Category Archives: Sciences

YDance, Supporting Higher Dance through Glow (a Co-Create demonstration project)


The Co-Create project built on a previous YDance project, ‘Aim Higher’, fusing dance with technology, by providing live CPD support to teachers through Glow Meet to support their delivery of Higher Dance. YDance also delivered tutored sessions in each of the schools, facilitated a ‘Festival of Choreography’ on Glow, and developed a microsite to be hosted within Glow with a range of dance-based support resources for both teachers and pupils. This resource is now live on Glow for use by Higher Dance teachers and pupils across Scotland.

click here to watch 5 minute video

The project involved:

  • YDance
  • 5 PE teachers and their classes of Higher Dance pupils (45 in total)  at 4 secondary schools


  • Graphical House design consultants
  • Dumfries and Galloway; East Dunbartonshire; and Inverclyde local authorities


The project aimed to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Increased skills base for PE teachers to enable them to deliver more dance within the Curriculum for Excellence
  • Increased number of teachers using the Glow site for distance learning
  • Improved quality in the delivery of Higher Dance in schools
  • Increased number of pupils presented for Higher Dance and improved pass rates
  • Enabling schools to share experiences and best practice in Higher Dance delivery
  • Increased dialogue between teachers and pupils across the 3 local authorities and other schools delivering Higher Dance.
  • Improved relationships between pupils and teachers in geographically diverse schools who are providing Higher Dance.

Curriculum Areas

  • Expressive Arts
  • Higher Dance
  • Biology
  • English
  • Health and Wellbeing

Levels and Stages

Senior pupils from S4 upwards

Types of Learning

Active learning – developing practical dance and choreography skills; performance and presentation skills; group work

Peer review and self assessment

Project Activity

YDance had worked with the teachers on a previous project, ‘Aim Higher’, where they trained PE teachers to deliver the Higher Dance course independently in schools not previously subscribed to the course. The Co-Create project built on ‘Aim Higher’, fusing dance with technology, to provide innovative live CPD support to teachers through Glow Meet to support their delivery of Higher Dance in a more ‘hands off’ way. CPD sessions covered African, Alternative Contemporary, Contemporary and Jazz dance styles. The project also:

  • developed a microsite to host dance-based resource zones for pupils and teachers within the YDance Glow group;
  • organised a Festival of Choreography – pupils from different schools shared their choreographies through Glow Meet;
  • hosted online question and answer sessions through Glow Discussion Forum; and
  • delivered 10 hours of YDance-led tuition within each of the schools, focusing on a dance style of the school’s choice.

Planning and development

YDance already had good existing relationships with the teachers involved in the Co-Create project, and a good understanding of their needs in terms of support for Higher Dance delivery – this helped facilitate the success of the project and allowed partners to adapt to challenges and difficulties along the way. One of the drivers for setting up the Co-Create project was feedback from the teachers on their need for further support to deliver the Higher Dance qualification.

Teachers were involved in shaping the Co-Create project and were consulted and involved in shaping project delivery throughout the project, through weekly Glow Meets and regular communication, resulting in a fairly flexible and collaborative approach to project delivery between YDance and the schools.

Pupils were not involved in initial project planning but they were consulted on an ongoing basis about which areas of dance interest them – this informed CPD Glow discussions between teachers and YDance, helping ensure the support teachers provided directly aligned with pupils’ needs and interests.

How was Glow used?

YDance used Glow to deliver 15 virtual CPD sessions for the four PE teachers, jointly, through the Glow Meet function. This allowed teachers to watch Y Dance tutors perform live dance techniques and discuss teaching approaches to different dance styles with other teachers and professional dance tutors.  Glow was also used to broadcast a ‘Festival of Choreography’ which linked pupils and teachers from the four schools together to watch and learn from each other’s choreography.


An independent evaluation was carried out by Blake Stevenson. Their research shows that the project had the following impacts:

New skills, knowledge and approaches for teachers

The project promoted the following key learning:

  • curriculum requirements for Higher Dance;
  • practice and theory around different dance styles;
  • choreography and critical analysis skills.

Consultation shows that the project has had a fairly significant impact on the teachers and schools who have been involved. The virtual and online support from YDance has led to increased confidence and ability in PE teachers to be able to continue to plan and deliver the Higher Dance programme independently in their schools without recruiting specialist support. This has allowed the schools to offer greater opportunities to pupils in terms of a new subject choice while using and developing existing teaching resources. Co-Create has also supported some teachers to deliver aspects of the Higher Dance course they had not initially trained in.

Teachers and arts professionals feel that without the Co-Create CPD programme, the learning and development journey for the PE teachers would not have been as successful, and the progress achieved through ‘Aim Higher’ would have been harder to sustain; one teacher suggested without YDance’s support the school might have been forced to discontinue Higher Dance this year.

Two of the three teachers consulted through feel the project has resulted in greater creativity in their teaching practice. Teachers feel the project has supported a more active approach to learning, creating increased opportunities for pupils around peer-assessing, self-assessing, producing material, greater awareness of the performing arts and different dance styles and techniques, and increased skills in terms of choreography and group work. Teachers really welcomed the opportunities promoted through the project to share experiences and learning with other schools and with specialist dance tutors and found these valuable in enhancing their teaching practice.

“Regular Glow Meets with YDance leaders and other schools involved in delivering the Higher Dance course have enabled me to check teaching outcomes, techniques and stay on track throughout the year. Video examples and written checklists have also helped me to ensure I am delivering to the best of my ability.” (Teacher)

All three teachers felt the project would have a positive impact on future learning and teaching within their schools and hopefully allow them to continue delivering the Higher Dance qualification.

New skills and knowledge acquisition for pupils

Click this link for pupil feedback on the project: Why you should do Higher Dance

The project promoted the following opportunities for/types of learning:

  • solo performances and presenting in front of teachers and peers, including those from other schools;
  • working in groups to choreograph and perform routines;
  • sharing experiences of Higher Dance to generate enthusiasm throughout the school;
  • increased ability to recognise and address their own strengths and weaknesses and those of others;
  • opportunity to be inspired by other pupils and professional dancers;
  • taking responsibility for designing and managing their own choreography and performance, in groups and solo;
  • active learning benefiting health and fitness; and
  • some opportunity for inter-disciplinary working as pupils were asked to think about stimuli from other subject areas to inspire their choreography.

