A view of the Fountain Court at Somerset House. Children are playing in the fountains on a blue sunny day.

Free workshops (16-18)

Are you aged 16-18 and passionate about art and art history?

Our young people’s programme invites students to take part in a free series of innovative practical art history workshops.

Led by professional artists, curators, and art historians, these online sessions take inspiration from the world-famous Courtauld Gallery Collection, uncovering new research, working with new materials and discussing different approaches to understanding and making art.

These workshops are free and open to students attending state schools and colleges across the UK. Participants will:

  • Collaborate with artists, art historians and curators to explore the importance of art history and creative practice
  • Gain exciting insights into artworks in The Courtauld Gallery Collection
  • Learn more about the diverse career paths available with art history
  • Meet other young people interested in art, architecture and art history

Booking is essential due to popular demand.

#Courtauldcreate @Courtauld

Our workshops will start again in September 2021.

Please register your interest and we will contact you with details as soon as they are available.

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Learning Resources

We have short Focus resources which look in detail at single artworks along with more in depth resources to help you plan and deliver exciting projects...

Is it possible to only show the young people's workshops available via this What's On listing section?

What’s on

Recent workshops

An overview of recent workshop themes can be found below. If you are a teacher interested in us running a similar workshop for your students, please get in touch.

View recent workshop themes

i Ukiyo-e prints. Detail from the manuscript Avant et après by Paul Gauguin. © The Courtauld.

Recent workshop themes [alternative layout]

Art and Queer Theory

How can queer artists ‘queer’ the canon of art history?

This workshop was led by Courtauld PhD student Tilly Scantlebury and explored gender and sexuality through art. Participants discussed the photography of Catherine Opie, looking at her arresting portraits that put traditionally marginalised queer subjects on bold display. We also considered the practice of Mickalene Thomas, whose multi-media large scale paintings rethink traditional art historical representation from a black, feminist and queer perspective.

Van Gogh: Exploring Self

What is a self-portrait? How do artists reveal their identity through self-portraiture?

Led by art historian Helen Higgins, curator Karen Serres, and artist Alexandra Blum, this workshop aims to define what we mean by a ‘self-portrait’ through lively group discussion and a practical drawing workshop.

Experiment with Vincent van Gogh’s sophisticated mark-making in his famous Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889) and use other unusual artworks in The Courtauld Collection as inspiration to create your own self-portrait.

Art and Feminism

How can art history help us to think through questions of gender, subjectivity and ideas about ‘greatness’?

Led by Courtauld PhD student Tilly Scantlebury, this workshop explores modern and contemporary artworks in a variety of mediums and consider how feminist art history helps us to not only examine the artworks themselves, but also question the world and our place in it.

Through lively group discussion students will discover how artists use their medium to challenge established categories of gender, the representation of women’s bodies and sexuality, and historical power relations.

We will look closely at Louise Bourgeois‘ sculptures, Martha Rosler‘s collages and introduce Linda Nochlin’s infamous essay, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’

Curating an Exhibition

Art, Fashion, Architecture: Woman and Power

Fashion and Identity | Japan: East and West

The Politics of Identity

Drawing on Art History

Experiencing Landscape

Concepts of Movement

Impressionism: Theory & Practice

Cityscapes: Art & Architecture

Portraits, Power and Identity

Portraiture & Identity: Challenging Gauguin

Art & Politics: Art in the Service of the Russian Revolution

Portraiture & Expressive Colour

Recent workshops

Art and Queer Theory

How can queer artists ‘queer’ the canon of art history?

This workshop was led by Courtauld PhD student Tilly Scantlebury and explored gender and sexuality through art. Participants discussed the photography of Catherine Opie, looking at her arresting portraits that put traditionally marginalised queer subjects on bold display. We also considered the practice of Mickalene Thomas, whose multi-media large scale paintings rethink traditional art historical representation from a black, feminist and queer perspective.

A red chalk sketch of a woman wrapped in a towel, sitting on a stool or otherwise undefined seat. An initial sketch of the scene can be seen in the upper left, loose and undeveloped. i Édouard Manet (1832-1883), La Toilette, 1860, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

Art and Feminism

How can art history help us to think through questions of gender, subjectivity and ideas about ‘greatness’?

Led by Courtauld PhD student Tilly Scantlebury, this workshop explores modern and contemporary artworks in a variety of mediums and consider how feminist art history helps us to not only examine the artworks themselves, but also question the world and our place in it.

Through lively group discussion students will discover how artists use their medium to challenge established categories of gender, the representation of women’s bodies and sexuality, and historical power relations.

We will look closely at Louise Bourgeois‘ sculptures, Martha Rosler‘s collages and introduce Linda Nochlin’s infamous essay, ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882 i Édouard Manet, (1832-1883) A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, 1882, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

Curating an Exhibition

Courtauld curators welcomed us behind the scenes at The Courtauld Gallery and led a workshop on curating and interpretation.

The Courtauld is undergoing an ambitious transformation project to make its world-class artworks, research and teaching accessible to more people than ever before. Students discovered the processes involved in working with architects, designers and construction specialists to redesign our gallery spaces and plan the re-display of artworks ready for opening in 2021.

Participants read and responded to our new gallery labels, had a go at writing their own, and shared their thoughts on how we interpret our collections in a way that invites dialogue and discussion with young people in response to contemporary issues.

*Curating = the research, care and display of artworks

*Interpretation = how a museum/gallery engages and communicates with their audiences

i The Courtauld Great Room © Nissen Richards Studio

Colour: Art, Science & Psychology

How radically has our use of colour evolved over the past 500 years?

This session explores the power of colour through lively group discussion and a practical workshop involving making paint from ground pigments.

Through a closer look at key works in The Courtauld Collection students will discover the history of colour through science, psychology, religion and politics and place paintings in context to understand why colour has sometimes been a controversial topic in the history of art.

Van Gogh: Exploring Self

What is a self-portrait? How do artists reveal their identity through self-portraiture?

Led by art historian Helen Higgins, curator Karen Serres, and artist Alexandra Blum, this workshop aims to define what we mean by a ‘self-portrait’ through lively group discussion and a practical drawing workshop.

Experiment with Vincent van Gogh’s sophisticated mark-making in his famous Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889) and use other unusual artworks in The Courtauld Collection as inspiration to create your own self-portrait.

A self-portrait of Van Gogh wearing a green coat, a blue hat with a black trim, and a bandaged left ear. A Japanese print and an easel can be seen behind him. i Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) , Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889), The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

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