Learning to Look and Looking to Learn: a Workshop on Visual Literacy

Visual Resources Association Foundation Regional Workshop
February 17, 2017

Hosted by the Visual Resources Center, Art Department, Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center

Sponsored by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Visual Resources Association Foundation

As our culture moves from an oral tradition to a visual one, an increasing emphasis is being placed on developing the visual literacy skills of both educators and students, uniquely positioning those who work with visual media to provide necessary visual literacy training and instruction.

This workshop will provide participants with the tools to develop and implement a visual literacy training program. Part one of this workshop will focus on visual literacy skills and pedagogical approaches by exploring objects at the Colorado Springs Fine Art Center. The afternoon session will focus on ways for participants to apply these pedagogies to their own work and institutions. Participants will discuss and develop ways to implement and evaluate their own visual literacy programs as well as how digital archives, art objects, and other primary sources can be used by staff, students and faculty.

Morning: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Afternoon: 2 p.m.-4:45 p.m. (15 minute break)


Jessica Sack, the Jan and Frederick Mayer Senior Associate Curator of Public Education at the Yale University Art Gallery, has worked in the field of museum education for more than fifteen years. In that time she has been developing professional development programs in Visual Literacy for a variety of audiences including librarian, teacher, and faculty workshops, and training graduate students as museum educators. In addition, Jessica works with area teachers and faculty, helping them find ways to teach from objects and hone their own observation skills. Prior to Yale, Jessica was the Senior Museum Educator and Coordinator of Teacher Services at the Brooklyn Museum. There, she developed the Summer Teacher Institute, Weekend Workshop Series, and Teacher Leadership Program. All of these helped K-12 teachers and university faculty connect the Museum’s collection to their curricula. She has contributed to publications including The Caring Museum: New Models of Engagement with the Ageing, Interpreting the Art Museum,  “Looking to Learn, Learning to Teach” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin and Picturing a Nation: Teaching with American Art and Material Culture. Jessica is a frequent presenter at conferences and other museums. Jessica received her M.Phil. in Ethnology and Museum Ethnography from Oxford University, England, and a M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University. She previously instructed Learning to Look, Looking to Learn: A Workshop on Visual Literacy at the University of California Berkeley, one of two VRAF Regional Workshops offered during the program’s 2016 pilot year.