13 October 2016

Head of Art attends the Project Zero conference in Washington

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Last week, Mr Charley Openshaw (Head of Art) visited the Project Zero Learning Together, Leading Together Conference in Washington DC. The conference was held at the National Gallery of Art and the Washington International School. 

‘The theme for the conference was slowness, and delegates discussed the value in looking slowly at works of art, poems, primary historical sources, literary texts which all revealed themselves in greater, more memorable richness when considered in depth. Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education took this to further extremes, stressing that the average time visitors spent looking at paintings in the gallery was two seconds each. Harvard fine art freshmen were required, early in the course, to sit in front of a single painting for three hours.

‘The conference provided a valuable opportunity to meet teachers and educators from such diverse contexts to share experience and practice. For example, I discussed approaches to the teaching of IB Visual Arts with a teacher in Washington DC, found common concerns and then just a few minutes later spoke to the principal of a 1600 strong, all-girls school in Chile about how she dealt with the challenges of digital media, whilst her primary concern was the threat of earthquakes.

Such a wealth of new material and ideas will need some digesting and discussion back at Sevenoaks but it has certainly ignited a determination to explore ideas further and to investigate how they might be applicable in our own context.’

Mr Charley Openshaw


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