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UK: Language learning inspires art exhibit

Language Testing 123 – a Cambridge-based English language training (ELT) consultancy group –has launched a language focused art exhibition to inspire learning through art and image. It has also opened the gallery to host ELT students in sessions where they learn through creating images.

Iranian born artist Abbas Hashemi, using Farsi to depict language and image

Six artists put words into pictures and pictures into words

“Generally I think teachers and writers often tend to associate language learning with words and see pictures as little more than course book illustrations”

‘Language Unlimited’ showcases artists from different educational and cultural backgrounds commissioned  by Language Testing 123 to compose images inspired by language and the question: what could happen if they stopped taking language for granted?

What resulted were six artists putting words into pictures and pictures into words.

“I suggested that words or letters or expressions might become sufficiently opaque or colourful as to become images in themselves,” Russell Whitehead, Director of Language Testing 123 , told The PIE News. “Because of their [the artists’] interest and involvement in learning and cultures, I knew they would engage with the challenge.”

Artists included Iranian born sculptor Abbas Hashemi whose portrait of a girl listening was composed entirely of Farsi words depicting poems his sister used to read to him in the 1930s.

Last week, around 20 Dutch, Chinese and French students from Bell English participated in an art session at the gallery giving them the opportunity to be creative while learning a language.

Art produced by language students at Language 123's art exhibit

Art produced by language students at Language Testing 123’s art exhibit

“Generally I think teachers and writers often tend to associate language learning with words and see pictures as little more than course book illustrations,” Whitehead said.

He added that Language Testing 123 plans to make these art and language sessions a regular feature. “Cambridge has several museums and galleries, so we have lots of scope to situate sessions in art spaces. I hope we will be able to develop a programme of such sessions.”

The exhibition will run from 17 October to 4 November at Williams Art gallery, between 7.30am to 6pm daily.

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