The project developed a range of new skills/knowledge for pupils, including:

  • opportunity to study Higher Dance when previously not offered;
  • greater awareness and understanding of their own physical abilities, and the physical abilities of others;
  • theoretical and practical awareness of a range of different dance styles;
  • choreography skills;
  • peer review skills;
  • learning about what their own bodies can do – biomechanics of the body;
  • increased health and fitness.

Learning Outcomes

All the pupils consulted felt the project had increased their confidence and helped them communicate more effectively; two of the pupils felt the project had increased their team working skills. They all felt that the skills and knowledge they had learned through the project would benefit them when they left school, and would be useful to some extent to other subject areas. All had enjoyed being challenged and really enjoyed the opportunity to work in a different way from usual at school.

Teachers felt the project had supported them to realise the following capacity areas for pupils through teaching the Higher Dance course:

  • Successful Learners – pupils demonstrated enthusiasm and motivation to achieve at Higher Dance;
  • Confident Individuals – pupils gained increased confidence in their own dance abilities as well as achieving a sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing; and
  • Effective Contributors – elements of the Higher Dance course, such as peer review, and the presenting to other schools facilitated by the project have supported pupils to become more confident and effective contributors.

New skills and knowledge for YDance

The Co-Create project has helped YDance develop a use and understanding of Glow, as well as developing their approach to offering support at ‘arms length’. YDance feel the project has had some impact on the organisation’s development in the following areas:

  • their day to day practice;
  • thinking about how YDance support and initiatives can support CfE; and
  • their approaches to working with teachers and schools – including greater recognition of the timetabling and other issues/practicalities associated with working in schools and trying to encourage schools to work together.

Challenges and Learning

The initial intention was to deliver live choreography sessions through Glow to classes in each of the schools at a set time each week. This was not possible due to lack of internet connections in school gyms, and difficulties co-ordinating a time to suit the timetables of all schools. YDance responded by visiting in schools person to support choreography classes, and scheduling additional Glow Meet support sessions. While schools would have benefitted and enjoyed live sessions, this actually meant that the schools received more tailored support. Despite this adaptation to the original project plan, all partners felt the project had been a success and that everyone involved had benefitted from the experience.

“The Co-Create project was a very positive experience. We experienced technical hitches but I can still see the potential in the technology.” (Teacher)

Key Learning

In future, YDance said they will have better foresight in terms of logistical issues such as school timetabling and access to technology, including pupil-access to Glow accounts.

The project has also increased teachers’ confidence and ability to continue to deliver the Higher Dance programme independently in their schools, and has supported a more active approach to learning, creating increased opportunities for pupils around peer-assessing, self-assessing, producing material, greater awareness of the performing arts and different dance styles and techniques, and increased skills in terms of choreography and group work.

One of the key successes of YDance’s Co-Create project is that it enabled non-specialist dance teachers to competently deliver Higher Dance and maximised the potential of the virtual and online support available to them. This was, in part, successfully achieved due to the effectiveness of the partnership model established between YDance and the teachers involved – based on regular communication and flexibility as well as a commitment to support pupils to achieve to the best of their ability in Higher Dance.


All teachers and arts professionals we consulted felt the project had created innovative and useful resources for ongoing and future use in the delivery of Higher Dance; and would result in continued use of new approaches to learning and teaching within the schools.


Co-Create was funded through a partnership between Learning and Teaching Scotland and Creative Scotland’s National Lottery Fund. 

For more information contact:

Or visit:

YDance website

YDance Glow group

Visible Fictions, State of Emergency (a Co-Create demonstration project)


Over a week-long, intensive period, pupils watched five online dramas (webisodes) telling the story of a fictional country in a state of emergency caused by civil conflict.  The webisodes were watched at the start of the school day and stimulated debate and cross curricular activities relating to themes of war and conflict throughout the rest of the day. Schools developed their individual approach, supported by a teaching artist to help inspire their State of Emergency journey. Glow was primarily used by teachers and teaching artists to share ideas in preparation for the intensive week period.  Glow was also used to host and show the webisodes. All seven schools participated in a Glow Meet at the end of the week to discuss the activities and learning they had experienced.

Click here to watch 5 minute video

The project involved:

  • Visible Fictions Theatre Company
  • 7 freelance artists
  • 7 S2 year groups (approximately 650 pupils) and their subject teachers (approximately 70 teachers) an0d school management from 7 secondary schools;
  • 7 local authorities: Argyll and Bute; East Ayrshire; Glasgow; Inverclyde; North Lanarkshire; South Lanarkshire; and West Lothian


  • British Red Cross
  • British Army
  • War Child
  • BBC
  • Scottish Refugee Council


The project aimed to:

  1. Connect teachers and artists to explore, deliver and evaluate new approaches to delivering subjects with S2 pupils through Glow:
  2. Create of a dynamic and innovative on-line arts education resource for teachers and pupils which will remain with the local authority as a legacy for future work
  3. Embed CfE in every component of the project
  4. Nurture inter-disciplinary work
  5. Explore new ways of using Glow within classrooms by pushing artistic boundaries and creative processes

Curriculum Areas

  • Expressive Arts
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Numeracy
  • Literacy
  • Social Studies
  • Sciences
  • Technologies
  • Religious and Moral Education

Levels and Stages

S2 year group

Types of Learning


Task based


Project Activity

‘The webisodes gave a focus for a number of projects that were developed ‘in-house’. This created a unique opportunity to work with S2 pupils over an extended period. They were all fully engaged and contributing well to lessons. They could see the link between subjects and the last day activities brought all they had learned throughout the week to a conclusion’.

Teacher, Glow survey

In November 2010 the entire S2 year group in the seven schools came off the normal timetable for one week and took part in ‘State of Emergency’.  This project created a virtual world through four online dramas (webisodes) which documented the lives of a group of teenagers caught up in civil conflict.  The pupils were asked to become involved in the decisions and dilemmas faced by the characters to better understand the consequences of war.

