STUDENT STORIES 2022-12-02T12:29:35+00:00

Student and other stories

Other stories:

“This was one of the most engaged, lively, and intellectually curious group of students it has been my privilege to work with, anywhere, ever. The desire for informed looking, closer looking, deeper looking, which lies at the heart of art history shone off them all like an aura, and as always happens with the best teaching experiences the teacher learned as much as the students… these students were fearless enough to home in on the most meaningful and also the most difficult questions; those are the killer questions that specialists in every field have, but that we have all agreed not to ask each other, because we don’t really know the answers.  We need that fearlessness, and that intellectual curiosity.”
– Craig Clunas, Professor Emeritus of the History of Art, University of Oxford and Art History Link-Up volunteer lecturer

“By opening up the gallery to these students, Art History Link-Up fosters a unique learning environment in which the subject truly comes to life! I have no doubt that this experience will continue to positively impact students’ future professional and personal development. The work championed by AHLU is essential in the movement to promote art history as a subject that is accessible for all young people.”
– Laura House, Art History Link-Up teacher

“Working with Art History Link-Up has been a really inspiring experience for me. As a teaching assistant, I’ve been amazed at the way our students have grasped the opportunity to learn with both hands. It’s been a great pleasure for me to help young people make connections with each other and with professionals in the field, to gain transferable skills which will help them in all areas of life, and perhaps most importantly to develop an appreciation of art which will last a lifetime.”
– Jack Dunleavy, Art History Link-Up teaching assistant

“I’m incredibly proud to have been working with Art History Link-Up since 2016.   It has been wonderful to follow the journey of these young people – many of whom had never have visited a museum of gallery before – and watch them grow in confidence and skill.  Not only does the course give the students the tools to interrogate still and silent objects, it opens up their mind to experience the world in new ways, fostering a life-long love of art along the way. What could be better than that?”
– Anne Fay, former Head of Education, The Wallace Collection

“My son was desperate to study Art History at A Level, but it was not available in any of the state schools around us. He researched and found AHLU. The website gave clear information and, despite being in London, we thought it would be a fantastic way for him to do the A Level. The teaching was superb throughout and he benefited from the support at Homework Club. Once the COVID restrictions lifted, having lessons at the National Gallery made them even more enjoyable and informative. There were plenty of opportunities to see great works of art in person and meet young people with same interest and passion for art that he has. He has made a great group of friends. The work he did for Art History supported his other A levels as well. He was very enthusiastic about doing his EPQ in his first year, especially as this allowed him to choose an area of research that inspired him. AHLU found an amazing mentor for him. This has given him an extra qualification and a greater insight into one of his favourite artists.

Being part of AHLU wasn’t just a way to achieve a qualification. Throughout the course he was signposted to other events, activities and opportunities around the subject. He was encouraged to enter competitions, do work experience with Art UK and managed to do a week of Summer University at the Courtauld Institute of Art. His time at AHLU was one of his best times. The staff are amazing. I would recommend AHLU to anyone without any hesitation. If anyone ever asks about support for students with Special Needs, I can say that his confidence grew in leaps and bounds when he was with you. I think there is one word that describes AHLU and their staff—AMAZING!! Thank you for all you did and still do.”
– Parent of former AHLU student

Student stories:

“AHLU has massively influenced my love and passion for art, I am able to more fully understand the work I look at. It has been so inspiring and I couldn’t have got such depth of knowledge about so many different themes, time periods and artists in any other way. It has massively impacted and aided my understanding of what I want to do with my life.” 

“Art History has made me feel more confident in not only talking about the arts but experiencing them…It’s THE reason I want to become a cinematographer, as I’ve learned to appreciate the power of visual art and really want to make some now : )

This course has given me the tools I need to analyse works of art, and has given me a whole new understanding of history. Not only has it helped me gain a much bigger world view of art and culture, it has also taught me things that had not been touched upon in school otherwise.” 

I just wanted to say a massive thank you for being such amazing teachers! You not only taught me art history but inspired, cheered me up and helped me be more confident! For that I shall always remember the past 2 years with joy.

I always knew I had an interest in art history but my time with AHLU has really helped to confirm that it’s something I want to study at university and beyond. It has also been really helpful to listen to people who have found a career in art history, as it has made my goals seem more achievable and made me want to work harder to reach them.

