H is for Howling resource

H is for Howling resource © Tate

This resource aims to:

  • Extend and deepen student learning in the gallery through meaningful encounters with art and artworks
  • Support conversation through looking, thinking and participating.(making, performing, listening…)
  • Engage students with art and artworks through contemporary artists’ practice.

This activity plays with the expectations we bring with us when we visit a gallery – how we are expected to behave, how we are expected to react. Find ways to shift the balance between support and experimentation.

We trust teachers’ expertise to adapt the resources according to their group’s ability. Have fun and experiment with the resource. Activities can be broken down or expanded.

We suggest teachers use the questions in the resources to help frame group discussion – this could be a whole group, smaller groups or in pairs. There are no wrong answers.

Download the resource [PDF, 175Kb]

How do you use the resource?

  • Creating groups of ten, the class chooses a conductor who will guide the group through the ways to wow throughout the activity by reading out-loud the instructions.
  • Each group must find the most BORING artwork in the gallery, stand around it together and poke fun at it by pretending to find it interesting.
  • Students are invited to WOW the artwork, to use their voice to fill the space, be loud and become a ‘pack of howling wolves’.
  • Choosing a new person in the group to read out questions, consider what did it feel like to exaggerate your opinion into a performance? did making fun of the artwork change it in any way? And what did it mean to howl together in the gallery?

If you have additional questions about the resource, how to use this resource with a school group or if they are interested in other resources please contact the Schools & Teachers team.

About this activity

This resource was made by artist Jacob V. Joyce. The artist believes that although artworks are useful ways of communication galleries use them to speak about some things more than others and this can leave us feeling that if we are not reflected in the art then our narratives are not important. Race, gender, sexuality, disability, class and age are just some of the narratives that galleries often exclude and humour can be a fun way to challenge that imbalance.

This exercise was devised to encourage children to temporarily dominate the gallery space with their voices, taking ownership of the space and using performance to raise their voices above the voices of the artist.