In preparation for the intensive week school teaching staff were supported by a team of Visible Fictions teaching artists to create resources through the Glow network, linking up with other schools across Scotland.   The project encouraged teachers to creatively enhance all curricular areas and Visible Fictions supported them to find the right approach for their subject and explore how it could link with other curricular areas through the themes of war and conflict.  This structure means the skills developed during the project will remain within the schools with the prospect of the project being delivered by the staff teams for the years to come.   Examples of classes were:

  • a Home Economics department in one school working alongside a local organic farmer to explore what food could be grown if the area was cut off from the rest of the world and then cooking from a ration bag;
  • the Maths department in one school exploring volume and weight through a dynamic exercise that asked pupils to think about what they needed in the event of fleeing their home land – packing a bag full of essentials to survive an emergency situation;
  • a Science department teaching water filtration by sourcing water from the local burn and using a pair of tights to make it suitable for drinking;
  • PE staff using role play techniques to explore Democracy and Regime;
  • a Computer Studies department allowing the school internet system to be taken over by the underground newspaper;
  • the Technical department in one school worked with a survival expert to explore shelter and fire building in the local woods and the army setting up an outdoor assault course;
  • critically analysing war art and photography from different periods and discussing the emotions the art provoked;
  • role play exercises, with groups of pupils becoming aid workers/ refugees/ press corps/ army personnel/ besieged – within each role pupils participated in a variety of activities designed to enhance their understanding of the reality of life for people caught up in a state of emergency; and
  • talks and workshops with a range of external agencies and partners, including the Red Cross, Scottish Refugee Council, the Army, a human rights lawyer.

Planning and development

Teachers, or Head Teachers, were involved extensively in planning how the project would look and work in their particular school and within their subject area; developing activities and resources to be used during the intensive week; and finally, delivering the project.  The input in terms of planning time for teachers was quite extensive, representing between 11-20 hours for most teachers, although less for others. In a number of schools, teachers from all subject areas involved met together to do the planning along with senior management; in one school, the Head Teacher was the main person involved in planning activities with the teaching artist and with Visible Fictions – this resulted in subject teachers at the school feeling detached from the planning process. Teachers were guided throughout this process by a teaching artist, assigned to each of the seven schools – their role was to support teachers to think of creative, innovative and active activities for pupils to take part in which covered and cut across each area of the curriculum.

Pupils were not involved at all in planning, and to a very minimal extent in project delivery – this was crucial to the success of the project, to build suspense and excitement amongst pupils and keep them guessing about what every day would bring.

As a result of how the project was planned, there was significant variation between schools in terms of how ‘‘State of Emergency’ was implemented within their school – some kept time-tabled subjects, but ensured each addressed or related to war and conflict-related themes; other schools came completely off-timetable for the whole week and had a very active, fluid week of activities related to the project’s themes. Schools were encouraged to communicate with each other throughout the planning process, via Glow, to share ideas and resources for different subject areas.

How was Glow used?

‘State of Emergency’ used Glow in the following ways:

  • to host and show the webisode dramas;
  • teaching artists and school teachers posted ideas for class activities and resources they had developed on the project Glow group to share with other schools;
  • some use of the discussion forum by schools to share experience and update other schools and Visible Fictions on progress in terms of project planning;
  • evaluation surveys conducted using Glow; and
  • a Glow Meet between the seven schools on the final day of the intensive week when pupils from each school shared their learning and experiences.

I used Glow to look at different schools and what their plans were for State of Emergency and how they had responded to it.  As staff in HC created their own lessons and put them on Glow I was able to work with some of the ideas to help create my lessons.  Some issues were resolved by software issues in the authority and we now have a template for what is required in a glow computer so that all areas can be used.  Getting into the site on a regular basis made me feel more comfortable with it, by finding a few hints and shortcuts it made me use it more’.

Teacher, Holy Cross


An independent evaluation was carried out by Blake Stevenson. Their research shows that the project had the following impacts:

New skills, knowledge and approaches for teachers

‘I was perhaps the most negative of all the members of the English department about the State of Emergency project; however, the pupils themselves have completely changed my mind. Their conduct and attitude over the course of the week has been phenomenal and the work they have produced is outstanding. They have truly blown me away!’

Teacher, Clyde Valley High

The majority of teachers involved in the evaluation found ‘State of Emergency’ to be a ‘very useful’ teaching resource; only one teacher said that they had not found the approach to be useful. The majority of teachers also felt that ‘State of Emergency’ had had quite an impact in terms of improving pupils’ engagement with classroom activities; some felt the impact was significant.

For all teachers, using the dramas portrayed in the webisodes as a basis to drive curriculum activity for a week was a completely new approach to learning and teaching activity. Although one teacher felt things could have been improved by some live interaction with the actors playing each of the characters. Teachers felt the webisodes were of very high quality and that they offered a unique focus for the week, exploring a range of interesting and inter-disciplinary issues which allowed teachers to plan and link related activity across all subjects of the curriculum resulting, in some cases, in a truly inter-disciplinary learning experience (to varying extents in each school).

Other approaches such as taking a whole year group off-timetable to such an extent represented new approaches to teaching for some schools; others said they had come off time-table before for whole year group activities, but that this had not been on as ambitious a scale as with ‘State of Emergency’. One teacher commented that having the whole year group working so closely together for a full week helped pupils learn a lot about each other, including each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how best to work together.  While many schools had used some form of active learning/task-based approach to teaching in the past, this had not previously been done to the extent managed during ‘State of Emergency’ week.

A few teachers said the project represented a new approach to working in partnership with arts organisations, artists and other external bodies, which felt more collaborative and creative. Schools felt having a dedicated teaching artist to support all their project planning and delivery gave them confidence to realise their ideas and be more creative – there was a sense that the teaching artists were able to inspire teachers and also to encourage them to be more ambitious in their plans. One teacher commented that the project had made teachers in the school realise how innovative they could be and that the teaching artists had helped generate ideas and let the teachers take them forwards.

All teachers felt ‘State of Emergency’ absolutely embodied a CfE approach and had therefore made a contribution towards their school’s approach to CfE. Some teachers felt that the project had demonstrated the extent to which inter-disciplinary working is possible within schools and would make them think about further inter-disciplinary opportunities in future.

New skills and knowledge acquisition for pupils

Many of the pupils talked about other lessons and activities. They also commented on their relevance to the theme. Some realised that in a real SoE things would be very different.  The science water purification was treated with far more seriousness as the students could see the relevance, as was the creation of a protest song and the repeating of the scenes for videoing’.

