The Brunel 200 year enabled thousands of people in Bristol and across the South West to learn about the life and work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel through diverse formal and informal learning opportunities. This learning journey was a remarkable one, Brunel as a personality and historical figure captivated children of all ages, stimulating debate and investigation across the curriculum. Brunel’s legacy as a great Victorian polymath provided numerous dimensions to involve a wide spectrum of schools, colleges and learning groups. This fed into the sense of an exciting and inclusive community celebration that crossed many boundaries.
In Bristol, with our rich physical Brunel heritage, we were able to encourage visits to Brunel’s ss Great Britain and Clifton Suspension Bridge the Old Station at the Empire Commonwealth Museum and exhibition at the City Museum and Art Gallery as well as trails around the harbour. The success of these visits was many-fold, introducing new schools to the potential for learning through a close up experience of Brunel’s work. It resulted in further learning in schools and set the scene for our ambitious residencies programme encouraging creative exploration through Brunel, his life, work and legacy.
The Brunel 200 educational programme was developed with much valued advice from Creative Partnerships, link teachers and a wide range of creative practitioners, museum staff and Brunel experts. The following report reviews developments that took place between October 2005 and September 2006.
The key educational aim was:
To work creatively with learners of all ages and abilities enabling access to a wide range of learning opportunities within the Brunel 200 year.
• To bring Brunel alive for learners today through an experience of his legacy
• To raise awareness of and increase access to our local heritage
• To inspire the young Brunels of the future
• To nurture original thinking and innovative work
• To encourage collaborative working between groups of learners
• To foster industry involvement
The aim was to use the many different dimensions of Brunel to make links to the curriculum eg: