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February 27th 2017

Wollstonecraft Programme - How 'divine' was the Modernist movement?

Inspired by the growing interest in all things vintage, this enrichment course for our Senior girls explores the new ideas which developed out of the carnage of the First World War as people reflected on the world around them. This is where the cult of celebrity and the ‘it’ crowd developed. Students discover what life was like for young people in the early twentieth century, as the changing social and political beliefs, combined with a desire to transform society, influenced art, literature, music and fashion.

The course looks at how women’s fashions changed after World War One, as their style loosened, skirts got shorter and, thanks to Coco Chanel, trousers for women were in for the first time. We look at the new moves on the dance floor as jazz and the Charleston make their way across the Atlantic, perhaps even having a go ourselves. The built environment we live in today was largely shaped by Modernism. The buildings we inhabit, the chairs we sit on, the graphic design that surrounds us have all been created by the aesthetics and the ideology of Modernist design. The students take inspiration from these artists and design their own art deco building. Intellectuals and artists at the turn of the century believed the previous generation’s way of doing things was a cultural dead end. As the twentieth century moved forward, a greater variety of literary voices won the struggle to be heard. We explore who these ‘new voices’ were, and what they were saying. The course finishes with the creation of an exhibition using the evidence and ideas from the previous lessons to consider the question, ‘How radical was the Modernist movement?’

Ms Parsons
History Teacher


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