Teacher, Cumnock Academy

All teachers consulted felt ‘State of Emergency’ had had a positive impact on pupils’ learning experiences, and had opened them up to new types of learning experiences. Teachers also said that the project had demonstrated to pupils how fun and interesting learning can be.

A number of schools noted a small increase in attendance, improvements in behaviour and reductions in punitive exercises carried out during the intensive week period because, as one teacher put it, “pupils were busy and engaged with new stimuli to motivate and enthuse them”.

The project promoted the following key learning:

  • highly inter-disciplinary learning linked by the themes of war and conflict;
  • debating and discussing issues related to war and conflict;
  • knowledge about the role of different organisations and professions in conflict situations.

Pupils’ participation in ‘‘State of Emergency’ ’ supported them to develop the following new skills and knowledge, much of which would be helpful to them in the future, particularly in terms of helping them think about career paths they might follow:

  • decision-making and problem-solving skills because a number of tasks require them to make quick decisions in response to mock conflict situations;
  • respect for other people, no matter where they come from;
  • how lawyers are involved in promoting and protecting human rights;
  • “there’s more to the army than just fighting” – discipline and working as a team; and
  • prioritisation skills.

Pupils felt the Co-Create project had helped them think about a number of things very differently and also about things they had not thought about before, such as:

  • how comfortable their life is and how this contrasts with others who face more hardship;
  • how some people struggle to meet their basic needs when they have luxuries like X box game consoles;
  • what their personal priorities are in life; and
  • whether there is ever a legitimate case for war.

The project also helped pupils develop their presentation skills and confidence in presenting, as during the week they had to make presentations to small groups, to the rest of the school, and to the other participating schools via Glow Meet. Teachers also felt the project had been successful at promoting leadership skills amongst pupils due to the many opportunities for different pupils to lead different groups and activities and be supportive of others.

Pupils described the week as mentally and physically challenging. They would all like to participate in something like this again, primarily because of the physical and active learning the project promoted.

The project enabled pupils to learn in a very active, task-based and inter-disciplinary way which the majority engaged very well with. It was also highly effective in promoting independent thought and debate around significant issues related to war and conflict.

The project supported a greater appreciation for how curricular subjects interact and crossover and the relevance of each. It contributed significantly to all of the capacity areas:

  • Successful Learners – as a result of increased engagement and motivation for learning due to the active and task-based nature of project activities;
  • Confident Individuals and Effective Contributors: debate and discussion, as well as presentation were activities and skills promoted throughout the week, helping pupils to be more confident, effective contributors; and
  • Responsible Citizens – the issues of war and conflict gave pupils an understanding and appreciation for how life is elsewhere in the world, supporting them to be more responsible citizens.

New skills and knowledge for Visible Fictions

As keen proponents of arts based active and rich task-based learning, Visible Fictions used the Co-Create opportunity to test out their aspiration to use the arts as a way to promote and create a genuinely inter-disciplinary, exciting approach to learning, designed to actively engage all pupils, even those schools which sometimes struggle to engage. The successful completion of the Co-Create project gave them the opportunity to pilot this approach and has given them confidence to pursue similar ideas of such an ambitious scale within schools in future. The success of this project will allow them to persuade other schools to participate in similar activities.

Other outcomes for Visible Fictions include:

  • greater understanding of the potential of Glow and increased enthusiasm for use, as well as better awareness of its limitations and school attitudes towards Glow;
  • better understanding of the complexity of timetabling issues and the planning and thinking required by schools to enact a project such as ‘State of Emergency’ ;
  • recognising that schools have to drive and have ownership of initiatives such as ‘State of Emergency’ to ensure success;
  • greater appreciation of needs of school to risk assess and to pin down and plan out where each pupil is at all times when doing something so different to usual; and
  • planning, preparation and a good lead in time are crucial.

Challenges and Learning

Visible Fictions experienced the following main challenges in delivering ‘State of Emergency’:

  • the IT support and capability (in terms of broadband) available to schools at Local Authority level affected the effective functionality of Glow;
  • negativity and lack of enthusiasm by teachers to use Glow; as a result most of the shared ideas and resources posted on Glow were put up by teaching artists, rather than by the teachers as intended
  • due to delays in production, the webisodes were only made available to schools a week before they were shown (although scripts were provided earlier than this)– this made some teachers anxious as they would have preferred longer to familiarise themselves with the material and plan their resources and classes accordingly;
  • struggling to convince all schools to come off timetable for the whole week and buy completely into the ethos of the project; and
  • constant negotiation with schools to allow time and space for teacher steering groups to come together. When teachers were allowed the time to collaborate effectively, planning progressed quickly, however outside these meetings, some teachers struggled to find the time to dedicate to the project. This was resolved by arranging in-service days at the schools throughout the project and getting the teaching artist to liaise with their school to ensure agreed tasks were completed.

Key learning

Learning from the above, future delivery of the same or a similar project would include:

  • being more realistic about school ability and capacity to use Glow, allowing more time at the beginning to support teachers to be confident users of Glow;
  • convincing schools of the benefits of having a teachers’ steering group to co-ordinate project planning and activity, supported by in-service support days; and
  • enabling schools to see the webisodes further in advance


Generally teachers, teaching artists and Visible Fictions were in agreement that the partnership model adopted by the project was effective. Having a teaching artist in each school meant each school had tailored support and a key person to contact; it also meant schools could adapt the ‘State of Emergency’ approach to best meet the need of the school and pupils and build on the strengths and resources locally.


Co-Create was funded through a partnership between Learning and Teaching Scotland and Creative Scotland’s National Lottery Fund. 

For more information contact:

Paul Gorman, Head of Education and Participation

Or visit:

State of Emergency Glow Group

Visible Fictions Website

Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre, Walking Within Langass Woods (a Co-Create demonstration project)


This interdisciplinary project aimed to creatively interpret the ecology and heritage of Langass Woods on North Uist, combining outdoor learning and the arts with social subjects, sciences, languages and new technologies. Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre worked collaboratively with S2 pupils and staff from Sgoil Lionacleit (Benbecula), Carinish and Lochmaddy Primary Schools, Urras nan Craobh Uibhist a Tuath (North Uist Woodland Trust), and Scottish Natural Heritage.

S2 pupils worked with artist and publisher Alec Finlay, poet Colin Wills and other partners to create a letterbox walk for the woodland and an accompanying digital guide on handheld mobile devices. Through the project, children and young people were encouraged to make a valuable contribution to the care and future of their own natural environment. Learning outputs from the project have been shared nationally through the project Glow Group.

