Critical Incidents

I completed my PGCE eightish years ago, one of the course work assignments was a journal of ten incidents and my reflections on them. We were told we could present them in any format we liked as long as we stuck to the word count. Being an art and design teacher, I made mine an illustrated scrapbook. My tutor was so in awe of it, she asked to keep hold of it when I finished my course.

Many a poor student had it inflicted on them over the following years, who my husband says must have considered it the work of a failed artist, and to those people I apologise, it is over the top, to say the least!

All these years later my journal ended up back in the art office and my old colleagues returned it to me. I enjoyed reminiscing and seeing my past self, I had forgotten a lot of the work that went into it.


It’s hard to share in pictures, there are so many interactive elements, but I have done my best.

The book starts with a portrait of me, based on one of my favorite paintings (I was a contextual studies teacher) I wonder if any of you can guess the painting? A clue: focus on my stance, not the backdrop! I think a prize might be in order for the first person who manages to guess correctly!


Issue 1 explores an incident in which one student attacks another. The notes and drawings are based on the life and work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the evidence bag is a real one, I sweet talked my way into a wodge of them when I was at Uni, the text is in the evidence bag.


Issue 2 is about re-enactment and teaching history, this page has lots of pull out flaps, and fold out diagrams, the pictures show me playing Emma Hamilton!



Issue 3 is based on my WW2 work, there are flaps that fold out at the side, every inch is covered with period images, some of photos are of my own relatives, the text is inside the envelope.


Issue 4, on the challenges of teaching fashion construction is printed on hand decorated fabric which I made into the dress shown on the left. Talk about time to kill!

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Issue 5 is based on an experiment I conducted to discover what impact what I wore had on how people reacted to me in the classroom


Issue 6 explores teaching numeracy in art and design

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Issue 7 is about teaching students what the industry is really like


Issue 8 is about history, fashion and fur


Issue 9 is based on a college trip to the V&A, the pages on the right fold in and down, the drawings and pictures are all my own, which I managed to complete in between stopping the students from setting fire to things in the gallery and hauling them out of McDonald’s

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Issue 10 talks about me learning a new skill knitting, and reflects on teaching traditional female crafts and women’s suffrage, I wrote a history of women’s suffrage on the yarn before knitting it, there is a picture of me, which I have misplaced, knitting this sample. I remember writing on the yarn between classes, it took ages, as you would expect.

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The whole book feels like a time capsule, from a place long ago and far away. somewhere I enjoyed revisiting.


About lholmes4keats

I have worked with Museums across the UK for the last ten years making costumes for exhibitions on everything from The Titanic to Tyrannosaurs. I have Run workshops and lectures on costume both nationally and internationally, my work has featured in exhibitions, films and theatre productions both nationally and internationally. In 2011 I curated The Needle is always at hand, an exhibition of dress based on Fanny Brawne's life while she lived at Keats House.
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