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Gender and Identity

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Teaching resource: Gender and Identity


  • Gender and


  • This resource will focus on gender and identity through some of the key concepts and processes used within keystage 3 and 4 subjects; Art and Design, Citizenship, English, History and Cross-Curriculum dimensions (identity and cultural diversity, healthy lifestyles, community participation, enterprise, global dimension and sustainable development, technology, and media and creativity and critical thinking).


  • 3Intro .................................................................... 4

    The Works ........................................................... 7

    The Visual Dialogue ............................................10

    Visits and Trips .................................................. 24

    Classroom Activities .......................................... 26

    Teaching Materials ............................................ 33


  • 4Intro

  • 5For centuries artists have used gender and identity as subjects to comment on cultures. This resource will explore questions such as What is identity? What identifies us? Does our gender have a specific role in todays society?

    To encourage discussions and creative activity around the theme of gender and identity, this pack will study and interpret a historical work by William Maw Egley, and a contemporary piece by Hannah Starkey. In both works each artist explores gender and identity in relation to the social and historical context specific to the time which the work was made.

    PRojECT ovERvIEw

  • 6Creating A Visual Dialogue

    To study gender and identity in todays society it is important for students to understand a little about how identities and gender roles have altered overtime.

    Students may find it difficult to relate to historical works (or characters) and understand what the artist is portraying.

    This can be overcome by studying a historical work alongside a contemporary work, i.e. William Maw Egleys historical piece, The Lady of Shalott (1858), and Hannah Starkeys contemporary work, Butterfly Catchers (1999). By displaying and studying these two artworks simultaneously a unique juxtaposition is created, enhancing the works (and periods) similarities and differences; themes which run through both the historical and contemporary pieces appear clearer. Through this process a visual dialogue is created, allowing young people to explore and relate to contemporary and historical cultures at ease (see Visual Dialogues contextual page for more info).


    How To Use The Resource

    It is possible to use any contemporary and historic artwork in addressing issues of gender and identity. You may prefer to study alternative works for example a visual interpretation of an era you are specifically studying, or a piece which students have seen previously.

  • 7The works

  • 8Hannah Starkey Butterfly Catchers 1999

    Hannah Starkey, born in 1968 in Belfast (Northern Ireland), is a photographer recognised for her images that explore everyday experiences and observations of inner city life from a female perspective. She studied Photography and Film at the Napier University, Edinburgh and Photography at the Royal College of Art, London.

    Starkey uses a documentary/cinematic style to suggest that she has taken photos of personal moments between the characters while they are unaware. This creates awkwardness for the viewer as the perspective makes us feel that we are intruding - often witnessing some sort of silent drama that. Her static images imply there is a narrative, as they suggest to the audience that the photographed is just a freeze frame, and the scene continued. These narratives are built through her characters and situations, implying issues of class, race, gender, and identity through the physical appearance of her models or places. Much of Starkeys works are untitled, encouraging the viewer to project their own thoughts onto the works.

    Interested in creating a social commentary for the viewer, her pieces are often based on political issues from a personal perspective. Both of these elements feature in Starkeys photo, Butterfly Catchers (1999). Taken on Falls Road in Belfast the piece focuses on her strong matriarchal upbringing in the area. This piece shares Starkeys observation of her mothers identity, and her relationship with the community, especially other women.

    ThE woRks

  • 9ThE woRks

    William Maw Egley The Lady of Shalott 1858

    William Maw Egley, born 1926, was the son of portrait painter and miniaturist, William Egley (1798 1870). Trained by his father, Egley began painting professionally when he was 14 years old. He began his early carer by creating fashionable literary illustrations of Shakespeare and Dickens. Influenced by his father, and using these authors texts as stimuli, he became fascinated by painting costume detail.

    William Maw Egleys The Lady of Shalott (1858) is a painting of Alfred Lord Tennysons poem, The Lady of Shalott, based on the legend of King Arthur. This poem tells the story tells of a cursed woman who was trapped in a tower, only allowed to watch the world through reflections in a mirror if she directly looked out the curse would take over and she will die. Egleys work captures the moment when the knight Lancelot appears in order to rescue her. The Lady of Shalott looks out of the window, this initiates the curse and there for she is condemned to die. Both Tennysons and Egleys sad text and scene reflect the Victorian love of romance and tragedy, themes that were often played out within medieval settings.