Click here to watch 5 minute video

The project involved:
• Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre
• P1-7 pupils from Carinish Primary school
• S2 pupils from Lionacleit Secondary school

• Scottish Natural Heritage
• North Uist Woodland Trust
• Wild Knowledge (outdoor education specialists)
• Hebridean Graphics
• Freelance artists
• Comhairle nan Eilean Siar local authority


The project aimed to creatively interpret the ecology and heritage of Langass Woods on North Uist, combining outdoor learning and the arts with social subjects, sciences, languages and new technologies, creating both a physical and virtual guide to the woodland.


• Expressive Arts
• Languages
• Sciences
• Social Studies
• Technologies


P1 – S2


The project was inter-disciplinary – extending to Languages, Science, Numeracy, English, Art, Music and ICT. Creative, active and group approaches to learning were important as was outdoor learning.


S2 pupils from Sgoil Lionacleit, and P1-7 pupils from Carinish primary school, worked with artist and publisher Alec Finlay, musician Rhodri Davis, poet and naturalist Colin Will, and poet Ken Cockburn to create a ‘Letterbox trail’ and a ‘word map’ for the woodland, with an accompanying digital guide for handheld mobile devices.
Workshops, activities and field trips to the woodland, led by the artists, and/or Taigh Chearsabhagh staff, teachers, and staff from Scottish Natural Heritage/Hebridean Graphics/Wild Knowledge, included:

• ecology walk with Scottish Natural Heritage;
• nature ramble, tree planting, creative mapping, sculpture work, and creative writing, including Haiku and Mesostic poems;
• development of letter box trail and walkway guide;
• composing music;
• development of a digital guide to Langass Woods using digital handheld devices with GPS, and creating a website;
• making signage for the woodland trail;
• logo design workshops with Hebridean Graphics.

Partnership working was a key element of this project. North Uist Woodland Trust and Scottish Natural Heritage (South Uist) spent time with pupils talking about the history and ecology of the woodland and helping with the pupils’ research, identification and interpretation of local species of plants, trees and birds. This work was used to inform interpretation boards made by the pupils, and to provide content for the digital guide. Graphic designer Lorraine Burke ran a workshop on logo design, and the resulting designs by S2 pupils were uploaded to the project Glow Group.
Outdoor education specialists, Wild Knowledge, developed a digital guide to accompany the woodland trail which is populated by pupils’ photographs, poems, sound recordings and research, giving visitors an even richer experience of this community owned woodland.

How was Glow used?

Glow was used to document the project and to create a resource for other schools/pupils wishing to visit the woodland or learn more about its ecology. The content was created by pupils in collaboration with the project partners. The primary school Headteacher and staff at Taigh Chearsabhagh felt that Glow had helped to bring the project to life, allowing pupils to be actively involved in contributing to the project by sharing materials and learning online.


An independent evaluation was carried out by Blake Stevenson. Their research shows that the project had the following impacts:

New skills, knowledge and approaches for teachers

The project involved extensive work in an outdoor environment, which staff at Taigh Chearsabhagh felt was a new learning environment for the pupils involved. There was also a real emphasis on using digital technology, particularly to create a ‘digital trail’ of Langass Wood using handheld digital devices which used GPS to map the location of items that young people wanted to include in the trail.

The Headteacher from the primary school suggested that the involvement of the artists had definitely resulted in a more creative teaching experience, enriching the learning experience of pupils. The project had:

• helped them thinking about delivering teaching in a more creative way;
• encouraged them to do more/think differently;
• encouraged them to plan more collaborative work in future (the primary school are looking into working with another primary school on a new project).
The principle teacher of Art and Design at the secondary school enthused about having worked in collaboration with the English department on illustrated Haiku.

New skills, knowledge and experiences for pupils
Following the project, S2 pupils met after school to continue working on their contribution to the digital guides. Carinish primary pupils loved using the mobile devices, and particularly enjoyed writing mesostic poems with Alec Finlay.
The project promoted the following key learning:
• knowledge of nature and the natural environment;
• an appreciation of the local environment;
• use of digital technology and Glow;
• creating innovative art work;
• skills in and knowledge of poetry, music, art and design;
• independence ad increased confidence
• experience of working with arts professionals

The project supported pupils to achieve progress in the following ways:

• Successful Learners – during the work of the project pupils were enthusiastic and motivated learners and became open to new thinking and ideas. Pupils were supported to improve their literacy, communication and numeracy, thinking creatively and independently, linking and applying different kinds of learning in new situations, learning independently and as a group and use technology for learning.

• Responsible Citizens – as a result of the project pupils were supported to become more respectful of others and to participate responsibly in cultural life. Pupils were supported to develop greater understanding and knowledge of the world and Scotland’s place in it, evaluate environmental, scientific and technological issues, and develop informed and ethical views of complex issues.

• Confident Individuals – the project increased pupils’ self-respect and helped them to have more secure values and beliefs and a sense of physical, mental and emotional well-being. Pupils became better able to relate to others and manage themselves, pursue a healthy and active lifestyle, be self-aware and develop and communicate their own beliefs and view of the world.

• Effective Contributors – the project supported pupils to work in partnership and in teams, to take the initiative and lead, communicate in different ways and in different settings, apply critical thinking in new context, solve problems, and create and develop.

New skills and knowledge for Taigh Chearsabhagh

The project gave Taigh Chearsabhagh more experience of working with pupils and teachers in schools, particularly working in a secondary school. They were able to learn more about working with young people, what to offer them and how. They also developed their understanding of CfE. This has helped them to develop their practice in this area, and encourage them to think about doing this more in future.

Taigh Chearsabhagh has developed a new relationship with the secondary school they worked with. The Project has has also strengthened links between Taigh Chearsabhagh/the schools and the North Uist Woodlands Trust, and Scottish Natural Heritage.


Taigh Chearsabhagh commented that the initial challenge was combining the use of digital technology with art and education to engage with local Woodland, as this was the first time they had undertaken a project combining these elements. The arts organisation staff were satisfied that they had managed to overcome this challenge.

There were some technical issues that were frustrating at times, particularly with the use of Glow, however these were overcome with support from LTS.

