Self-portraiture looks at self-representation, how artists want to perceived, the changing styles and continuing traditions of artistic representation, as well as cultural identity, the gaze and technical skill.

It is a good theme for Art and Design at all levels in school and college including GCSE, GCE and the Diploma in Creative and Media. It is good as a basis for running adult practical art workshops and courses. It can work well with ESOL learners (looking at and talking about myself), as well as adults and children with emotional difficulties.


A good example: Self Portrait UK

In the summer of 2002 until February 2003, people from all regions of the United Kingdom started taking part in a Channel 4 funded project Self Portrait UK – a national campaign aimed at encouraging people to present themselves as they really want to be seen.


The diversity of people who participated was huge – from 88-year-olds to school children, from artists to celebrities. With snapshots, paintings, drawings, text and video, thousands of people used all kinds of media to create a self-portrait that revealed their unique identity, imagination and individuality.


The campaign was kick-started in Newcastle with the launch of a series of self-portraits by celebrities to encourage and inspire people to take part. A selection of self-portraits was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London and then toured to the National Gallery and Museum in Cardiff, Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, Manchester Art Gallery and Ormeau Baths, Belfast in 2003/04.

Visit the Channel 4 Self Portrait UK site >>



Return to ‘Themes around learning with portraiture’