Last week, it was my pleasure to begin working with the CCS Bard Hessel Museum at Bard College to initiate a three-part workshop series for teachers titled, Teaching and Learning with Contemporary Art. We got off to a fantastic start, beginning with some wonderful discussion about what contemporary art is (and can be), as well as the roles contemporary artists play, the skills they possess, and the roles viewers play interacting with today’s art. We then moved into how teachers can utilize film in the classroom meaningfully, incorporating the Art21 Educator’s Guide and Janine Antoni’s segment from Season 2 as an example. Teachers had a chance to participate in discussions that demonstrated how to build pre- and post-viewing questions into their lessons, as well as how active viewing (vs. passive watching) plays a part in successfully integrating film.
After a short break, we then had the opportunity to transition into the museum and actually work with one of the objects in the Antoni segment, Saddle. Participants were able to juxtapose how their reaction to the work on film was different to their reaction in person. Sitting around the sculpture and taking the time to not just look, but really see it from a variety of perspectives and hear different viewpoints led to a deeper understanding of the work. Before returning to the classroom where our workshop started, we engaged in a partnered activity and discussion, focusing on ways to actively involve students in meaningful conversation during gallery and museum visits.
Over the next two months, teachers will continue to be engaged in specific workshops focusing on ways to explore contemporary art, strategies for utilizing web and video content in the classroom, and options for creating content-driven curricula that addresses big ideas and themes.
Stay tuned for further reports on this exciting series!