Modern African Art in the Argyll Collection: School Workshops, Learning Resources and Exhibition

Impact: Cultural, Creative Impact, Educational Impact (Beyond St Andrews)

Description of impact

1. Development of learning resources to equip teachers to teach lessons using modern African art
Through the development of pilot learning resources (pdfs with information and suggested activities), teachers feel equipped to develop lessons using the newly attributed works of modern African art in the Argyll Collection. By equipping teachers, they are able to introduce pupils to named artists from the African continent, and to teach lessons about specific locations and points in history.

In the immediate term, teachers have artwork in their classroom (spring 2021) and use it as a focus of a range of activities. In the long term, teachers commit to annual usage of the artworks (eg. for Black History Month) and the resources are made publicly available for teachers everywhere.

2. Online workshops with pupils at Kilmartin and Tayvallich Primary Schools to develop awareness of modern African art and the Argyll Collection

3. Public exhibition (Dar to Dunoon: Modern African Art from the Argyll Collection), Dunoon Burgh Hall, May 21-June 13 2021 and development of exhibition podcast
The exhibition of the twelve works of modern African art in the Argyll Collection was held in May-June 2021 was instigated to significantly raise the profile of the African artworks, and to re-establish connections between rural Scotland and East Africa. A weekly podcast was produced during the exhibition's run, featuring guests in the UK and Uganda.

Who is affected

1. The pilot resources are developed with and for P1-P3 and P4-P7 teachers at Kilmartin and Tayvallich Primary School. After their use in the pilot project (Spring 2021), they will be further developed and available publicly on the project website,

2. The workshops were for P1-3 and P4-P7 pupils, to allow them to explore the artworks and learn about their significance.

3. The exhibition was open to the public, with online resources and the podcast extending its reach internationally. The podcast was a weekly recorded conversation featuring guests in the UK and Uganda, on a range of topics. The first week discussed Naomi Mitchison and her impact as a writer and founder of the Argyll Collection. The second week focused on art and culture in East Africa in the 1960s, and featured scholars in Kampala (Uganda) and London. The final week focused on the


1. Prior to developing the resources, a meeting was held with teachers Kilmartin and Tayvallich primary schools to introduce the African artworks and to learn what they would like to receive in order to develop lessons around the works. Teachers requested artist biographies, information on historical context, geographic location information and suggested activities. These were put together in pdf form, with additional information from my collaborator, Madeleine Conn (Cultural Coordinator, Argyll and Bute Council), and distributed to schools. Impact was measured through creative outputs of schools, and survey of teachers after completion of the project.


3. The exhibition featured twelve works of art, exhibited alongside artist biographies, informative text panels and archival materials. The exhibition featured a large map at the centre and a timeline, allowing visitors to understand the chronology of the collection's development, the political context of East and Southern Africa in the 1960s and 70s, and the key locations from which Argyll and Bute's artworks come from.

Over the exhibition's run (18 days / Wed-Sun, May 21-Jun 13) the exhibition welcomed 533 visitors, a highly successful exhibition for Dunoon Burgh Hall in terms of visitor numbers and particularly so given the ongoing COVID restrictions (Glasgow, for example, was on Level 3 restrictions until June 4th, preventing residents from visiting the exhibition in the first fortnight). The project website analytics registered 700 unique visitors, from all over the world, and the podcast episodes have been downloaded around 300 times.

Impact statusOpen
Impact date19 Jan 202121 Jun 2021
Category of impactCultural, Creative Impact, Educational Impact (Beyond St Andrews)
Impact levelInvolvement - mid or active stage