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    The visual Dialogue

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    What information can we gain about the artists comments on gender and identity just by looking at the painting?

    The following discussions works best if you display both Butterfly Catchers and The Lady of Shalott side by side (use the colour images provided in the Teaching Materials section)


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    Hannah Starkey

    Starkeys work Butterfly Catchers explores political issues in Belfast from a personal feminine perspective, having grown up in the area. Due to her strong matriarchal upbringing this piece focuses on the role of women in inner city life and addresses social issues from her mothers era to the present day.

    Butterfly Catchers suggests that Starkey has taken a photo of a personal moment between the characters while they are unaware. However she never snaps and always asks permission before she takes a photo She achieves this affect by using actors (or strangers) to construct realistic scenes, as if the characters are paused in monotonous moments of life. Starkey describes this process as collaboration between her and the model, as they work out what we want the picture to create, this allows them (the sitter) space to present themselves These artificial, but realistic images give the effect that Starkey has come across and captured a fleeting moment by chance and simultaneously elevating the importance of this seemingly everyday photo.

    Starkey uses constructive photography method (See Medium and Materials), not documentary, as she feels this method gives her more responsibility to convey a story to the viewer. Through this method Starkey creates layers of visual information. This allows the viewer to work their way through the image, each layer leading to ambiguous directions within the viewers personal psyche.

    PERsoNAl REsPoNsE

    William Maw Egley

    Inspired by many of the Pre-Raphaelite artists, Egleys work, The Lady of Shallot, combines a moral message with hard edged realism.

    The Lady of Shallot has been the inspiration for many artists works, each varied depending on the individual artist. The individual artists' decisions to depict specific narrative moments within the poem suggests their differing interpretations of the status of women. The Victorian Webb

    William Maw Egley has left the viewer space for them to decipher why he has selected this particular moment in the story. Until this point, The Lady of Shalott preserves her safety by staying within the confines of her tower and not participating in any sort of active pursuit. This fits perfectly with the concept of the actual Victorian woman, whom society expected to accept her role as protectress of the home. The Victorian Webb

    While Egleys section of the tale maybe interpreted as being a joyous moment (the Lady of Shallot has just rebelled against the curse finding her independence and taking the first steps by looking out of the window), it also conveys a woman on the edge of abandoning her social responsibility in her pursuit of love.

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    How do these pieces make you feel?

    Does it look like a nice place to be?

    How do you think the characters may feel?

    Do the women look happy?

    Why do these men (Egley and Tennyson) comment on womens identities?

    How do artists let their personal experience feed through to the images?

    How does this make the audience feel towards these characters?

    Both of the works show women from different eras in different environments, which do you think look trapped?


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    A photograph is an image created by the action of light on a light-sensitive material at some stage during its making. It can be either a positive or negative image and made using one of many processes.

    Hannah Starkey is a photographer and uses this medium to create Butterfly Catchers. She uses photography as a tool to make herself and the viewer think about what theyre looking at. Starkey comments that using this medium Teaches you to look and observe your surroundings (from Hannah Starkeys artist talk at Tate Britain).

    Photography is usually perceived as a quick and spontaneous medium; because of this photographers are able to generate large bodies of work. It s also a very accessible medium as everyone makes photos, and has albums at home or online. However Starkey works in an unusual way for a photographer as she takes a long time to create her images and only makes approximately four pictures a year.

    Starkey takes a long time to create each image as she uses a method called constructive or staged photography. This means that her images are of scenes that have been constructed (set up). This method allows Starkeys photos to be built up of layers, designed in a way to reveal themselves gradually as the viewer spends time in front of the image. As the viewer stands in front of Butterfly Catchers the beautiful high gloss image unravels into a social commentary, which is unusual for a photograph.

    Oil Painting

    A dispersion of pigments in a drying oil that forms a tough, coloured film on exposure to air. The drying oil is a vegetable oil, often made by crushing nuts or seeds. This medium has a slow drying process which is affected by film thickness and paint components. oil paint continues to dry, getting harder with age over many decades.

    Egley was trained by his farther (a portrait painter and miniaturist) to paint at an early age. When he started his career, aged 14, he began by creating fashionable literary illustrations of Shakespeare and Dickens and was fascinated by painting costume detail. These traits can be seen in his piece The Lady of Shallot as he uses beautiful detail to tell Tennysons saddening tale, The Lady of Shallot.

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    Just from looking at the images can you tell which is the contemporary and which is the historical piece? Can you tell what medium the artist used?

    Do you think these images are natural or staged? Do the women in these images know they are being photographed/ painted?

    Does the medium help us to understand the meaning the artist wanted to convey?

    How do these artists use their mediums to conceal saddening stories of the women? Does this give a sinister feel to their works?

    How might the medium help us to place the work in a certain time frame?

    Do these artists use these media to create a specific style? i.e. cinematic, documentary, illustration


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    hannah starkey is known for commenting on the world around her through her work using constructive photography (see Materials and Medium) to convey her personal experiences and observations of inner city life from a female perspective. This method of photography allows her to build up layers of subjects within one still shot, to convey layers of meaning for the viewer to explore. These layers are situated in landscapes which impact upon both characters and readers by conveying common experiences.

    The subject and meaning of starkeys work relates heavily to Gender and Identity as she illustrates how women observe each other in everyday life. Through exploring this theme her work has became more autobiographical as her work focuses more closely on her story and experiences.

    This piece is shot in Belfast in Falls Road, an area in Ireland thats full of political history but also (for starkey) personal history, having grown up in the area.

    Linen Mills

    The Linen Mill buildings (big white buildings with lots of windows), seen in Starkeys piece were apart of the industrial revolution in Belfast. In 1852 there are said to have been about 28 of these huge mills. People settled in this area because of the jobs provided by the mills and communities grew in the surrounding area. Most of the people working in these mills were local women, working so they could provide food for their family (see Art In Context).

    ThE suBjECT AND MEANING Butterfly CatChers


    By the 1960s these linen mills had closed been vacated and fallen into disrepair. The rubble in the foreground is from a flattened Mill factory, flattened to make way for progress new shopping centres. This rubble may also represent the destruction of this community as with no jobs in the area communities broke up and people moved away to find new work.

    Surrounding landscape and hills

    The industrial site is surrounded by what appears to be natural rolling hills, however the landscape has been quarried so much the hills are hollow. There are many mythological haunting stories surrounding the hills; its said that the women who worked in the mills and died on the same day as the Titanic sank haunt the hills. Women who worked in the linen mills were referred to as Millies so the hills are said to be haunted by Millie ghosts.

    Women butterfly catchers

    Through Starkeys still the viewer can observe the two young adolescent women walking over the rubble of the flattered mill. The two characters appear to be alone in this deserted waste land, but their nets and title of the piece suggests that they still have hope and are trying to pursue their dreams. As Starkey grew up in the area, and was close to the girls in age, this might represent how she felt growing up as a teenager in the area. The harsh city environment in Starkeys composition makes the viewer be realistic about their metaphorical butterfly hunt; it is unlikely that the girls will be successful - not through their lack of trying.

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    william Maw Egley is known for creating images of famous literary texts. This piece, as suggested by the title, relates to Alfred lord Tennysons poem The lady of shalott; (Full poem in Teaching Materials).

    Both the subject and meaning of Egleys artwork, and Tennysons poem, relate heavily to the theme, Gender and Identity. while these pieces tell the lady of shallots tale, they also reflect the identity of females of this class and period.

    What section of the poem is depicted?

    As stated in the introduction to this work Egley captures the moment which the Lady of Shallot looks out of the window, triggering the curse and is therefore condemned to death;

    As he rode down to Camelot. From the bank and from the river He flashed into the crystal mirror, "Tirra lirra," by the river Sang Sir Lancelot.

