LONDON - 18 April 2008 - Bridgeman Education, one of the UK's leading online resources for academic tutors and their students, has launched an online gallery that will enable teachers and lecturers to discuss sometimes sensitive or taboo subjects through fine art images and photography. The gallery - accessible at www.bridgemaneducation.com - brings together hundreds of pre-selected images across 12 key topic areas including tolerance and intolerance, despair and environmental awareness. For the first time, this provides teachers and lecturers with an easy-to-use tool to open up debate while supporting core curriculum subjects such as English, History and Politics - as well as the newly created citizenship subject in schools.
A free one month trial of the subscription service, including the Conceptual Gallery, is available to teachers and lecturers through the Bridgeman Education website.
John Nutt was Education Consultant on the project, bringing over 30 years' experience in teaching and teacher training. He said: "There is a widespread assumption in ICT training that if resources are digital they are invariably good. This isn't always the case. Good teachers are far more important than the means of delivering the curriculum. They educate by putting their values first and their students identify with these values. They do not need spoon feeding by a surfeit of digital resource providers.
"What they do need is access to mountains of images and stimulating supportive materials to use as they require in support of their own values and enthusiasms. Bridgeman is providing exactly this, carefully structured access to huge amounts of the very best kinds of educational materials drawn from galleries all over the world," John Nutt continued.
Harriet Bridgeman, Bridgeman Education's Chairman, commented: "How does a teacher working with the newly created citizenship curriculum begin talking about ideas such as honesty, deception, authority and power? These are all quite abstract ideas, but can be made real and brought to life through a message drawn from a work of art, or an illustration. A painting or historical image has the ability to convey a tricky message or indeed society's taboo subjects which might be too harsh using mainstream photography with everyday subjects."
"The launch of the Conceptual Image Gallery is particularly timely following the recent news that every child will be expected to take part in five hours of cultural activities each week, as outlined in the Government's plan announced in February. This needn't mean that teachers have to completely rethink their lesson plans or squeeze extra activities into the week - art can be used as a springboard to teach core curriculum subjects. One of our discs, for example, focuses on 'strength' and includes images ranging from old fashioned strongmen and comic book characters to labourers and Greek Gods. As well as supporting themes in history, mythology and politics, the images could help pupils with their story telling and writing in English." Harriet Bridgeman added.
A key factor of the site is the cross-curricular nature of the material - which is easy to browse and is enriched by useful keywords. A picture of suffragettes could, for example, teach a student about discrimination and equality so they could then understand how this relates to other types of discrimination such as slavery or racism. It can also teach about British social history, politics, women's studies, Edwardian costume, the history of photography and journalism and also the history of advertising by studying the way the suffragettes promoted themselves and gained recognition and support.
The launch of the Conceptual Gallery follows the recent launch of Project SILVER, a major £1.9 million project to develop the next generation of digital learning software for schools, Further and Higher Education establishments and businesses. Under the project, which is part-funded by the government’s Technology Strategy Board, Bridgeman Education joined forces with the Open University's Knowledge Media Institute and education technology product provider Lexara Ltd, in a bid to improve learning at all levels of education and in the corporate sector. Together, the organisations are developing a powerful and unique learning solution that builds on Web 2.0 and Artificial Intelligence technologies to allow teachers and trainers to collect, organise, experiment and interact with multimedia assets.
Current categories for the Conceptual Gallery are:
*All images on the Conceptual Gallery are low resolution scanned for educational use by subscribers but are available to commercial organisations for reproduction prior to clearance through Bridgeman.
Note to Editors:
View images at http://www.uploadlibrary.com/bridgeman/conceptual.htm
Bridgeman Education is an online resource for academic tutors and their students, providing special access to the museums the Bridgeman Art Library represents around the world.
This is a subscription service, designed to stimulate and boost e-learning. Slideshow tools offer a unique and flexible way to search, display and save selections from this vast database. The images are copyright cleared for educational use for enrolled staff and students within the institution. www.bridgemaneducation.com
About The Bridgeman Art Library (BAL)
Established for 35 years and with four international offices, The Bridgeman Art Library is the world's leading source of fine art, history and culture with some 300,000 images available on-line, plus 750,000 historical photographs, from 8000 locations. It represents museums, galleries and artists throughout the world by providing a central source of fine art for image users.
BAL also develops educational resource packages, publishes art catalogues, offers copyright advice, licenses reproduction rights and provides sales services. The organisation has a long history of feeding monies back into museums, with figures of up to £1.5 million per year.
For more information, please visit www.bridgemanart.com
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