Before beginning the course I definitely felt like a career in the art world was off limits for me – as somebody with no previous connections to anybody in the art sector and no previous art-based education, I had basically accepted that it would not be an option for me. However, after meeting so many lovely people from so many different backgrounds I see that there are many different pathways into the sector, and such a wide variety of creative jobs to choose from.” 

The Christie’s career event was very helpful in terms of showing how each speaker reached their career path. This made my desired career seem much more attainable than before and gave me the confidence to apply to study an art course this year.

As a person who aspires to be a teacher, my time with AHLU has really motivated me in my aim to be equally as passionate and engaging. The teachers gave us exceptional time and attention which made us feel especially recognised and addressed as individuals which make up the group, rather than just a group which is spoken to, as classrooms in schools can sometimes feel like. To me, this was very outstanding considering the barrier of online teaching which the teachers at AHLU were able to not only overcome, but also use to benefit our time in class, such as by using breakout rooms so that each student could spend more time sharing their input and ideas. This was very inspiring to me and I hope that as a teacher I would also be able to make students feel equally involved and important as we have felt at AHLU.

“Coming to class every Saturday has made me feel more alive. The simplest element of it (coming to the National Gallery) has expanded my sense of freedom in the best possible way, and this particular course has made London – and the world – feel all the more magical. Studying for the EPQ has massively improved my analytical skills, which has benefited me in my A Levels, particularly English and History. All the opportunities AHLU has provided us are definitely appreciated for their uniqueness and their benefits – I know I would never otherwise be able to experience them.”

“Being an AHLU student has changed my life, both as a student and as a person interested in art, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have been granted such an opportunity. Thank you AHLU!”

“I quit my Saturday job to be able to come to this course and I have no regrets. This course has changed my life and I’m totally in love with Art History.”

“I came into the programme not knowing what to expect, and I was completely blown away as to the breadth and depth of artists, cultures, movements and histories I have been exposed to. Likewise, the EPQ was a great opportunity for me to research artworks that I resonate with, and my mentor has helped me through the whole process. It is so helpful to have a mentor that is an expert in the field I am researching- I know students taking EPQs at my school don’t have anything like this!”

“Art History has changed the way I view art, culture and the world around me. I am able to appreciate buildings, paintings and the works that previously would have been dismissed. At school I study Biology, Chemistry and Art, so for me Art History gives a chance to study in-depth culture and history, which I am not able to do at school It has also informed my own work in art and inspired me to pursue an art foundation.”

“Taking part in the AHLU course has had a major positive impact on my life and has been one of the best things I have ever chosen to be a part of. Although I had always known that Art History was something that I was interested in, I was never really aware that it was something that I could actively study until I joined Art History Link-Up. As a result of taking part in this course, I have been afforded many amazing opportunities that I would have never experienced otherwise – such as taking part in work experience with the Geffrye Museum and working alongside groups such as HENI Talks.”

“I love my Art History classes at AHLU, they’ve completely leveled up my Saturdays from being sit-arounds to something insanely productive and honestly valuable. It’s not a club, it’s quality education. Not only are we all bonding together voluntarily to learn something we love, we’re also in the heart of it at a location like The National Gallery. It’s not a simple opportunity, and the organisers and teachers take it upon themselves to make it the best experience for you. I can’t wait to continue for another year.”

“Art History helped me immensely within other areas of my studies. I was able to work on building upon my analytical approach to art and the way I comprehended things visually, which helped immensely within school. I also found that I was able to approach my work in a very different way and that applying critical thinking to everything I did had become something of a second nature where it had not been before.

“Through studying Art History, I was able to find that it was something I had a real passion for and that led me to begin seriously consider continuing on with the subject in the future. Although I plan on attending Central Saint Martins to study Performance: Design and Practice for my Bachelors Degree, I would like to progress on to study Art History at Masters level and continue studying the subject within the future wherever I am able – which is not something I am sure I would have decided if I hadn’t taken part in this course.”

“Art History helped me with my other subjects – Art, History and English – with my analytical skills, as well as changing the way I looked at art and everyday life around me for the better. Not only did I get the opportunity to enter a new world, I got to gain confidence and opportunities and feel part of a community. Moving forwards, it has led me to realise that I definitely want to pursue a career in the arts – either in the arts and design sector, or by following the Art History path at university.”

“This course was absolutely amazing. It didn’t feel like school, in fact the gallery setting really juxtaposed with my school in the most positive of ways and coming to class always felt like a relief. It was a wonderful environment and being surrounded by examples of art really helped me understand what I was being taught.”