Another challenge was that the secondary school lost 11 members of staff over the summer holidays, before the project got started properly the following term. This meant staff at the school were required to fill in for teachers who had left, and they had very limited time to work on the project. It also made communication with the secondary school difficult, as staff were often unavailable for consultation.

The project would have been better if there had been more time for planning and prep work on behalf of the teachers, but also in conjunction with Taigh Chearsabhagh. On top of this, teachers perhaps did not realise the time/planning that would be involved in the project.

It would also have been beneficial to allow more time for the project in the curriculum, rather than fitting it in around time-tabled lessons ad hoc. This issue is linked to the limited planning that happened – more planning may have enabled this to happen. Teachers would have liked to have had more time for follow-up activities in class. It was also felt that the project may have been easier if it had not occurred when the secondary school was in the process of establishing CfE.

Schools were not using Glow much in the classroom, so Taigh Chearsabhagh staff did most of the work in designing/developing the Glow group.

Key successes of the project were:

• new/enhanced partnerships between the arts organisation and schools;
• use of digital technology to engage pupils in the arts and local environment;
• the positive impact of the artists involved in the project;
• the encouragement of creative teaching methods;
• the creation of a lasting resource that can be used again; and
• increased use and enthusiasm for Glow.

Although they had not used it much in the project, the primary Head teacher could see the benefits of Glow as a result of the project and would be much more inclined to use it in future.

Pupils from the primary school said they had enjoyed using Glow because they were able to find out about lots of different things, chat to other people, the materials were really good, they thought it was a fun way of learning and pretty easy to use.


Co-Create was funded through a partnership between Learning and Teaching Scotland and Creative Scotland’s National Lottery Fund.

For more information visit:
Project Glow Group
Taigh Chearsabhagh Website

NVA, The Potato Heads (a Co-Create demonstration project)


Environmental art organisation NVA worked with P7 – S5 pupils from Glasgow, Dundee, Stirling and East Renfrewshire schools to explore the cultural, social, ethical and political aspects of food production and growing food locally. The Potato Heads project gave pupils creative opportunities to explore and articulate desires for environmental change and a greener, more sustainable future.

Pupils from each participating school were invited to join The Potato Heads, a group of green activists, and asked to design their own fictional leader and write a manifesto for change. They took part in a series of workshops and online activities, and were given a plant to take care of throughout the summer holidays, and to grow potatoes for Glasgow Harvest as part of the Double Rubble Chip Challenge.

Click here to watch 5 minute video

The project connected to NVA’s wider community project SAGE (sow and grow everywhere™) and involved a collaboration with digital design studio ISO.

The project involved:

  • NVA
  • 19 pupils (S1) from a Glasgow secondary school
  • 6 pupils (S5) with additional support needs from a Dundee secondary school
  • 32 pupils (P7) from an East Renfrewshire primary school
  • 7 pupils (P7) from a Stirling primary school


  • Central Station
  • ISO digital design studio
  • East Renfrewshire, Dundee, Glasgow and Stirling local authorities


The project aimed to:

  • Start pupils growing their own food – each pupil was given one plant of their own to take care of throughout the summer. They were also given potatoes to grow collectively for Glasgow Harvest 28.08.10.
  • Engage pupils in thinking about how they could lead social change – in this instance towards a greener, more sustainable future.


  • Expressive Arts
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Science


P7 – S5


The project included a lot of group work and active learning, was ‘hands-on’, and empowered young people to take control of their own learning, enabling them to try things out for themselves, think for themselves, becoming more aware of their responsibilities and putting forward their own ideas/suggestions.


Participants communicated with other schools, learned about Glasgow Harvest, and contributed to the community. At each school a live workshop was hosted every four weeks, including a Glow Meet with one of the other schools involved if possible. Outside of the workshops, schools engaged with the project via the Potato Heads Glow group where NVA posted short podcasts and instruction sheets for the schools to access online.

The inspiration for ’The Potato Heads’ project was a Mexican group of revolutionaries called the Zapatistas (a socialist revolutionary movement, mainly active in Mexico) who use the internet and art as their chief method of publicising their work. Rather than protesting and marches, the Zapatistas use humour, art and the internet to spread their message for social change. NVA adopted a similarly creative process with participants in the project, as they used art to provoke collective action.

The Learning Programme was based around the concept that all the pupils were part of a group of green activists called ‘The Potato Heads’. They were each headed up by a fictional leader designed by themselves (the leaders were given names, characteristics and superpowers). Pupils explored the concept of change and how to effect change, and the role of activists. They also explored alternative approaches used by artists such as Banksy. Nick Mellville, an Edinburgh based poet, led some workshops about poetry, linking to slogans about what the pupils wanted to change, and how they could communicate these desires succinctly and engagingly. The pupils also carried out research into reducing fuel emissions and the benefits of growing food locally.

All pupils were invited to the culmination of the project at NVA’s Glasgow Harvest event at Tramway in Glasgow on the Saturday 28th August 2010. At this celebration of urban growing, the pupils were invited to cook their potatoes as part of the ‘Double Rubble Chip Challenge Competition’.

How was Glow used?

Glow was used to post a series of tasks for teachers to download and complete with their class. Glow Meets were held between participating schools. Pupils used the Glow group to communicate with each other and their teachers/project leaders regarding their growing tasks, to discuss climate change and to post their own work.


An independent evaluation was carried out by Blake Stevenson. Their research shows that the project had the following impacts:

New skills, knowledge and approaches for teachers

  • Knowledge of and enthusiasm for Glow
  • Recognition of pupils’ interest in growing and environmental/green issues – resulting in plans to repeat the project and develop a sensory garden in one school.
  • Hands on learning/teaching methods had been successful
  • Benefits of working with a partner arts organisation who used creative, hands on, interdisciplinary approaches

New skills, knowledge and experiences for pupils

The project promoted the following key learning:

  • an understanding of how to grow and cook food;
  • more knowledge of food and food production, climate change and globalisation;
  • understanding of social action, change and taking control;
  • working together and teaching other young people;
  • poetry, drawing and photography;
  • using Glow;
  • participating in the Glasgow Harvest Event at Glasgow’s Hidden Gardens

The project supported pupils to achieve progress in the following ways:

Successful Learners – during the work of the project pupils became enthusiastic and motivated learners and became open to new thinking and ideas. Pupils became better at communicating, thinking creatively and independently, linking and applying different kinds of learning in new situations, learning independently and as a group and using technology for learning.

