At Christ College Brecon, our student family is made up of 350 fantastic individuals. Across the varied curriculum we offer at the school, our pupils inject their personalities into their work – and nowhere is this more visible than in the creative arts faculty. Here Deirdre Houghton, Head of Creative Arts explains how her team unlocks the creativity in pupils.
Within this subject cluster, the Art Department – a vibrant hub of activity – prides itself on nurturing creativity and encouraging inquisitive young minds to express themselves through the medium of art and design. From the beginning of their school experience to sixth form, our Art Department taps into our pupils’ imaginations, helping students to celebrate what makes them unique through a variety of creative techniques.
The positive atmosphere radiating from the department certainly engages many of our Breconians, whose reaction is to enthusiastically get stuck in! From the fearless nature of our younger pupils who are keen to invent, to the enquiring minds of our older pupils fine tuning their unique work, Christ College Brecon students pour themselves into their artwork.
The Art Department starts pupils on their journey of creative expression by establishing strong drawing and photographic skills early on, beginning with the basics, the focus on developing these core skills at an early age sets our pupils in good stead as they progress to different art specialisms. With the basics mastered, pupils can unleash their creativity as they learn new techniques and approaches, being given exciting opportunities to look, record, create, design and make.
Our GCSE and Sixth Form courses in Art and Photography build upon these early foundations. The photography courses encompass sophisticated digital editing with studio and outdoor work. In Art we follow the Fine Art syllabus and our pupils work in a number of different areas, mixing the traditional fine art techniques of drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture with contemporary practices such as mixed media, graphics and digital photography.
The broad nature of the GCSE and A-level courses allows our older pupils to develop practical and analytical skills through creativity, often inspiring them to pursue a range of design led careers including illustration, film making, textiles, product design and architecture. Aided by our expert teaching staff, pupils learn how to progress and improve to achieve their aspirations.
Our enthusiastic staff, who specialise in a variety of art forms including photographic journalism, ceramics, painting and textiles, expertly recognise the diversity of the student body’s interests and are a real force for encouraging our pupils to develop their strengths and talents. By identifying our pupils’ individual passions and qualities, our faculty are able to provide specially tailored guidance to pupils on how best to achieve success. Staff are well experienced in preparing students to further their studies in the creative industries. The infectious passion our staff have for their subject influences pupils, encouraging them further to experiment and explore.
The environment in which our pupils learn also plays a key role in inspiring creativity and we are lucky to have multiple motivational learning spaces at Christ College Brecon. Our Art Department is mostly housed in the characterful Bridgend block, a historic building dating back to 1780. The light-filled – and paint splattered – classrooms overlook the River Honddu, with the beauty of nature often stimulating ideas. In addition to our more traditional learning spaces, our specifically adapted design building houses our specialist photography course and includes our fully equipped sculpture and ceramics studio. The photography rooms feature a full Apple Mac suite, prop store, a darkroom and two fully-equipped specialist photographic studios.
Our pupils’ inventive artwork is not just limited to their classrooms or portfolios. The Powell Gallery in the Neuadd, an exceptional venue looking out over the Welsh hills with floor to ceiling windows, showcases student work throughout the year. From the extremely popular House Art competitions to Eisteddfodau, the annual Prom Art competition in association with Theatr Brycheiniog to the end of year show for our exam students, our pupils are given ample opportunity to display their work to others and continue to build upon their creativity and imagination.
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