a review they were going to write. Then they had a talk from 3 students who study BA (Hons) Photography at Southampton Solent University and who had also had their work shown in The Photobook Show. Finally, a practical book making session, which was led by another Southampton Solent University student, finished off the day. 
 
There were also sessions on how to use basic Photoshop, setting up and creating an online blog and how to make a book on Blurb - click here.
 
The lead school for the project was Hounsdown School and Wildern School also participated in the creation of electronic Blurb books after 2 sessions on camera use with research for the students to use to support their ideas. The Hounsdown group had 16 students all of whom were year 9 students who were taken out of regular classes to participate in the project. The Wildern students were year 9 GCSE Photography students and were taught during their curriculum time for this subject (approximately 32). Sessions were supported by the use of equipment from Southampton Solent University. 
 
Programme Stages/Summary Timeline 
  • Programme Consultation with the school cluster and young people (14th January – 11th February 2013)
  • Delivery and project reflection/De-brief (15th February – 27th March 2013)
  • Resource/template creation (by Easter, 29th March 2013)
  • Online launch of CREAT-e-Books teacher resources and participant e-books/portfolios (by 23rd April 2013) to view via www.hansardgallery.org.uk
  • Project evaluation and dissemination to the Art Network (by end of April 2013)
  • Legacy Provision of Arts Award training for teaching school leads (by end of  April 2013)
     
Feedback
Student Questionnaire Summary:
Feedback from students about their participation on the CREAT-e-Books programme was very positive. The following provides a summary of this feedback from the questionnaires:
 
1) When asked whether they felt that the project has helped to develop skills in photography; 90% agreed with 10% strongly agreeing.
2) When asked whether students had ever made an online blog before; 1% had whilst 99% had not.
3) 100% of the students have never made a photobook using Blurb or any other similar software before this project.
4) 99% agreed that the skills they had learnt during the project will help them with their other subjects. Subjects identified were (according to rank); ICT, Art, Media, English, Photography, Graphics, Geography, Textiles, Food Science, P.E and Citizenship.
5) 40% had never visited a gallery before the project, whilst 60% had.
6) 99% had never visited the John Hansard Gallery before.
7) 98% thought that the project gallery visits were valuable.
8) 100% agreed that they would like to take part in another project like this again if given an opportunity to do so.
 
Qualitative Feedback
Teacher Comments:
“Brilliant is the word…the critical and contextual discussions during the visit were excellent.  Two of the children have loaned the DSLR’s cameras for the weekend. I think we are really challenging and nurturing something special. Kristianne, you are a natural.”
Gayle Jones, Head of Art, Hounsdown School.
 
Student Comments:
"Kristianne came in and taught us how to use cameras. She taught us about the different features the camera has such as the shutter speed. She also told us about the pinhole camera, and then we had to go on a scavenger hunt and find pictures off a list. We went to the John Hansard Gallery where the art was all about changing things and how things evolve such as plant cells. My favourite part was the Ranchu fish like the one where they were being projected into a bowl but there was actually real water, it just didn't make sense and that’s why I liked it. It also made me question what art was but I guess art's what you want it to be."
Hafsa
 
"The John Hansard University exhibition was very different and unique. It has an alien space like feel to it. There was different art everywhere, the gallery was very creative."
Ben B
 
"We learnt how to use DSLR cameras and how to change light and movement. I learnt how to make an E-Book. We used Goole Blogger at the start, then we used Blurb."
Christy
 
"The introduction to the cameras was good because I got to use a DSLR camera and know how to change the speed on taking pictures. The John Hansard Gallery was different because it was on observation from books. The books were all different. Using Blogger is a new thing, I think it is really clever in the way you use it. Also E-Book is really clever because you make your own books then you can print them. I have learnt that art can be shown in different ways or form." Aaron
 
"We have learnt how to use PhotoShop to link two pictures together." 
Dylan
 
"I got inspiration for my e-book by looking at the ones in the gallery. It was good to get new ideas."
Rawnie
 
Conclusion: taking digital practice, knowledge and understanding forward
The programme benefited both the cultural organisations and schools, by enabling young people to create their own digital artist books and portfolios through the medium of photography. Since the introduction of Photography GCSE as a stand-alone subject in 2010, schools have begun to programme Photography GCSE courses which consist of two units whereby students must create personal portfolios; respond to an externally set assignment/project brief (based on local cultural provision/exhibitions) and sit an exam paper that asks them to demonstrate their practical and theoretical knowledge of photography (both digital and 35mm).
 
With support from the John Hansard Gallery (which has a heritage of photographic and digital/media exhibitions), HEI providers with Photography courses and an experienced photographic specialist artist-educator/s, this programme was able to enhance and take digital practice forward at a practical level. Based on the real need of schools, the programme supported teacher’s and students’ understanding of digital practice. By creating a resource for others to use through the development of this high quality programme for young people, it is envisaged that this will help support others who wish to access GCSE photography and/or develop their photography through the Arts Award creating online photobooks and portfolios.
 
Click here for a link to the books created by Hounsdown School
Click here for a link to the books created by Wildern School