Responsible Citizens – as a result of the project pupils became more respectful of others and committed to participate responsibly in political and social life. Pupils developed understanding of the world, became more aware of others beliefs and cultures, more able to evaluate environmental and scientific issues, and informed and ethical views of complex issues.

Confident Individuals – the project increased pupils’ self-respect, and helped them to have more secure values and beliefs. Pupils became better able to relate to others and manage themselves, pursue a healthy and active lifestyle, be self-aware and develop and communicate their own beliefs and view of the world.

Effective Contributors – the project supported pupils to work in partnership and in teams and also to become more self-reliant. Pupils had the opportunity to take the initiative and lead, communicate in different ways and in different settings, apply critical thinking in new contexts and create and develop.

New skills and knowledge for NVA

The main lesson that NVA took from the project was that they need to be more open minded about adapting materials to suit the level of different pupils involved in a project.

NVA learned the importance of allowing sufficient tiem for planning and consultation at the start of the process.

NVA felt there was a lack of buy-in from teachers in-between the workshops they delivered, and that teachers viewed NVA as deliverers, rather than it being an exchange between teachers and arts professionals. NVA felt it would have worked better if there was more collaboration.

NVA learned that they need to be clearer with teachers about what involvement/time-input is expected of them at the planning stage of the project.

NVA developed new relationships with ISO, Central Station and the Hidden Gardens which they felt would benefit future projects.


NVA had originally intended to work with Glasgow schools due to the geographical reach of the Glasgow Harvest event, but the authority had not yet carried out full Glow rollout, so schools were selected from several other authorities.

The project was the first time that most of the teachers involved had used Glow.  Some felt that the training they had received was not very comprehensive and several of them experienced technical problems when they tried to use Glow.

NVA had expected Glow to be more intuitive both for uploading resources, and social networking, and said that they and participants spent more time becoming familiar with Glow than they had envisaged.

Not all participating schools were able to use Glow Meet.

There was some difficulty in terms of communication with teachers, who could be difficult to contact due to their teaching schedules.


The impact of the project was positive, and Glow was particularly useful in bringing people from different geographic locations together. However, in retrospect, NVA feel it would have been better to ‘twin’ schools as opposed to ‘group’ schools together as the communication lines could have perhaps been more focused for the pupils – i.e. each school working with one other school, instead of three schools each.

Other lessons included:

  • pupils enjoyed the project, were really enthusiastic about growing food  and liked using Glow;
  • teachers needed to schedule time during the week to work on the Glow site independently of the Glow Meets or live workshops;
  • it would have been preferable to have a training session for teachers before a Glow programme started for them to take ownership of the programme and integrate it into the curriculum;
  • pupils would have benefited from being given email ‘cluster’ groups within their class to link to other ‘clusters’ in the other schools- this would have allowed them to work on tasks together and take away the anonymity of their connections


One of the primary schools said that the main legacy for them would be having a better idea of how to use Glow, and that they had got to know their pupils better. They also said they intended to repeat the Potato Heads project next year with a new class, and have developed a sensory garden as a result of the children’s interest in growing and nature. It appears that the project has really expanded out to other classes and pupils in the school. Some of the pupils have also been teaching their younger peers about how to grow potatoes, and the school have expanded the theme of ‘growing’ to school-wide activities. They have also discussed the possibility of connecting with a school abroad.

Staff at all of the participating schools said that the project would increase their use of Glow, as their pupils had really enjoyed using it during the project – they had seen that it was a great resource for teaching purposes.

Pupils agreed that Glow was interesting, fun and easy to use, that there was nothing they disliked about it and that they would like to use it more in future.


Co-Create was funded through a partnership between Learning and Teaching Scotland and Creative Scotland’s National Lottery Fund. 

For more information contact:

Nichola Godsal, NVA,

Or visit:

Glow Group


This View of Life – National Library of Scotland with TAG Theatre


‘This View of Life’ was an innovative partnership project between a theatre and a national collection, designed to create a learning experience for pupils and demonstrate the powerful potential of inter-disciplinary learning. Over a two year period Learning staff at TAG and National Library of Scotland (NLS) worked with the Scottish Arts Council funded writer-in-residence. Together they developed a full day learning experience for schools, exploring the work and impact of Charles Darwin, evolution and our responsibilities to the planet, inspired by research in the collections at NLS.  The play and workshop series toured for five weeks around Scotland.

This View of Life - the set

This View of Life involved:

  • – 1,292 pupils
  • – 4 actors
  • – 1 playwright
  • – 1 director/producer

Experts from different fields worked collaboratively to create a model for communicating complex scientific ideas using drama.  During the development phase academics at Glasgow University and the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery kindly gave of their time and expertise to support the project.  In addition, because the project focused on evolution, TAG liaised with a number of teachers at both Catholic and non denominational schools. TAG’s local primary school was invited to act in a consultative manner in the development of the play.

Through actively encouraging teachers to participate and offering CPD sessions the partners effectively demonstrated the potential for inter-disciplinary approaches to the teaching of science.


The John Murray Archive learning programme at NLS develops innovative learning projects.  Its Writer-in-Residence works with the Learning Officer to bring a unique perspective to archive learning.  Together, they identified that working in partnership with a theatre and using drama, held great potential to develop a project to explore Darwin and his impact on society and modern thinking. The project that evolved, ‘This View of Life’, meets the aims of A Curriculum for Excellence.

Using participatory and active learning NLS and TAG aimed to harness the energy and excitement of theatre to help children understand the excitement of science and:

this view of life

  • – Develop a basic understanding of natural selection/inherited variation
  • – Develop skills to discuss and consider complex ideas
  • – Think about ‘big’ issues
  • – Be confident to ask questions
  • – Build confidence and skills to participate in drama
  • – Consider the future of the planet
  • – Foster connections between young people, the theatre and research institutions

Outcomes from Sciences and People, Place and Environment which complemented the theme of Darwin were used in the development of draft learning activities/scripts by NLS and TAG, which used TAG’s experience of Drama/The Expressive Arts to develop a truly inter-disciplinary approach.

Outcomes for Literacy across learning and Health and Wellbeing across learning were reviewed to ensure activity supported these areas.  Draft activities were developed over periods of rehearsal with a school local to TAG.