    She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces through the room, She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot

    The viewer can tell that this is the point which Egley painted as we can see Sir Lancelot in the crystal mirror and the Lady of Shallot has left her loom and is looking out of the window towards Camelot.

    ThE suBjECT AND MEANING the lady of shalott

    Similarly to Starkeys piece, Butterfly Catchers, Egley also builds the Lady of Shallots tale out of layers using details in the painting to reflect and refer to Tennysons poem. The loom, the room, beautiful views, mirror and Sir Lancelot are all details from the text which also feature in Egleys painting.

    Out of the window

    Beautiful views can be seen out of the window of Egleys painting, Tennyson describes the view in his poem as;

    On either side the river lie Long fields of barley and of rye, That clothe the world and meet the sky; And thro the field the road runs by

    Egleys beautiful views of rolling hills are a shocking contrast to Starkeys piece Butterfly Catchers. The contrast in landscapes also emphasise how the land was used to make work for local people. Art in Context

    The room

    Egley depicts the walls of this room in a dark grey tone. This causes the room to appear very dark, although there are many windows. By reading Tennysons poem the viewer discovers that this room is actually the Lady of Shallots prison, and apart of the tower which she is trapped in. Tennyson describes the space as having, Four grey walls, and four grey towers. The oppressive room sets the scene for the tale of the Lady of Shallots curse, A curse is on her if she stay, To look down to Camelot.

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    The environments in both Starkeys and Egleys pieces set the scenes for the characters tales. From these scenes the viewer can gain the following background information about the characters; the Lady of Shallot imprisoned in the tower, while the young women in Starkeys piece clamber over rubble from the flattened mills still hopeful in their search.

    The loom

    The loom featured in Egleys piece references hobbies that women of this period would have taken up to pass the time. There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay. Looking at the painting one of the brightest things in the image is the fabric in the room. Unlike in Starkeys piece where fabrics were mostly made cheaply in factories, fabrics from Egleys era would have been produced by hand. Bright colours, metallics and intricate embroidery were a sign of wealth (see Art in Context).

    The mirror

    As the curse placed upon the Lady of Shallot forbids her to look out of the window she can only view the outside world through the mirror.

    And moving through a mirror clear That hangs before her all the year, Shadows of the world appear.

    The mirror is the Lady of Shallots connection to the outside world; however it is also the connection between the viewer and the Lady of Shallots view -

    Egley has positioned this mirror on the wall to reflect what the Lady of Shallot is looking out of the window at.

    Sir Lancelot can be seen clearly in the reflection as Tennyson described

    The helmet and the helmet-feather Burn'd like one burning flame together.

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    What can we see in these images? What relevance does it have to the theme of gender and identity?

    What elements of Tennysons poem can be spotted in Egleys painting of, The Lady of Shalott? How does Starkeys image, Butterfly Catchers, relate to her upbringing?

    How do both pieces convey historical mythological tales? What can we see depicted in the images that hint to these womens tales?

    How are the characters tales, gender and identity issues told through their environments?

    How does the landscape of the images effect how we read the characters?

    How was the land used in both images? How does this influence gender and identity?

    How do fabrics symbolise the wealth of characters?

    Could the tower which the Lady of Shalott is trapped in, and the butterflies which the women in Starkeys piece are trying to catch, be metaphors for some other aspect of the womens lives?

    What do the surroundings tell us about these womens identities and gender role in the era?


  • 20

    History of Falls road

    Butterfly Catchers (1999) features two adolescent girls walking over rubble on the Falls Road in Belfast. The Falls Road has a strong political significance in the history of Northern Ireland; originally a country lane that leads into the city centre, the industrial revolution transformed the area.

    Industrial revolution

    The industrial revolution changed how goods were produced instead of unique, handmade pieces, factories were built to mass produce products. This cut the cost of goods such as fabric down by reducing labour time, therefore making a wide variety of goods accessible for more households. Linen Mills where built along Falls Road causing the population quickly grow because of the newly generated jobs. This in turn created change in the surrounding area; fields were transformed into rows of back-to-back terraced housing for the working class.

