Workshop: Introducing the Crit and Strategies for Interpreting and Talking About Art – For Secondary School Students
This workshop can be tailored to a variety of audiences. Most commonly we run the workshop for 14-16 year olds, 16-18 year olds, and adult learners who are relatively new to contemporary art.
We work with groups to introduce them to the crit and to strategies for talking about and interpreting art. We typically do this using work form museum and gallery collections and exhibitions.
Examples include: Workshops for more than 1,200 14-16 year olds at Tate Modern and Tate Britain as part of The Sorrell Foundation’s National Saturday Art Club programme; Workshops in partnership with The Roche Court Foundation’s ARTiculation Prize for 16-18 year olds at the Whitechapel Gallery, IKON, and Sidney Cooper Gallery Canterbury; British Sign Language supported workshops for adult learners at Shape Gallery London.
“I learned that you can view art- work in many different ways and there are a lot of meanings behind contemporary art. Hearing others speak in a ‘crit’ also helped me view the work from a different perspective.”
“It has given me the confidence to stop and think about exhibitions and paintings and what they might mean, rather than just walk past.”
“It has taught me that your opinion is never wrong and that we all interpret art in a different way depending on our background. It has encouraged me to look at the art more deeply, rather than just walk away if I’m confused.”
“I learned that it is good to start by asking basic questions of a piece and then build up to be more analytical.”
“It opened my eyes to contemporary art and made me see that the sculptures that don’t make sense, actually make sense!”
“I now want to organise and show my own work in a crit.”
“By giving your opinions of art in a group setting you can find and make whole new meanings around a piece.”
“It has helped me see that the decisions that artists make about what materials they use and how they use them can have a big impact on the way we interpret a piece. This is something I am going to think about when I make my own work.”
“I realised that art does not have to be neat and perfect and life like.”
“It has helped me be more creative in my mind-set.”
“It’s important to spend time looking at an artwork and making your own interpretation before you read what it says on the wall.”
“I’m no longer intimidated by the thought of going to an art gallery.”
“I learnt that it’s important it is to distance yourself from the work during a Crit.”
“Public speaking isn’t as scary as I thought!”
“I discovered a new way of looking at an artist’s work and that first impressions of artwork are still valid and often mean a great deal! (Even if it is found that it was not what the artist intended)”
“I enjoyed meeting other students, asking questions and having to express my opinion on a piece of art”
“I liked being able to compare my interpretation of an artist’s work with that of others”
“Since 2014 Q-Art have worked with us on the National Art&Design Saturday Club annual London Visit. This autumn event brings all the members of the Saturday Club together for the first time and is, for many of the 13–16 year old club members, their first trip to London or to a gallery. Q-Art have adapted their crit model in order to encour- age the young people to develop their own critical voice. During visits to Tate Modern and Tate Britain, members of the Q-Art team select works from the permanent collections for the group to talk about, creating a positive and supportive atmos- phere for them to express ideas and opinions. These sessions are always enthusiastically received by the young people and their tutors alike; many participants respond that they had never thought about art in this way before and that they came away with new ideas and greater confidence. Sarah, Jo and the team have estab- lished an exemplary methodology for engaging with people who may not feel confident with modern and con- temporary art, and for documenting and evaluating their process. Q-Art have really enhanced the London Visit and we are delighted to work with them. Their approach and ethos make them a perfect partner for the Saturday Club as we share the belief that all young people, regardless of background, should have the op- portunity to access, explore and enjoy art, design and visual culture.”
— Sorrel Hershberg, Director The Saturday Club Trust and The Sorrell Foundation.
Our workshops are supported by our experienced facilitators and by our research into the crit in our book and video Art Crits: 20 Questions.