Partners engaged in dialogue with P7 teachers at several Catholic and non denominational schools to discuss where the project would complement the curriculum and to ensure Catholic schools were not discouraged from taking part.


One follow up evaluation questions asked about pupil and teacher perceptions to using drama to learn about science.

  • – 264 (of 274) pupils said drama was a good way to learn about science:
  • Science is boring but drama makes it fun.” (pupil)

– Pupils demonstrated learning about Darwin and evolution:

  • “Being big and strong isn’t always good and being small is sometimes better.” (pupil)
  • “Even though we are all different we are all related.” (pupil)

– We encouraged pupils to be open to new ideas and ask questions.  These traits were demonstrated:

  • “Helped the children explore the importance of asking questions and then questioning the answer – so what about us? Why are we here? What’s the point of us?” (teacher)

It also benefited and developed learning practice at both partner organisations and demonstrated innovative arts learning techniques for interdisciplinary learning.

  • – The project included the development of Teachers Notes on learning activities focused on key themes from the play written by the learning staff at NLS and TAG. This will continue to be available via the NLS website and other routes (e.g. GLOW).
  • – TAG and NLS are continuing to use the skills and knowledge developed on this project to develop future work based around NLS collections which will be made available to schools across Scotland.
  • – TAG explored the potential to build links with partners to develop future performances of the play which were not successful.

this view of life

Teachers’ comments:

  • – Made them reflect and question the theory of evolution. Instigated a thirst for knowledge
  • – We had several children who have severe emotional/behavioural difficulties but every pupil interacted so well with the play and took something important from the experience
  • – Helped the children explore the importance of asking questions and then answering the question
  • – When we left the library the children were chatting to each other about how much they had enjoyed it and how they hadn’t expected it to be so amazing
  • – Very important messages were given and discussed
  • – Captured the mood an interest of all the pupils. Spoke the pupils’ language and explained theories/discoveries at the pupils’ level

Pupils’ comments:

  • the day opened up your mind to different ideas
  • – there are more discoveries yet to be made
  • – not to give up because Darwin didn’t give up
  • – drama is more fun and we are more likely to learn because we might not listen when we get told lots of facts



  • – National Library of Scotland
  • – TAG Theatre Company
  • – City of Edinburgh
  • – North Lanarkshire
  • – City of Glasgow
  • – Fife
  • – Hunterian Art Gallery (host partner)
  • – Summerlees Heritage Centre (host partner)

Levels and stages:

  • – Second Stage
  • – P6 and 7


  • – National Library of Scotland as part of John Murray Archive project
  • – Scottish Government Science Engagement Grant
  • – A number of smaller donations

For more information contact:

Jackie Cromarty, Programme manager. Learning and Public Engagement on 0131 623 3843 or email

or go to:


Photographs taken by a professional photographer at a rehearsal with a school present for feedback are available on TAG’s flickr photostream and NLS and TAG are happy for them to be used:

There is also a time lapse video of the set build on YouTube: (you will need to scroll down to the bottom of the page)

Darwin – Talbot Rice Art Gallery


This gallery based education project was developed to complement exhibitions at the Talbot Rice Art Gallery, celebrating the Darwin anniversaries in 2009.

Inter-disciplinary workshops were devised and delivered at the Talbot Rice Gallery, enabled Art and Biology students to work together in groups. The gallery’s exhibition of contemporary art formed the starting point for discussions about Charles Darwin and evolutionary thinking. The exhibition had 2 strands:

 – exploring Darwin’s time in Edinburgh and his enduring influence on the world today

 – showcasing 5 contemporary art projects inspired by Darwinian thought

Darwin conversations

During the initial workshop, students focused on the artworks and led by the Gallery Education Curator analysed artworks by contemporary artists and examined the science that inspired them. The science behind the artworks was then placed in an evolutionary context by a Science Communicator at Edinburgh University and a researcher from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology.

There was also a practical session where the students got involved in physically exploring where creativity, evolution and design collide. Students worked in groups to ‘evolve’ species using art materials, making adaptive changes in response to a series of environmental changes. A further session examined how these species have just evolved and compare this process to that proposed by the theory of evolution through natural selection. The aim was to embed student’s understanding of the topic.

creativity and evolution

The project involved:

 – 39 Higher and Advanced  Higher biology and art students

 – 3 teachers

 – 1 gallery educator

 – 1 science communicator

 – 2 phd students (1 art history and 1 biological sciences)

 – 5 professional artists exhibiting in the gallery


The Talbot Rice Gallery devised this education project to simultaneously cover objectives from the Biology and Art higher and Advanced higher courses. Developed in response Curriculum for Excellence, it enabled the gallery to connect with and broaden a science based schools project Think Darwin, Think Evolution, Think Now, which has continued to build and grow.

The project aimed to bring together art and biology students to explore evolutionary thinking, at the same time as bringing together disciplines within the university and providing a training opportunity for postgraduate students.

A further aim of the project was to encourage peer learning between subject areas for pupils and staff alike.

Curriculum links were made in both Biology and Art. (eg Genetics, Adaptation and Selection, Environmental Biology and Molecular Biology)

The sessions also illustrated through expressive enquiry how contemporary artists use developments and theories in science as a theme for their work. The gallery sessions allowed pupils to engage in active research and investigation into the visual arts with the emphasis on contemporary contexts in modern culture.


evolving creatures     students working together     art and science collide


The project initiated collaborative relationships with the intention that the partnership between the Talbot Rice Gallery and schools could build upon.

For the Talbot Rice Gallery the main impact of this successful project, is a commitment to developing more interdisciplinary project for schools aimed at supporting the new curriculum. Additionally the gallery has a better understanding of its role in promoting interdisciplinary and cross sector relationships and can draw on previous success.

In feedback from the participating schools 100% of pupils said their experience would help to in some way with their studies at school.


inter-disciplinary learning



  • – Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh
  • – Think Darwin, Think Evolution, Think Now
  • – Beeslack Community High School
  • – Drummond Community High School
  • – Boroughmuir School


Levels and Stages:

  • – Senior Phase
  • – S5 and S6



The project was funded from the University of Edinburgh


For more information Contact:

Zoe Fothergill, Curator for Education and Development on 0131 650 2085 or email

Or visit

contemporary art