The first – which took place on 1st July – was attended by teachers from local secondary schools and FE colleges, with representatives from Cathays High School, Merthyr Tydfil College and St David’s Catholic College. Our focus in the workshop was the possible application of the image collection for teaching English literature, although the breadth of the dataset means that the images in the archive will be significant for a wide range of disciplines including history, art, geography and media studies.
The morning session consisted of a demonstration of the archive and its search functionality. The teachers offered us valuable input relating to the usability of the archive and how they might use the images in their own teaching. Suggestions ranged from using material to contextualise the study of Renaissance drama and First World War poetry to examining literary illustrations of fairy tales and Gothic fiction. The educational practitioners also saw considerable potential for using images within the creative writing element of their teaching, which is especially relevant in the FE sector with the new Creative Writing A Level.
After a hearty lunch, we moved on to the afternoon session on image tagging. After an interactive tagging session we had a discussion about how best to engage pupils in the tagging process. There were many valuable suggestions made about modifying the interface, improving links to social media and emphasising the gamificiation aspect which will be of considerable help to us as we move forward with the project. It is clear that there are many mutual benefits to engaging pupils in this kind of technological community participation and there are some exciting possibilities for incorporating this within the Welsh Baccalaureate assessment. In the final roundtable discussion, the teachers offered advice about creating bespoke teaching resources and a discussion forum for teachers as part of the database.
The day provided us with a range of ideas about how to move forward with the Lost Visions project and convinced us that the images in the collection have vast possibility for incorporation within the existing curriculum and exciting potential to promote the study of illustration.