    The identity of women during the revolution

    During the industrial revolution most of the local women worked at the Linen Mills so they could provide food for their family. Although the wages and conditions were poor (many going deaf because of the loud machinery) there was a strong sense of community between mothers, daughters and neighbours. This created a new identity for the women; all working together at the factory before returning home to look after their families. The womens duties, as working mums, define their identities and building a community. Starkey composition make makes subtle references identity, especially class, through her use of characters and environments.

    ART IN CoNTExT Butterfly CatChers

    Mills closing

    By the 1960s the linen mills had closed and fallen into disrepair, without work in the area the communities fell apart and people moved away. There is a strong sense of sadness in Starkeys piece as she addresses the destruction of this community. The piece illustrates this destruction at four stages; the vacant and derelict mills can be seen in the background, the rubble the girls are treading over is one of the flattered mills, the Black Mountains in the distance are said to be haunted with female ghosts from the mills, and finally the two young adolescent girls in an apparently futile search for butterflies.


    In 1999 many of the mills were knocked down to make way for new shopping malls. The two characters appear to be alone in this deserted waste land, but their nets and title of the piece suggests that they still have hope and are trying to pursue their dreams. As Starkey grew up in the area, and was close to the girls in age, this might represent how she felt growing up as a teenager in the area. The harsh city environment in Starkeys composition makes the viewer be realistic about their metaphorical butterfly hunt.

    The female image

    In todays society images of women used to sell things such as cars, perfumes aftershaves, music etc. Starkeys work reclaims the focus of the image, making the focus and the story of these women, not their appearance. This in tern encourages the viewer to question what images are used for.

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    The identity of women in the 19th Century

    In the 19th century British women were expected to get married and have children. British laws of the time were based around the idea and that husbands would take care of their wives. Laws stated that any wealth that the woman inherited would be passed to the husband. The idea was that women would have to stay dependent on a man: first as a daughter and later as a wife.

    In 1857, one year before Egleys painting, the Matriminial Causes Act was passed giving men the right to divorce their wives on the grounds of adultery. However married women were not granted the same rights. Once divorced, the children became the mans property and the mother could be prevented from seeing the children. This contextual information emphasises how trapped the women of this period might have felt.

    Painting of the period

    Egleys subject-matter and technique was influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites who incorporated generalised themes such as tragic love or religious subjects. Due to this interest in tragic love and literature Tennysons poem was often was often illustrated by Pre-Raphaelite as the text related to Victorian society - by depicting the Lady of Shallot the artist comments on the role and conditions of women in their contemporary culture.

    As women in society became more important in the domestic realm the Lady of Shallot was used to symbolise the tension between their private desires and the reality of their social responsibilities.


    Coincidently the year that Egley painted this piece will now be remembered as the year that Emily Pankhurst was born. She was an English political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement, which helped women win the right to vote - "she shaped an idea of women for our time; she shook society into a new pattern from which there could be no going back".

    ART IN CoNTExT the lady of shalott

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    Do you think these women have good lives?

    Why were the artists inspired by these women?

    Why did they decide to make these works and show these women in this particular way?

    How do the loom and linen mills emphasise how gender and identity roles and issues have changed over time?

    How are images of women used in todays society?

    Do we have gender specific roles in todays society?

    Is our identity governed by our gender?

    How was the land used?


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    Consider how both pieces relate to fabric - The Lady of Shallot weaving to pass her time waiting for her rescue, while Butterfly Catchers relates to the Linen Mill workers and the fabric industry.


    Consider how the women deal with their distress in different ways. - The Lady of Shalott waiting for her knight to save her and the Mill women, desperately trying to catch their dreams.


    Consider how the women deal with their distress in different ways. - The Lady of Shalott waiting for her knight to save her and the Mill women, desperately trying to catch their dreams.

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    visits And Trips

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    See The Works In Person

    Organise a trip for the class to see Starkeys or Egleys works in person. Seeing the works in person, compared to on a screen or a photocopy, makes so much difference to the audiences reaction. This will also give the young people further understanding of the work as they will have personally experienced them.

