Crossing the frontiers of learning: Hadrian’s Wall setting of new online learning resource

The Frontiers of the Roman Empire UNESCO World Heritage Site has become the focus of a new online art and design learning resource.

The Wall Face project, an exhibition featuring 11 Roman attractions and the archaeologists and antiquarians that decoded the secrets of Hadrian’s Wall, has led this initiative to put the site on the education agenda. The £124,000 project has been funded by Arts Council England’s Renaissance Strategic Support programme and overseen by a partnership of heritage organisations.

Wall Face education consultant Yvonne Conchie said, “Romans are the usual subject studied on Hadrian’s Wall by schools, but we want to encourage teachers to remember that learning right across the curriculum and age ranges can be illuminated by Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.”

The resource is aimed at Key Stage Three students, encouraging them to think about the relationship between art and heritage. Key themes will include human legacy and the ideas they express through lighting, subject and object choices. The project deliberately shifts the traditional focus of the site away from Roman art history; making links with contemporary experience: “For some of the students I’ve interviewed, the most interesting element was the contemporary resonance of empires, conflict and frontiers. It’s made them think about boundaries through time, and compare the impact of Hadrian’s Wall on the UK with the Berlin Wall and Gaza, for example.”

The Wall Face exhibition was the first exhibition organised jointly by the partnership of heritage organisations across Hadrian’s Wall. The partnership now includes Northumberland National Park Authority and is planning a major Wall-wide exhibition for 2017, Hadrian’s Cavalry, with funding from Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund.