Art History Link-Up: Art History for Everyone
Free fast-track AS History of Art courses for state school students taught on Saturdays in a condensed format of 2.5 hours per week, with courses based at The Wallace Collection and at The National Gallery, and using collections at other London museums and galleries.
All places are offered at no charge to state maintained sector sixth form students, with priority to candidates from a widening participation background, and to those with aptitude and ability for the course.
This programme from Art History Link-Up aims to reach more state school students with a fast-track Art History AS level that offers all the benefits of the subject combined with first-hand experience of the art being studied. Seventeen students enrolled on the 2016-17 course at The Wallace Collection which was over-subscribed, with a waiting list, and the majority of students were from 'widening participation' backgrounds. We were again significantly oversubscribed for 2017-18 and currently have 33 registered students, from 25 different state maintained sector schools, and from a diverse range of backgrounds. This academic year Art History Link-Up is offering two separate fast-track courses, one based at The Wallace Collection on term-time Saturday mornings, and the other at The National Gallery on term-time Saturday afternoons.
How the scheme works
Art History for Everyone builds on two years’ experience of a fast-track AS level scheme offered by the Association for Art History (AAH) between 2014 to 2016 and run by Rose Aidin; since 2016 the scheme has been run independently by Art History Link-Up, a registered charity, no. 1172792. The course followed is AQA History of Art. Exam entry and study materials are provided, and students also offered a weekly homework club, with snacks and individual support, run by former Camden School for Girls A level Art History students Tilly Scantlebury and Jack Dunleavy.
From September to May, students from a range of state schools study AS Art History for two and half hours each term-time Saturday. Students also visit other major collections throughout the year to learn from works of art at first hand with study visits last year hosted, for example, by The National Gallery, The Wallace Collection, The British Museum, The Victoria & Albert Museum, and The Courtauld Institute of Art in addition to an architectural walking tour of the University of London area. Last year students were given sessions on essay writing, on university application and arts career choices from colleagues from the Courtauld, and from Cambridge University's and Birkbeck University of London's Art History departments. All students who completed the 2016-17 course were offered relevant work experience placements.
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Teaching and Management
Rose Aidin is a skilled and experienced teacher of History of Art and Art in both the independent and state maintained sectors, and runs the arts education consultancy, Art History Link. Her leadership of the new independent scheme ensures continuity with the previous AAH (Association for Art History) scheme. A steering group of arts and charity professionals, artists and teachers is working with Rose to oversee the project and she also is supported by teaching assistants. As Education Officer at the AAH from 2014 to 2016, Rose piloted and developed the outreach scheme, coordinated a network of colleagues working to widen participation in Art History, and project-managed the publication of the first Art History A level textbook, Thinking About Art. Rose currently teaches Art History at James Allen's Girls' School. Prior to becoming an Art History teacher, Rose worked for more than ten years as an arts broadsheet journalist and feature writer.
Pontus Rosén, Chief Executive of the Association for Art History, says: “I am very happy that our programme of outreach classes will have such a direct and immediate positive outcome: I wish Art History Link-Up great success”.
Why offer state school students free AS History of Art?
- Only eight state schools in the country currently offer History of Art A level yet the creative industries alone generate £10 each minute for the UK. Access to the arts should be available and open to all. This scheme offers students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to gain familiarity with and to learn first hand from works of art in our great public collections.
- This scheme offers access to the arts, cross-curricular connections, and enhanced skills and career opportunities to a wider range of students who, as a result of cuts to arts provision in the state maintained educational sector, may not currently have these opportunities.
- Students benefit from an additional AS level and so enhanced Further/Higher Education applications.
- As a result of taking the course, students often choose to pursue the subject at university and/or a career in the arts, so keeping the subject and sector alive, diverse and vibrant: many of our outreach students go on to study Art History or related subjects at FE/HE as a result of the course and are considering careers in the sector.
Benefits for students
2015 results: 100% pass - 27% A, 65% A-B, 73% A-C
2016 results: 100% pass - 31% A, 62% A-B, 87% A-C
In 2016, 13% of papers were awarded full marks.
"Our students gained so many transferable skills, and knowledge, which fed into their other subjects…And that it is an accredited course, so students gain extra UCAS points, is really helpful for their FE/HE applications…The impact of the scheme at our school demonstrates the appetite for the subject plus the benefits of studying Art History for state students.” Birte Meyer, i/c Sixth Art, St Marylebone CE School, former outreach scheme host and current partner school
- An additional AS qualification, UCAS points and strengthened FE/HE applications
- Career development and CV building opportunities: studying Art History can lead to a wide range of exciting and varied careers, including the media and legal profession.
- New analytical and communication skills with cross-curricular benefits
- Access to, familiarity with and understanding of great works of art in the capital’s great public collections
- Relevance and application for Art & Design students, at A level and beyond, and a wide range of other subjects
- Access to, familiarity with and understanding of, great works of art in the capital’s public collections
Read what our students say below…
“The course is a great use of Saturday mornings and a way to get out and learn throughout London’s galleries.. The course has helped me with all my other subjects and has opened my eyes to the skills and complexity involved in art and architecture: I now see the world in a different way”
“Art History, and the course, was not like I expected it to be, it was so much fun, so interactive with the real works of art we study, the opportunities that it has presented me with, and the atmosphere of the classes and the extraordinary people I have met."
“Some of the best things about the course were getting to see actual paintings and other works of art in the flesh; always being supported and getting really good information; special things that we get because we don’t do it in school e.g. the architectural walking tour, people coming in to help us, homework club, food!”
"Thank you for much for all your help and teaching over the year. I hope we've made you proud with our results! I am now considering History of Art and Design at university - I probably wasn't going to apply before - and am also looking in relevant apprenticeship opportunities. Thank you again for helping me get such a great grade, my mum is over the moon!"
"Via the outreach scheme, I have learnt how to look at and analyse things (not just paintings and sculptures) in a whole new way. It’s shameful that only eight state schools in the whole of Britain get the chance to learn History of Art. I have countless mates who, when seeing what I am doing for Art History, are surprised and wish they could have chosen it too. I have loved studying History of Art this year and am so pleased with my exam results! I will definitely use all I've learnt in many ways in the future...”
Art History for Everyone and Art History Link-Up have been featured in a range of publications and media including The Burlington Magazine (Helen Oakden, January 2017), Country Life (8.11.16), The Times (Alice Thomson, 19.10.16), Apollo (Ben Street,15.10.16), Art History News (Bendor Grosvenor, 17.10.16 and 12.9.16), and referenced several times in the House of Lords debate on 3.11.16 on the future of creative subjects at A level.
Art History for Everyone scheme is managed by Art History Link-Up: we are currently fundraising to further develop this scheme and for other charitable purposes. Funding for the scheme has come from a wide range of sources, thanks to the generosity of individual donors listed below, and to grant-giving organisations, with especial thanks to The Rothschild Foundation and The Band Trust. We could not be more grateful to The Wallace Collection and to The National Gallery for their support and for hosting the scheme. Each and every contribution is valued, as is support in terms of advocacy and profile-raising: please contact us to find out how you can contribute and how to be further involved, or visit our funding portal, http://easydonate.org/AHLU001. Please see here for an update for supporters about our first year of Art History for Everyone at The Wallace Collection in 2016-17.
Art History Link-Up is a registered charity, no. 1172792, and needs to raise funds for this and other charitable purposes. A full budget for Art History for Everyone is available on request.
Founder donors to Art History for Everyone at The Wallace Collection in 2016-17 include:
· Sofia and Jon Abando
· Susan Adams
· Beatrice Aidin
· Michael and Janet Aidin
· Christopher Benjamin
· Emilia Benjamin
· Professor Craig Clunas
· Dr Nicolette David
· Dr Beth Harris and Dr Steven Zucker of Smarthistory
· Pauline and John Howells
· Dr Judith Jammers
· Florence and Adam Larson
· Henrietta and Grace Larson
· Helen Little
· Birte Meyer
· Lynn MacRitchie
· Quentin Newark
· Regent's Park Decorative and Fine Arts Society
· The Rothschild Foundation
· The Hon. Hannah Rothschild
· Millie Stone
· Flora Taylor
· Sophia Tennant
· Fiona Walsh
And others who prefer to remain anonymous