Exploring Beliefs Through Art

    4 August 2016

    isay:usay:wesay is an interactive teaching resource for RE/Citizenship at Key Stage 3 & 4, which explores beliefs through art.



    These materials come from an exciting exhibition generously funded by the Community Development Foundation: Faiths in Action Grant, organised by the Diocese of Bristol and Bristol Muslim Cultural Society. It was hosted by Bristol City Council in the Central Library.

    The exhibition was the culmination of a project that brought together young Muslims and Christians aged 11-17 to make art, to discuss their faith, and to examine what is shared, what is unique and what it is like to be a young person of faith living in today’s world.

    It is hoped that these materials can help to equip young people to create a more informed understanding and respect for difference.

    Katy Staples, Rizwan Ahmed, Jane Lee & Suneya Azad


    Using these resources

    Below are the resources needed for upwards of seven lessons spanning three sections.


    This first section of five lessons ‘goldfish-bowls’ the artwork made by the project’s participants, inviting students and young people to follow the same process and encouraging dialogues similar to those held by the children involved in the project. These lessons can be used across Key Stage 3 but may be ideal as a Year 7 transition unit. The series helps children’s dialogue about belief by using art as a point of discussion. It also explores the role of prayer in the Muslim and Christian traditions.

    For each of the five lessons there are plans, related materials and worksheets as well as accompanying PowerPoint presentations.

    These materials ask students to address these questions:

    1. How do some Christians and Muslims express their beliefs about God/Allah through art?

    2. Responding to that understanding: How can I and others in my class express our beliefs through art?

    3. How can we create shared work and respect each other’s right to difference?

    One possible end outcome of these materials is to create a ‘Belief dialogue through Art’ Exhibition to place in the school foyer, a local library, a church or another place of worship.

    isay:usay:wesay Lesson Plans

    isay:usay:wesay Lesson 1 Materials

    isay:usay:wesay Lesson 1 Powerpoint

    isay:usay:wesay Lesson 2 Materials

    isay:usay:wesay Lesson 2 Powerpoint

    isay:usay:wesay Lesson 3 Materials

    isay:usay:wesay Lesson 3 Powerpoint

    isay:usay:wesay Lesson 4/5 Materials

    isay:usay:wesay Lesson 4/5 Powerpoint  



    The second section of materials forms something of a postscript. They place the isay:usay:wesay dialogue and exhibition within the context of modern Britain, where religious commitments can be difficult to hold and are contentious to some people with secular world views.

    The young people involved in the project found that one shared experience was that of being bullied and picked on for holding a faith. The materials explore those experiences.

    It is anticipated that these materials could sit well within a weekly timetabled lesson or as part of a whole ‘creative encounter’ day. The lesson may also fit into an anti-bullying week and provides a religious Diversity element to PSHE and Citizenship. It tackles the issue of religious prejudice. It might also provide excellent first-hand examples to add impact to a GCSE course that included a unit about Religion and Citizenship/Multi-cultural Society/Community Cohesion.

    theysay Lesson Plan

    theysay Lesson Materials (not available)


    This material stems from visitors’ book comments and a letter of complaint sent to Bristol Council. These revealed that some people felt an art exhibition with religious themes should not be shown in a publicly funded space.

    Pertinent questions are asked about the place of religion in today’s world – students consider secular and religious responses to the art exhibition held in Bristol Central Library.

    It is intended that these lessons would be most appropriate for Key Stage 3 or Key Stage 4 pupils investigating the place of religion and religious expression in Britain today for GCSE RE, Citizenship or PSHE.

    The materials provide for up to three lessons.

    Investigation Lesson Plan

    Investigation Lesson Materials

    Investigation Lesson Powerpoint


    Further Resources

    Here are some further resources to enhance the delivery and outcome of these lessons.

    the Foreword

    Further Ideas to Support Learning

    General Responses

    Grade Descriptors for Assessment

    Suggested Playlist