    Hannah Starkeys Butterfly Catchers is a part of Tates collection. William Maw Egleys The Lady of Shalott, is part of Museum Sheffields collection. Check online or by phone to see whats currently on show at the gallery. Galleries occasionally organise trips to their stores or talks if works arent on view at the time. This can be a unique experience for the young people to see the British Art Collection in a new way.

    If this is not possible Tate and Museum Sheffield also have numerous other works on the theme gender and identity search the Tate collection Gender and Identity to see the Tates collection.

    vIsITs AND TRIPs

    Other Project Related Trips

    A Local Gallery: Contact your local gallery to find out what local exhibitions/artists works are on show to inspire young people on the theme of gender and identity.

    Specialist museums/galleries: Works maybe explored from a specific perspective, for example fashion and textiles In this case a trip could be made to the Fashion and Textile Museum (London) or Sir Richard Arkwrights Masson Mills (Derbyshire) - where young people can experience the genuine atmosphere of a working 18th century cotton mill.

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    Classroom Activities

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    The following activities have been designed to use in a classroom to encourage young people to creatively interpret historic works and relate them to today's society.

    These activities can all be used in any curriculum subject (although divided into subjects for convenience).

    ClAssRooM ACTIvITIEs

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    Benefits Of This Exercise

    This activity will encourage students to think about identity and cultural diversity in a creative way. Allowing the diverse range of characters to interact together will encourage students to participate in an imaginary community.

    Activity Description

    1. Ask the class to sketch one of the characters from either of the works on a large sheet of paper and name their character.

    2. Pass this onto the next player. As the sheets are passed around each participant should write down additional information about the character in turn, considering the image and previous information they have been given; i.e. Age, What job do they do? Where are they going? What line would this character say?

    3. Ask the students who wrote the line to read them out in a voice which suits the character.

    4. Encourage the students to move around the class, and talk to each other in character.

    5. Set them a target of finding three facts out about three different characters.

    6. As a class discuss the different characters they created and what facts they found out about each other.



    This activity can be used in any subject - we suggest that this is used to cover elements of the Cross-Curriculum role alongside another of the following activities, or while a general classroom activity is taking place;

    Key Concepts

    - Creative and Critical Thinking, - Identity and cultural diversity, - Community and Participation.

    Key Processes

    - Successful learners who enjoy learning make progress and achieve.

    - Confident individuals who are able to live safe healthy and fulfilling lives.

    - Responsible citizens who make a positive contribution to society.

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    Benefits Of This Exercise

    Each artist uses their work to portray an gender and identity issues of the period. This exercise will encourage students to relate to each character and consider the social and historical context of each piece in a personal and memorable way. It will also encourage the students to creatively work in teams, practise public speaking and creative writing.

    Activity Description

    The women in these works have all got some kind of problem in their lives.

    1. Assign each group either the Egley or Starkey piece.

    2. Ask the class to step back in time to the date of their assigned work and become one of the characters.

    3. In groups discuss how the character is feeling and what they would ask an agony aunt help for.

    4. Encourage the students to stay in character and focus on the era of the work, discuss all aspects of their characters identity, their ideas, beliefs and attitudes of/and to men, women and children and how this has shaped this characters life.

    5. Ask the groups focussing on the historical work to exchange letters with the contemporary groups and write advice back.


    Key concepts- Cultural, ethnic and religious diversity- Understanding the diverse experiences and ideas, beliefs and attitudes of men, women and children in past societies and how these have shaped the world.

    Key processes- Historical enquiry;- Identify and investigate, individually and as part of a team, specific historical questions or issues, making and testing hypotheses reflect critically on historical questions or issues.

    - Using evidence;- Identify, select and use a range of historical sources, including textual, visual and oral sources, artefacts and the historic environment to evaluate the sources used in order to reach reasoned conclusions.


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    Benefits Of This Exercise

    This activity will encourage the young people to produce imaginative artworks while exploring how identity can be portrayed through Visual Art. This is a positive way for young people to express themselves and consider how they may be perceived in society.

    Activity Description

    Both artists use these pieces as a way of conveying their ideas on gender and identity that were/are relevant to the time.

