Arts and Humanities Outreach

Arts and humanities subjects describe and influence the way we interact with each other, the world around us, our past and our future.

Studying arts and humanities not only fosters creativity, but also teaches skills in literacy, critical thinking and communication. As the world which we inhabit changes at an unprecedented pace, understanding new ways of relating to each other and our shared experiences is becoming more important than ever. The University of Reading offers a series of free interactive lectures and workshops over a full range of arts and humanities subjects designed to influence the way we look at the world around us and the way we interact with it.

Activities are available for KS3 and KS4. Please check each activity for appropriate age and check with us for the availability of each activity at outreach@reading.ac.uk.

Dragons' Den

Some of the most lasting memories people form at university are focused around clubs and societies. In this familiar format, students have the opportunity to develop their own idea for a student society and pitch it to a panel of 'dragons'. Students will gain an insight into what it means to study Business at university and explore topics such as target markets, revenue models and business ethics.

Available in School

Subject: Business Studies

Year groups: 7 to 11 (content can be adapted to age group)

Session length: 45mins

Max per session: 40

Humans and Aliens

What does it mean to be human? How does looking at ourselves as an outsider might open us up to new experiences? This English Literature workshop guides students through a critical analysis of three poems and encourages them to use a variety of creative writing techniques such as characterisation, flash writing and word play. By the end of the session, students will have written their own poem on the subject of 'being human'.

Available in School

Subject: English Literature

Year groups: 7 to 10 (content can be adapted to age group)

Session Length: 45mins

Max number: 30

Parliamentary Sandwiches

How does the British Parliament decide what to have for lunch? Designed for students to discover how parliamentary debates work, the focus of this activity is learning debate style and arguing technique using the parliamentary system as a model. Students will explore how the techniques they have learnt can be implemented in real world ethical debates and how they are utilized in Government.

Available in School

Subject: Politics, Citizenship

Year groups: 7 to 9

Session Length: 45mins

Max number: 30

The Ethics of Self-Driving Cars

If cars are programmed to self-drive who is responsible when they crash? The programmer, the manufacturer, the driver? Thought experiments such as this one are often used in philosophical discussion to explore difficult concepts and potential ethical solutions. This session will introduce students to key moral theories, what it means to study Philosophy at university and will encourage them to think critically.

Available in School

Subject: Philosophy, English Language, Citizenship

Year groups: 9 to 11

Session Length: 45mins

Max number: 30

Greek Pottery comes to Life

Archaeologists today try to understand the stories of the Greeks through the pottery they left behind. In this activity, students will have the opportunity to do the same and interpret Greek myths for themselves. In the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, students will get to see original Greek artefacts first hand and will create stories boards for the myths depicted on the pottery. We will also explore how examining humans in the ancient worlds can equip us with the skills to understand humans today.

Available in School (without access to museum objects)

Subject: Classical languages, History, Classics

Year groups: 7 to 9

Session Length: 45mins

Max number: 20 if in Ure Museum, 40 otherwise

Hot Air Balloon Dilemma

Can you survive a sinking hot air balloon using only your powers of persuasion? The English language is growing and evolving all the time. Pupils will explore the origins of different English words and phrases and their overlap with other languages. Persuasive technique is prevalent in so many areas of society such as politics and media; pupils will also engage in an interactive persuasive writing and speaking activity.

Available in School

Subject: English Language; Personal and Social Education

Year groups: 7 to 10 (content can be adapted to age group)

Session Length: 45mins

Max number: 30

Script Writing; Film and Genre

Why is a horror movie scary? Can a film say something without words? This session explores techniques film makers use such as costume, setting, lighting and characterisation to convey a message, mood or particular genre. Pupils will have to opportunity to engaging in some creative writing and a write their own script based a clip and the cinematic / language techniques the session involves.

Available in School

Subject: Film, Theatre and Television, English Literature, Art and Design

Year groups: 7 to 11 (content can be adapted to age group)

Session Length: 45mins

Max number: 35

Medieval Teenager

Would you survive the Black Death? This activity follows the life of medieval teen William Westoby and the decisions he must make in 1348, the year the Black Death arrived in England. Students will consider the same decisions medieval teens would have had to make such as moving from the country to the town and the implications this would have had on their survival when the plague arrived. In addition to exploring what life was like during the Black Death, pupils will also look at the aftermath and analyse to what extent the plague improved the lives of those who were born after it.

Available in School

Subject: History, Archaeology, Biology (human anatomy)

Year groups: 8 to 11 (content can be adapted to age group)

Session Length: 45mins to 1hr

Max number: 50

Installation in a Box

How do you define 'art?' Does a piece of art cease being art is it breaks? In this interactive lecture students will explore what makes something a work of art. We look at different art pieces, concepts and artists intensions to think about what counts as art. Students will also have the chance to discuss current art work being made within the university and our particular focus on installation; they will then get to create their own mini installation in a shoe box on the theme of 'identity'.

Please note - students are asked to provide a shoe box in which to house their installation.

Available in School

Subject: Art and Design

Year groups: 7 to 10 (content can be adapted to age group)

Session Length: 1 hr

Max number: 20

The Ancient Schoolroom

What was it hard to learn to read and write as an ancient Roman? This session allows pupils to experience what life was like in an ancient schoolroom and compare their findings to the modern day. Pupils will have the opportunity do some creative writing in Roman style using our replica Roman pens and papyrus paper.

Available in School

Subject: Classics, History, Ancient History

Year groups: 7 to 10 (content can be adapted to age group)

Session Length: 45mins - 1 hr

Max number: 20

 

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