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Pirniehall Primary School: Art Gallery Project

A joint project between Pirniehall Primary School, City Art Centre, Museums Galleries Scotland and Developing the Young Workforce.

A group of children looking at pictures hung on a white wall.

The project

The key aims of this project were:

  • To enable pupils to learn new creative skills for future employability in the arts sector through a series of hands-on workshops with an artist.
  • To highlight the range of exciting, varied roles behind the scenes in an art gallery.
  • To boost confidence of young people through participating in the Hi5 Award with Youth Scotland.

We worked with 24 pupils from P6 at Pirniehall Primary School in Edinburgh.

We launched the project at the City Art Centre. Pupils had the opportunity to explore the exhibitions, in particular ‘Paul Duke: No Ruined Stone’, which featured a series of photographs of Muirhouse – an area in North Edinburgh local to many of the pupils. This was followed by a collage workshop where the young people were invited to create their own artworks with 1-to-1 guidance from an artist.

For the pupils second visit to the gallery, we arranged a Q&A with City Art Centre staff in different roles – Curator, Front-of-House Supervisor, and Technician. This gave the class an insight into different roles through asking questions about pathways into the sector and finding out what the varying jobs involve. This was followed by an exciting printmaking workshop that pupils really enjoyed.

We asked pupils what artistic skills and styles they would like to learn for sessions 3 and 4. The group decided on abstract art and 3D clay modelling and the workshops took place in their classroom with Hannah, the artist. The results were fantastic and after the workshops pupils developed their own PowerPoint resource about abstract art to teach to other pupils.

Over the course of the project the class learned about different artists and styles, roles within an art gallery, and discovered new creative techniques. The class have been working towards a Hi5 Award as part of their learning.

To culminate the project, the class will put on an art exhibition that will be held in their classroom for family and teachers to visit in May, 2023.

P6 will receive art materials funded by Museums Galleries Scotland to enable them to continue creative learning in class once the project is complete.

Primary 6 had a fantastic time experiencing an art gallery setting and getting to create their own artwork. They were proud to invite their families to their own exhibit and share their creativity.

P6 Teacher

Challenges and successes

  • The children gained transferrable employment skills that will be useful for future careers, particularly in the cultural sector. Many of the pupils felt confident that they had learned new techniques, as well as confident in their knowledge of different roles within an art gallery. This will hopefully have a positive effect on the diversity of the heritage workforce in the future.
  • Educational legacy – Pupils created their own PowerPoint resource about abstract art that can be used to teach other students in the future.
  • The school is located out-with Edinburgh city centre so a challenge could be getting families to and from the City Art Centre for an exhibition. Thus, we decided it best to host a classroom exhibition to round off the project and display artwork for family members and teachers to celebrate the young people’s efforts, thus boosting their self-esteem.
  • Taking part in the Hi5 Awards enabled pupils to feel empowered in their abilities. Many pupils were excited about receiving a certificate at the end of the project.

The impact it has made

  • Having 1-to-1 guidance from an artist throughout the project has been a unique experience. Pirniehall Primary do not have the benefit of a visiting art specialist so this was very exciting for the group and definitely had a positive impact on their emotional wellbeing.
  • Having the opportunity to visit an art gallery in the city centre was a special and inspiring experience.
  • There has been a positive impact on the children’s perception of the City Art Centre, helping to reduce some of the barriers for them in visiting the gallery in the future.
  • Through this project, the City Art Centre has strengthened its relationship with Pirniehall Primary School, one of our core target schools. We will keep up this connection through future events and projects.


Taking a co-production approach to this project meant that the young people were able to voice their opinions and choose the kind of techniques and art styles that they were interested in learning about. This meant that pupils were engaged throughout.

Useful resources

This project was part of Workforce for the Future. To discuss Workforce for the Future contact:

Pirniehall Primary School: Art Gallery Project
(PDF, 322 KB)