Learning resources

Art is a tool that can help us make sense of the world around us. Teachers told us that education and art have 3 key things in common: they help us develop a sense of self; they help us to think and they help to keep us well. We've gathered resources under these 3 headings to inspire children and young people to develop a positive sense of self, think for themselves, stay well and grow their creativity skills (problem solving, imagination, curiosity and open mindedness).

Health & Wellbeing

Health & Wellbeing

Visual language is a powerful form of communication that can help us connect, express feelings or ideas and develop our mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing. These resources explore the health benefits of art in a variety of ways: from the science behind how art helps us feel good, to slowing down, noticing and making sense of the world around us.  

Can art be good for you?

Find out what’s happening in our brain when we look at and make art.

Outdoor learning

Motivate learners to engage with their natural heritage with these 10 simple challenges that can be used in any outdoor space with any age group.

Jenny Saville | Life through a microscope

Artist Jenny talks about the connection between art and life, what inspires her and whether art should be beautiful.

What is Expressionism?

This short film outlines the work of artists who valued feelings above all else. Contains reference to suicide.

What is Surrealism

Find out about this group of artists who believed that art should come from the unconscious mind.

How to look at art

We all see things differently. These resources offer simple prompts to start a conversation about any artwork, with learners of all ages.

Your Art World

Your Art World

Your Art World is an online community by and for 3 to 18-year-olds: a place to think, wonder, create and share your art online. Find resources and open-ended challenges to inspire critical thinking, play and individual voice.

Self Identity

Self Identity

These resources look beyond visual appearance, to question who we are and who we could become. A self-portrait can reveal so much more than the way we look. What shapes who we are and how we see ourselves?

What is a portrait?

What is a Portrait? A Likeness? A connection between 2 people? Inspire your own class discussion by listening to artists, gallery staff and visitors describing what a portrait is to them.

Scottish Identity: Who decides who we are?

This resource invites teachers to use images from the National Galleries of Scotland collection, such as Monarch of the Glen, as tools to encourage Creativity Skills and interdisciplinary learning.

Careers in the visual arts

These short films aim to raise awareness of jobs within the visual arts and support pupils to make informed choices based on their skills, strengths and preferences.

Why are there so few female artists?

This short film explores why you’re likely to see more men than women in galleries and could lead into an exploration of who else is missing.

Scotland’s Art The Celtic Revival

Learn how the ancient past has inspired artists, in this short film.

Critical Thinking & Making

Critical Thinking & Making

Creativity and employability are linked. Children and young people need opportunities to take ownership of their own learning and thinking if they are to thrive in our rapidly changing world and in the work place. These resources offer practical activities and discussion topics that encourage learners to think for themselves and develop their creativity skills: curiosity, open-mindedness, problem-solving and harnessing imagination.

Good art | Who decides?

This resource uses philosophical inquiry to explore ideas about art and value.

Does a portrait need a face?

This resource uses philosophical inquiry to explore ideas about identity and portraiture. 

The beauty of maths

This resource aims to inspire learning about maths, through art. 

What is art for?

Use this short film as a starting point to explore your class ideas about art.

How to create your visual voice

This short film suggests three practical ways for learners to express their views and beliefs effectively and protest issues or injustice in the world. Contains reference to school shootings.

Learning through pictures

Whether you want to introduce a new topic, encourage literacy or personalise learning, art postcards can be used in many ways across the curriculum.

10 things to do in a gallery

Nobody else sees art the way you do. Here are 10 ideas to help you look and start a conversation.

Who decides the value of art?

What do your pupils consider valuable? This short film introduces the idea that there is more than monetary value influencing our views.

Scotland and chattel slavery through art

This resource is inspired by the artwork Lessons of the Hour by Isaac Julien. His artwork is informed by research on chattel slavery, and in particular, the life of formerly enslaved, influential anti-slavery activist and philosopher Frederick Douglass.

Make and Resist

Art activities inspired by artists of colour. This learning resource considers how art can be a useful tool for understanding injustices, thinking about and making the changes we want to see in society.

How to experiment

Artists experiment to find their own unique way to use materials, whether they use paint, food, old junk or something else. These short videos share some experiments with cardboard, ink, pencil, 3D or things you find outdoors.

Art around you

Art activities for children of all ages and stages to look at, talk about and make their own discoveries about art, at home. 

What makes an artwork iconic?

Consider how something controversial can become accepted and popular, in this short film.

What is...?

In this series we explore the styles, schools and movemenths that have shaped modern and contemporary art.

Art & artists

Art & artists

Dig deeper into the world of art and artists with these short films, biographies and articles.

Explore Art & Artists

Artist A-Z

Browse over a thousand highlighted artists from the collection.

Contemporary Art in Scotland

What do we mean when we talk about Contemporary Art?


Our online art glossary provides context for the terminology used on our site. Explore over 50 terms and discover related artists and artworks.

What is...?

A series of accessible short films introducing art terms, movements & styles including: the Avant-garde, Cubism, Dada, Expressionism, Impressionism, Pop Art, Surrealism and Symbolism.

Questions about Art

In this series of five films we explore some frequent musings about art - using questions asked by our audiences. What makes a painting iconic? Why aren't there more female artists? Why can’t I touch artworks ?

Artist In Profile

These videos aim to give an insight into the spaces where artists create their work, and the places that inspire them.

ARTIST ROOMS Learning resources

ARTIST ROOMS Learning resources

ARTIST ROOMS is a collection of modern and contemporary art and includes major bodies of work by more than 40 international artists. These Learning resources are for teachers, educators and students working with the ARTIST ROOMS collection.

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Art UK Learning Resources

Art UK Learning Resources

Art UK is the online home for every public collection in the UK. Their learning resources are designed to support learning across the primary and secondary curriculum. One of their Superpower of Looking lessons focuses on Velázquez's An Old Woman Cooking Eggs from the National Galleries of Scotland collection.

Learning & Engagement contact details

If you're looking for more information on our learning programmes, please get in touch with our team who will be happy to advise and help plan your group visit.

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