Secondary School Art Project

(Participants – Glasgow City Archives: Dr Irene O’Brien, Senior Archivist, St Mungo’s Academy, Glasgow: Frank Sheridan, Principal Teacher of Art and Design and S3 students, Scottish Council on Archives: Lesley Dunlop, Education Consultant)

The unit for S3 was devised by Frank Sheridan the Principal Teacher of Art and Design at St Mungo’s Academy in Bridgeton, Glasgow. The S3 class was undertaking a unit which involved free expression and use of media. Students could choose to undertake a piece of work in one of the following genres:

  • still life
  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • built environment
  • figure composition or design

Lesley Dunlop liaised with Dr Irene O’Brien to ensure that appropriate archive records were selected to enable students to complete this task.

The students had a half day visit to the archive. They were given a talk about the work of the archives and why it is so important to the city and they had the opportunity to study the range of archives selected for them. Students were able to do some sketching and note taking and to ask questions about the materials on display. This session was greatly enjoyed by all participants and everyone found something of interest from which to develop their art work.

On their return to school they were able to request copies of the archive material for their final work and to view digital versions on the ‘Virtual Mitchell’. After the visit to the archive all the lessons were delivered during the art timetable by the teacher, who coached in context on the themes decided by individual students. Various ideas emerged in these lessons including:

  • Figurative drawings from the east end photographs of mothers and babies.
  • Sketches of the River Clyde showing the old docks.
  • The faces from the police identity photographs.
  • Designs taken from the City Chambers reproduced on silk scarves. An exhibition of the completed works was mounted in the foyer of the Mitchell Library.

Records Used

  • Ordnance survey maps relating to the area in the 1890s, 1911, 1930s and 1960s.
  • Plans of city buildings and parks.
  • Strathclyde Police identity photographs from 1912.
  • Photographs relating to social conditions and the relief of the poor, showing women working in munitions factories in the east end of Glasgow and interior and exterior shots of deprived and affluent parts of the city.
  • Box of solicitor’s documents, scrolls, seals and red tape from the 18th century.
  • Photographs of the River Clyde, the building of the M8, the Kibble Palace, street scenes of Glasgow showing buildings and traffic at the turn of the last century, and interior and exterior shots of city schools.