    1. Using ideas from Egleys and Starkeys pieces, ask the students how they would represent a woman from todays society.

    2. While creating this interpretive work ask the students to consider the four ways of looking and reflect on the class discussions about the pieces.


    Key concepts- Creativity;- Producing imaginative images, artefacts and other outcomes that are both original and of value.

    - Critical understanding;- Engaging with ideas, images and artefacts, and identifying how values and meanings are conveyed.

    - Analysing and reflecting on work from diverse contexts.

    Key processes- Explore and create;- Develop ideas and intentions by working from first-hand observation, experience, inspiration, imagination and other sources,

    - Investigate how to express and realise ideas using formal elements and the qualities of a range of media,

    - Draw to express perception and invention, to communicate feelings, experiences and ideas, and for pleasure.


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    Benefits Of This Exercise

    This activity will encourage the young people to think about communicating and making fresh connections between ideas and experiences. By being imaginative, students should be able to surprise and engage audiences creating new access points into the Visual Art.

    Activity Description

    How can meaning be suggested in the smallest possible sentence?

    1. Looking at the example below, ask the young people to write and design signs for Butterfly Catchers and The Lady of Shalott.

    2. The signs should specifically relate to the theme of gender and identity.

    3. How could signs be used to encourage an audience to consider the theme and elements of the subject, meaning or context?


    Key concepts:- Creativity: - Making fresh connections between ideas, experiences, texts and words, drawing on a rich experience of language and literature.

    - Experimenting with language, manipulating form, challenging conventions and reinterpreting ideas.

    - Using imagination to create effects to surprise and engage the audience.

    - Using creative approaches to answering questions, solving problems and developing ideas.

    Key processes:- Writing- write imaginatively, creatively and thoughtfully, producing texts that interest, engage and challenge the reader

    - present information and ideas on complex subjects concisely, logically and persuasively

    - draw on their reading and knowledge of linguistic and literary forms when composing their writing.


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    DoNT juDGE A Book BY ITs CovER

    Benefits Of This Exercise

    This activity will encourage the young people to thinks about how different people live in the UK and how the role of being a woman in society has changed over time. Through interpreting and analysing the two works students can identify different values, ideas and viewpoints while recognising bias in todays society.

    Activity Description

    In many industrial towns and cities, such as around the Falls Road in Belfast, there are many areas of terraced houses. All of these houses look more or less identical from the outside but on the inside are full of the occupants gender and identity. If the Lady of Shalott and the women from Hannah Starkeys Butterfly Catchers both lived in identical terraced houses how would their identities and gender be represented on the interior?

    1. Ask the students to design and make the interior of each womans home and list what the character would do on a daily basis.

    2. While students are carrying out this activity encourage groups to discuss the differences between the homes and the womens roles. Ask them to question why these changes have taken place over time.

    3. This activity can be used as an access point to discuss how people are often judged by the clothes they wear or where they live.


    Key concepts- Identities and diversity: living together in the UK; - Appreciating that identities are complex, can change over time and are informed by different understandings of what it means to be a citizen in the UK.

    - Exploring the diverse national, regional, ethnic and religious cultures, groups and communities in the UK and the connections between them.

    - Exploring community cohesion and the different forces that bring about change in communities over time.

    Key processes- Critical thinking and enquiry- Interpret and analyse critically sources used, identifying different values, ideas and viewpoints and recognising bias

    - Evaluate different viewpoints, exploring connections and relationships between viewpoints and actions in different contexts (from local to global).


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    Teaching Materials

  • Hannah Starkey Butterfly Catchers 1999 William Maw Egley The Lady of Shalott 1858

    ThE woRks

  • On either side the river lie Long fields of barley and of rye, That clothe the world and meet the sky; And thro' the field the road runs by To many-tower'd Camelot; And up and down the people go, Gazing where the lilies blow Round an island there below, The island of Shalott.

    Willows whiten, aspens quiver, Little breezes dusk and shiver Through the wave that runs for ever By the island in the river Flowing down to Camelot. Four grey walls, and four grey towers, Overlook a space of flowers, And the silent isle imbowers The Lady of Shalott.

