Confederation Centre Launches Virtual Exhibition - Telling Stories -Narratives of Nationhood

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The bilingual Telling website, located at http://www.nationhood.ca, consists of 4,000 digitized works of art from Canadian gallery collections and 400 complementary lesson plans. Designed for Canadian teachers, students from kindergarten to Grade 12, and the general public, the site uses symbols and icons in Canadian artworks to teach viewers about Canadian history and heritage, identity, culture, geography, and politics. Works from Robert Harris are just one of the many famous art items available for viewing.

The Confederation Centre Art Gallery launched its second virtual exhibition, Telling Stories: Narratives of Nationhood, today at the Atlantic Technology Centre.

The bilingual Telling Stories: Narratives of Nationhood website, located at http://www.nationhood.ca, consists of 4,000 digitized works of art from Canadian gallery collections and 400 complementary lesson plans developed by 16 educators from Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Designed for use by Canadian teachers, students from kindergarten to Grade 12, and the general public, the site uses symbols and icons in Canadian artworks to teach viewers about Canadian history and heritage, identity, culture, geography, and politics.

“The story of Canada is told by many voices, and in many ways it is a story that is constantly changing,” says Jon Tupper, director of the Art Gallery. “This country is made up of diverse regions, communities and individuals, each with their own story of what Canada is. It is this collage of identities that has come to represent Canada, and nowhere is this more evident than in the cultural expression of our artists. Telling Stories looks at how art reflects our society and how it interprets and responds to the important ideas and issues of our times.”

Telling Stories uses art in an educational context to raise awareness among Canadians, particularly youth, about the diversity of Canadian history and culture, to increase visual and media literacy, and to encourage critical thinking and self-expression. The site is designed with seven modules, each with works of art and lesson plans developed around a particular theme. Teachers can download or view the lesson plans and associated works of art, and use them to create educational and interesting hands-on activities for their students. A print version, developed in 1998 by gallery curator Shauna McCabe in collaboration with the P.E.I. Department of Education, is being used at the Grade 8 level in Island schools.

Education Minister Mildred Dover said PEI students and teachers were very pleased to be involved in the development of lesson plans for the exhibition. “New technologies are making art a much more powerful and popular teaching and learning medium,” said the minister. “The virtual exhibition is a fine example of how technology and collaboration can be used to innovate learning in our schools and communities. We are very excited about how this project will enrich learning for Islanders and all Canadians.”

The Confederation Centre Art Gallery acknowledges its partners the P.E.I. Department of Education and the Atlantic Technology Centre, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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Tracey Allen