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Academic Engagement at Queen’s

Photo: Tim Forbes
Photo: Tim Forbes
Photo: Tim Forbes
Photo: Garrett Elliott
Photo: Liz Cooper


Agnes Etherington Art Centre is a research‐intensive art museum that serves as an active educational resource at Queen’s University. Our programs illuminate the great artistic traditions of the past and the innovations of the present, knowing that encounters with original works of art contribute to understanding the world and ourselves.

Faculty from all departments and disciplines are invited to use the Agnes as a resource for creating vivid experiential programs for students at every level of study by scheduling a custom tour of an exhibition, by arranging a visit to our art-study room for seminar encounters with works from our collections, or booking a special encounter for your class with a visiting artist or scholar.

Our expert team is ready to help you engage in interdisciplinary research, learning, and conversations driven by the study and experience of art.

For more information or to discuss ideas for integrating exhibitions and the collection into teaching and scholarship, contact the Associate Curator, Academic Outreach at 613.533.6000 x77877 or email

Ways to Engage

Seminars: Groups of up to 20 students can access works of art from our superb collections—numbering over 17,000 works—for examination and discussion in the David McTavish Art Study Room. Visits are flexible, intimate and particularly enriching. The seminar-style room, complete with AV system, allows students to view the works closely and engage in discussion.

Tours: In addition to self-guided tours, we offer custom in-gallery curatorial tours for groups of up to 30 students. Larger classes can be accommodated by subdividing the group across several shifts.

Exhibition Development: Faculty may propose an exhibition development project as the focus of a seminar course (normally graduate level) by working with gallery staff to identify a body of work from the collection that suits their learning goals.

Assignments: We can assist you in developing inventive student assignments drawing upon exhibitions or collections.

Research: Individual faculty or graduate students may book research sessions with works of art, or with other on-site resources including gallery records.

Studio: The bright André Biéler Studio can accommodate groups up to 25 students for hands-on learning and/or art and wellness sessions. Charges may apply.

Events: We offer a spectrum of artists’ talks, tours, films, scholarly speakers and panel discussions each year. Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter, or visit our website listing.

Courses: Internship (ARTH 395) and two Practicum courses (ARTH 880 and CUST 895) are led by staff members who are adjunct faculty. These offer intense hands-on applied learning and research opportunities. Descriptions and application information are found in: Appendix C (.pdf) 217 KB; Appendix D (.pdf) 197 KB; and, Appendix E (.pdf) 181 KB.

Volunteer: Student Docents deliver programs to school groups and families; please see our special tribute to them at Celebrating Student Docents. All volunteer jobs and recruitment details are posted on the Volunteer page.

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Highlights and New Initiatives

Using art to develop observation skills and empathy
The Art of Observation program trains students to develop observation skills and empathy, inspired by successful programs at other university galleries. We ran this program for 70 Occupational Therapy students in April 2018, and plan to do so annually.

Gaining insight into how visual art circulates, inspires, and moves people
In July 2018, we presented a new curator-led series of workshops, under the title “Art Worlds: A User’s Guide,” designed for MBA students in the Smith School of Business.

A Resource for Teaching
We are open to collaboration with faculty in all disciplines. We have worked with diverse departments and programs including Art Conservation, Art History, Cultural Studies, Drama, Education, English, Environmental Studies, Film and Media, BFA (Visual Art), French, Gender Studies, Geography and Planning, Global Development Studies, History, International Centre, Law, Mathematics and Statistics, Music, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Philosophy, Physics, Political Studies, Religion, School of English and Sociology.

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Making an Impact

“The talk by Ibghy and Lemmens followed by the time in the galleries at the Kent Monkman show both made a great impact on these students. Several students were really bemused by one or both of the exhibits initially but in their subsequent work they specifically mentioned how the opportunity to engage with artworks that at first were so foreign to them, and highly challenging, provoked them to rethink their approaches to their own forms of expression in performance. The events that you enabled for these students made a big difference to their learning. Thank you for this.”

Natalie Rewa, Professor, Dan School of Drama & Music

“Your insights were sensitive, and your rapport with the students open and respectful. I learned so much as both a teacher and art viewer. And thank-you for letting me chime in with my own editorial at different points and for sharing the floor. I received some emails from students following the tour saying how much they appreciated the experience and the chance to think aloud about the multiple meanings implied in Monkman’s work and exhibit.”

Keren Zaiontz, Assistant Professor and Queen’s National Scholar, Film and Media

“My students were able to observe the tour from the point of view of educators and learn how a gallery educator helps students from various age groups to make personal connections to artifacts. My students were able to choose artifacts to construct a lesson for a grade of their choice which included specific viewing strategies and learning activities.”

Angela Solar, Lecturer in Elementary Visual Arts Education, Faculty of Education

“Thank you for the magnificent, informative, welcoming tour! I loved it, and I know that the graduate students did as well. I’m just going to quote part of one person’s one-page response paper to you, because I thought it was so insightful and rather poetic:

“… the field trip to the Agnes Etherington Art Gallery was a nice way to end the semester. I particularly liked the quilt exhibit, mostly because I had no idea that quilting had such a rich history. I also think being an art curator and constructing an art exhibit is very similar to constructing an essay. The curator develops a story through the pieces that are put on display and they form a coherent narrative about the works.””

Emma Peacocke, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Banting Post Doctoral Scholar, Department of English


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