    By the margin, willow veil'd, Slide the heavy barges trail'd By slow horses; and unhail'd The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd Skimming down to Camelot: But who hath seen her wave her hand? Or at the casement seen her stand? Or is she known in all the land, The Lady of Shalott?

    Only reapers, reaping early, In among the bearded barley Hear a song that echoes cheerly From the river winding clearly; Down to tower'd Camelot; And by the moon the reaper weary,

    Piling sheaves in uplands airy, Listening, whispers, "'Tis the fairy Lady of Shalott."

    There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay. She has heard a whisper say, A curse is on her if she stay To look down to Camelot. She knows not what the curse may be, And so she weaveth steadily, And little other care hath she, The Lady of Shalott.

    And moving through a mirror clear That hangs before her all the year, Shadows of the world appear. There she sees the highway near Winding down to Camelot; There the river eddy whirls, And there the surly village churls, And the red cloaks of market girls Pass onward from Shalott.

    Sometimes a troop of damsels glad, An abbot on an ambling pad, Sometimes a curly shepherd lad, Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad Goes by to tower'd Camelot; And sometimes through the mirror blue The knights come riding two and two. She hath no loyal Knight and true, The Lady of Shalott.

    But in her web she still delights To weave the mirror's magic sights, For often through the silent nights

    TENNYsoNs the lady of shallot

    A funeral, with plumes and lights And music, went to Camelot; Or when the Moon was overhead, Came two young lovers lately wed. "I am half sick of shadows," said The Lady of Shalott.

    A bow-shot from her bower-eaves, He rode between the barley sheaves, The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves, And flamed upon the brazen greaves Of bold Sir Lancelot. A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd To a lady in his shield, That sparkled on the yellow field, Beside remote Shalott.

    The gemmy bridle glitter'd free, Like to some branch of stars we see Hung in the golden Galaxy. The bridle bells rang merrily As he rode down to Camelot: And from his blazon'd baldric slung A mighty silver bugle hung, And as he rode his armor rung Beside remote Shalott.

    All in the blue unclouded weather Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather, The helmet and the helmet-feather Burn'd like one burning flame together, As he rode down to Camelot. As often thro' the purple night, Below the starry clusters bright, Some bearded meteor, burning bright, Moves over still Shalott.

  • His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd; On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode; From underneath his helmet flow'd His coal-black curls as on he rode, As he rode down to Camelot. From the bank and from the river He flashed into the crystal mirror, "Tirra lirra," by the river Sang Sir Lancelot.

    She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces through the room, She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot. Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror crack'd from side to side; "The curse is come upon me," cried The Lady of Shalott.

    In the stormy east-wind straining, The pale yellow woods were waning, The broad stream in his banks complaining. Heavily the low sky raining Over tower'd Camelot; Down she came and found a boat Beneath a willow left afloat, And around about the prow she wrote The Lady of Shalott.

    And down the river's dim expanse Like some bold seer in a trance, Seeing all his own mischance -- With a glassy countenance Did she look to Camelot. And at the closing of the day She loosed the chain, and down she lay;

    The broad stream bore her far away, The Lady of Shalott.

    Lying, robed in snowy white That loosely flew to left and right -- The leaves upon her falling light -- Thro' the noises of the night, She floated down to Camelot: And as the boat-head wound along The willowy hills and fields among, They heard her singing her last song, The Lady of Shalott.

    Heard a carol, mournful, holy, Chanted loudly, chanted lowly, Till her blood was frozen slowly, And her eyes were darkened wholly, Turn'd to tower'd Camelot. For ere she reach'd upon the tide The first house by the water-side, Singing in her song she died, The Lady of Shalott.

    Under tower and balcony, By garden-wall and gallery, A gleaming shape she floated by, Dead-pale between the houses high, Silent into Camelot. Out upon the wharfs they came, Knight and Burgher, Lord and Dame, And around the prow they read her name, The Lady of Shalott.

    Who is this? And what is here? And in the lighted palace near Died the sound of royal cheer; And they crossed themselves for fear,

    All the Knights at Camelot; But Lancelot mused a little space He said, "She has a lovely face; God in his mercy lend her grace, The Lady of Shalott."