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Mougins School

The Learning Curve

Exploring Art Beyond the Classroom - The Enriching Experience of School Trips
  • Secondary Matters
Sarah Kench

Recently, the Year 12 art students traveled the short distance to the beautiful Mougins Old Village, where artists’ studios are tucked away in cobbled streets and galleries and museums give us access to art and culture in many forms. 

The Centre Photographie Mougins Experience

Our trip took us to the Centre Photographie Mougins, to see the exhibition Point Sublime by Anna Niskanen. Niskanen is an artist who recently completed an art residency at the gallery, making work specifically for this exhibition, inspired by the landscapes of the Côte d’Azur. Niskanen uses Cyanotype as her media of choice, a process students have experimented with themselves during art lessons.

Real-world Engagement: Benefits of Gallery Visits for Art Students

The exam board Edexcel and other established art education organisations emphasise the importance of art students visiting galleries and exhibitions in person. The rationale behind this recommendation aligns with broader educational goals and the belief in the unique benefits that real-life experiences offer to students studying art.

Exploring Art Beyond the Classroom - The Enriching Experience of School Trips

We were lucky to be guided around the exhibition by Sinem Bostanci, the gallery’s outreach worker, and as a result of her knowledge and the many questions we had, we all acquired a deeper understanding of the artist's intent and process.

It was such a joy to step outside the classroom and see the students apply what they have learnt in class to this new context; confidently discussing the work in analytical and thoughtful ways. As we looked at the artist's sketchbook and discussed her process and approach to her work, it became clear to the students that what they are doing in lessons; research, experimentation, refining and developing, mirrored exactly what this artist was doing.

It was clear how valuable it is to experience art first hand and in person and how the creative atmosphere of a gallery is motivating and inspiring for students. The students were able to engage with the physicality, scale, and texture of the artworks, deepening their understanding and appreciation of Niskanen’s work.

The Importance of Curated Settings

Observing the artwork in a curated setting also provided the context that is often missing in a classroom or when viewing on-screen representations. The students were so curious and asked many questions regarding the curatorial process, discussing how artistic choices, placement, lighting and sequencing all contributed to the overall impact of the work.

“We had a lovely tour guide and experienced beautiful art made by an artist that focuses purely on Cyanotypes. All the art was gorgeous and learning about how she created all the different techniques was fascinating. It really inspired me for my future art making!” Grace.

Overall, the holistic impact of trips such as this is broad and far reaching and with more Art trips coming up in April, and the approaching ‘journey’ expeditions, I am excited for our students that they have these valuable experiences coming their way. I hope you agree that these excursions not only bring art and the world to life but also enrich the broader learning journey of our students.

Sarah Kench,
Art and Design Teacher, Key Stage 4 Lead 

  • Secondary