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What is VTS?
Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) uses artworks to develop critical thinking, communication skills, language development and visual literacy through a slow looking and enquiry and evidence based approach to looking at artworks. VTS is a research-based teaching methodology based on the work of cognitive psychologist Abigail Housen and veteran museum educator Philip Yenawine that supports learner-centred thinking, and feeling when looking at art objects or images with groups in gallery, classroom or community setting.
VTS uses carefully considered and crafted questions to prompt conversation and divergent responses allowing meaning to be scaffolded through artwork discussion
What is going on in this artwork/ picture?
What do you see that makes you say that…?
What more can we find?
As VTS trained facilitators it was interesting to consider the DMC Collection through the principles of VTS image selection. Within the new Leaving Certificate Art curriculum there is an emphasis on engaging with local art galleries and museums as well as beginning your study of art through local artists. This Local connection was the starting point of the artwork selection and curation process for this exhibition.
It brings a new lens to the collection allowing new connections between local, traditional and contemporary works and new acquisitions to the collection. We are looking forward to the VTS image discussions prompted by the artworks selected and curated for this exhibition at Highlanes Gallery.
The artworks have been carefully selected from the Drogheda Municipal Collection by Artist/ Art Teacher Kieran Gallagher and Artist/ Arts Educator Claire Halpin, both VTS trained facilitators.
Kieran Gallagher taught for many years in St Oliver’s in Drogheda and is currently teaching in Dublin. VTS is a critical strategy that he uses in the classroom to engage students in conversations about artworks from art historical to contemporary artworks. In 2016 Kieran and his Students were invited by the Highlanes Gallery using VTS to select and curate artworks from the British Councils Art Collection, for the exhibition In Sense of Place. Kieran has also worked for the Professional Development Services for Teachers introducing the new Leaving Certificate Art Curriculum to secondary school Art Teachers.
Claire Halpin is a VTS trained facilitator working in Primary schools, in arts in education and in museum education across the country. Claire Facilitates the primary school programme in the Highlanes, using VTS discussions in the gallery to prompt art making/projects in the classroom. She is also a coordinator of the VTS Neighbourhood Schools in Dublin NEIC with DCC Arts Office and The LAB Gallery.
Highlanes Gallery are delighted to present alongside the exhibition, an image bank of the selected artworks from the Drogheda Municipal Collection to be used by schools to continue the practice of VTS in their classrooms.