Interviewing Amy Mckelvine (Curator for the Schools and Teachers programme at Tate Modern and Tate Britain), to gain a better understanding of the rationale and idea behind the Tate learning program and recognise the impacts of such a program on students' Soft skills.
*The answers have been paraphrased for contextual purposes.
What is Tate learning program?
A workshop that allows students to enter TATE and explore themselves through the medium of Art, which is led by a variety of artist in residence at Tate Modern of Britain. The program gives access to students who would not regularly engage with the museum in their daily lives and opens their imagination to a whole new world full of Art and Culture helping to develop them mentally, emotionally and socially as they reflect on their own experience and that of the group. Throughout the 2018/19 academic year, the workshop had 2001 student attendees across 120 workshops.
What is your definition of soft skills?
Soft skill is a comprehensive term that is becoming more popularised to the general public today. However, the term has been in play for a long time before this. The learning program run by Tate takes students out of the box called school and places them into a much bigger space which is the gallery either Tate Modern or Tate Britain. The share size of the space allows the students to expand their imagination and aspirations.
Also, it helps the teachers develop new pedagogy on how they will be able to engage the students thinking more deeply, enabling the students to make cross-curricular links through various ways of making and interpreting Art.
While in this space all the myth and constraints on how they should behave in a gallery are lifted and they are allowed to create a new world with the direction of the artist through exploration, observation, and interaction with each other.
What are the impact of the program on the students?
One of the main focal points of the program is to capture how the student feels when they come in contact with different art forms and their interpretation of the art piece being examined. Is there a general consensus amongst the students, or are they more adamant about their views in regards to the piece of Art that is being observed? This exercise helps the students in creating a voice for themselves, and the fear of failure is no longer a barrier when voicing their opinions.
The importance of the environment cannot be understated in the development of the necessary soft skills to progress through life. When the students are taken out of their classroom and brought into a physical space such as Tate to interact with the painting they have been studying in the classroom through screens, another dimension is added to their learning. Students are able to get up close and in many cases are shocked by the size of the painting or sculpture.
We have to create more cultural spaces besides shopping malls that stimulate the younger generations imagination, sense of belonging and self-awareness especially for children who live in rural areas and might not have access to the larger museums that can be found in London or major cities across the United Kingdom.