“The course has helped me with all my other subjects and has opened my eyes to the skills and complexity involved in art and architecture: I now see the world in a different way.”

“All the lessons are enjoyable, and I look forward to coming each week: not only have Saturday mornings become one of my favourite days but I now know how to analyse art which is so fun!”

“Some of the best things about the course were getting to see actual paintings and other works of art in the flesh.”

“I expected to be taught art history by someone old and posh but the teachers are actually amazing: the course was not at all what I expected to be.”

“I am now considering History of Art and Design at university – I probably wasn’t going to apply before – and am also looking at relevant apprenticeship opportunities.”

“I have countless mates who, when seeing what I am doing for Art History, are surprised and wish they could have chosen it too. I have loved studying History of Art this year and am so pleased with my exam results!”

“I have found Art History Link-Up to be a godsend. My state school didn’t offer art history at AS level and I was over the moon to find out about this course. With the teaching and support of a range of highly qualified teachers and professionals, this fast-track course has brought joy to my Saturdays. The content is so interesting and relevant to today, that you can’t help but look at art in a better light from the start! With the knowledge gained, I can examine paintings and architecture with an increased sense of understanding, broadening my cultural knowledge and comprehension. With the addition of this prestigious subject to my CV, I am in a better position to apply to University, knowing I have that extra something to stand out from the crowd.”

“I wasn’t really sure what Art History was, and what we would be doing in the course, but applied wanting to learn more about art and broaden my horizons to topics that aren’t offered in most schools. Art History turned out to link really well with my subjects – Art, English Literature and History. The variety of works and themes we have explored so far, and the depth that we have gone into, especially in such a short space of time, is astounding, and I come to class every week really excited to learn something new about an artist, style or technique. A complex subject has been taught in a way that has been easy to understand and follow along with, and I really look forward to the rest of the course!”

“This course has helped me realise that I would love Art History to be a major part of my career. Sharing ideas and opinions has never felt more comfortable, with a vibrant and cheerful energy at every lesson.”

“I have found this course really useful, Art History has opened up a huge road for me into the art world. It is a great pleasure to come into a gallery setting and study art history: you feel like a VIP. I love being surrounded by enthusiastic people who also love art, and being encouraged to express my opinions. And that there is always food!”

“I used to think that Art History was the dullest thing ever, and not at all relevant to me, and laughed at the idea of studying it, but now I am actually considering a joint degree! The course has really helped my analytical skills and essay writing. It is amazing to be able to talk about art with other people and new friends in a non-boring and inspiring non-school environment and to see works of art in real life. Sign up right now!”

“I found this course through a series of happy accidents. I initially took part in ARTiculation, then the Courtauld Institute Summer University, then found this course.  I immediately fell in love with the course and continue to be blown away by Art History! ”

“Being able to learn about Art History, on a course not available at my school, being surrounded by great works of art in the galleries, and surrounded by like-minded and enthusiastic people, has massively deepened my interest in this subject!”

“The classes have given me more confidence to express my own opinions on art and also to listen to other people’s views that I may not have seen myself: I am so surprised by how much I have learnt in such a small space of time!”

“I took the Art History course in Y13 as an additional AS and so far this has been the subject I enjoy the most. The best part is actually seeing many of the works of art that we are studying, giving me incredible insights and a new perspective on every aspect of my life.”

“Taking part in this Art History course has been an immensely rewarding experience, giving me a new outlook on the world, and on art, that I am so thankful for and has aided me in my other studies. I will be forever grateful for the knowledge and opportunities that the Art History course has given me!”

“I never really thought about studying Art History, but having the chance to study Art History inside the walls of London’s most beautiful galleries has opened my eyes and mind to things that we tend to miss at first glance: Art Historians have all the juicy secrets! Art History is not taught in many schools, so this opportunity is very unique and rewarding. This course has made it easier for me to walk through a gallery and identify what style a piece is, and what characteristics give it away…it’s like being the Sherlock of Art History! ”

“I never thought that I would like Art History but this course has truly changed the way I see the world around me and my life, influencing me greatly in my plans for University, where I now intend to take a joint honours degree in the subject. The course is fun and a great way to spend my Saturday afternoons: thank you so much for making this opportunity possible for me.”
Dr Lydia Syson, RLF Writing Fellow at The Courtauld Institute of Art

“I am very happy that our programme of outreach classes will have such a direct and immediate positive outcome: I wish Art History Link-Up great success”.
Pontus Rosén, former Chief Executive of the Association for Art History