A Sense Of Place: The Roman Presence in Cumbernauld

Staff and pupils in the Art & Design Department at Greenfaulds High School enjoyed participating in a special Roman-themed project over the course of the last year. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with £10,000 provided in March 2017. Art & Design teacher and project leader Kirstin Armstrong explains how staff and pupils have benefited from this project:

The first special event that kick-started this HLF project was the mosaic workshop with Alan Potter that took place in April 2017. A range of S1-S3 pupils in the Art & Design department helped the artist to create a series of large-scale mosaics which were intended to decorate the front exterior of the new school building. The pupils really enjoyed working with Alan Potter and learning how to cut tesserae to create mosaics. This part of the project was a huge success and the finished mosaics look fantastic! They were installed in August 2017, and they really help to engage the local community with their heritage as they provide visual information about the Romans and their presence in the Cumbernauld area.

The local heritage sites that were chosen for this project were the Antonine Wall and the Roman fort at Bar Hill. Pupils learnt about these sites in class, viewing PowerPoint presentations, and some of them visited the sites also as part of a series of day trips in June 2017 to museums with Roman artefacts (The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, and The Hunterian Museum in Glasgow). S1-3 pupils drew Roman artefacts in class, such as arms and armour and pottery, created embossed metal replicas of Roman coins, painted watercolours of the Roman fort at Bar Hill and created Roman themed costumes. The pupils learnt about the Romans and their presence in Scotland in the 2nd century AD. The Antonine Wall was built circa AD 142 by the three Roman Legions that were stationed in Scotland at this time – the Second, Sixth and Twentieth Legions, on behalf of Emperor Antoninus Pius.

S1-2 pupils created ceramic replicas of Roman votive pots, learning how to work with clay to create 3D forms, and S2 pupils made 3D clay heads which were based on Roman sculptures found in Scotland. S3 pupils made ceramic replicas of Roman distance slabs – these were made by Roman craftsmen to celebrate the construction of different sections of the Antonine Wall. Pupils learnt about the Romans and they also gained a greater understanding of how to work with clay and clay tools, making and decorating 3D forms. Some of the pupils used coloured glazes to decorate their pots and these were very effective. Photographs of the artwork have been on display electronically in the school’s social area, conference suite, and in the Art & Design classrooms and corridor. Some of the very best work can be seen online also.

Over twenty pupils enjoyed an illustration workshop with the artist Kate Leiper in September. Kate helped S1-S6 pupils create fun Roman characters for an illustrated brochure about the Roman presence in Cumbernauld. The pupils managed to come up with an interesting array of characters and these included people, animals, and even inanimate objects, such as a Roman pot. The brochure can be viewed online and hard copies have been passed on to our associate primaries, Redburn School, and our local museum & library in Cumbernauld. Pupils really enjoyed working with Kate and finding out more about the use of characters in graphic design.

I worked with a small group of pupils at Redburn School in October to create a Roman feast. Pupils worked really hard to create drawings and paintings of Roman foods, such as fish and fruit. They used wax crayons and oil pastels to make spots and lines, experimenting with mark-making, and bottled and metallic paints were used to add colour. Pupils tried some of the foods which the Romans liked to eat, such as lemons, grapes, pomegranates and asparagus. I really enjoyed meeting the pupils and thought the artwork looked great!

Recently, S1-2 pupils created prints of Roman coins and imagery, such as the Eagle standard. They enjoyed using polystyrene to create simple templates and used coloured printing inks to make multiple copies of their image. Many of the pupils had never tried printmaking before and they thought it was an interesting process. Some S3 pupils have also started a costume design project based on Roman armour, and they will be making 3D outcomes which should be lots of fun.

It has been a busy year and pupils have really benefited from the HLF grant. They have been able to take part in drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, illustration, and ceramics workshops in GHS, and they have learnt a lot about the Romans in Scotland. They have had new creative experiences and have learnt new skills, such as printmaking, ceramics and mosaic-making, and have improved their knowledge of Art & Design and Scottish and Roman history. Many pupils had never visited the museums before and seeing artefacts first-hand proved to be an exciting and interesting experience. Approximately six hundred young people have been involved in this project!

The HLF project has provided opportunities to display pupils’ artworks and celebrate their achievements, see the photographs and blogs that are available online. It has been fantastic to have artists Alan Potter and Kate Leiper in GHS to work with our staff and pupils, allowing them to learn new skills and making Art & Design more relevant to the world of work. Hopefully, by taking part in the HLF project, pupils will have learnt more about their local heritage sites and the Roman presence in Cumbernauld.

Click Here to Download Pupil Brochure


Heritage Lottery Fund, thanks for the £10,000 grant!!!

I’d like to thank all of the staff and pupils in the Art & Design department at Greenfaulds High School for their participation in the HLF project 2017-18, and for their efforts in making it so successful. Thanks go to all of the staff in GHS for their support with the mosaic workshop, particularly Mrs Macdonald in Art & Design. Finally, thanks also must go to Mr Daniels, Mr Cochrane and Mr Harris for their help with the twitter feed, electronic display in the social area, and GHS/Art & Design website.

Miss Armstrong

Gallery Slideshow of Pupil Work (Over 200 images)

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Project Presentation Boards in Art Department