From Field to Studio: The Art of Paul Kane

Welcome to From Field To Studio: The Art of Paul Kane on-line teaching guide.  This guide is designed to correspond to the “Site map with links” feature on the DVD From Field To Studio: The Art of Paul Kane.   This interactive guide provides teachers and parents with additional textual information and suggested activities for use in conjunction with the DVD.

Introduction and Rationale
The artist Paul Kane is a fascinating, complex character and whose story provides an intriguing entry point to understanding 19th century Canadian history. His remarkable travels in the Northwest at a time of great transition, and his visual recordings and written observations of First Nations and Metis peoples are of great significance for those interested in Canadian History, First Nations and Metis Studies, Art, Art History, Media Studies, Social Sciences, and Anthropology. From Field to Studio: The Art of Paul Kane provides an exciting method of bringing this fascinating character of Paul Kane to life, and helps raise important questions about how we approach the historical record of the times he worked and travelled in. In many respects From Field to Studio: The Art of Paul Kane raises far more questions than answers about the mid-1800s in Canada's past. However, Paul Kane opens the door to many fascinating opportunities for research and reflection about the fundamentals of understanding the contributions of First Nations and Metis people to Canada's story. Indeed, so much of this record requires more study and correction. Kane's record, though incomplete and in some cases quite inaccurate, provides a starting point and an impetus for some this re-evaluation.

Kane sketched and painted First Nations and Metis people at a time of enormous transition. His field sketches and writings often capture this quite accurately, but later in the studio, he frequently modified his sketches to conform to a more romantic ideal of unspoiled nobility and purity. The documentary and its interactive features provided in From Field to Studio: The Art of Paul Kane offer insight into not only a fascinating story, but also into the way history is constructed, and how primary and secondary sources are both created and used.

The documentary with interactive features also offers commentary from a variety of people, particularly from the First Nations and Metis communities. This helps to demonstrate how history is in many ways a composite of many differing and sometime opposing viewpoints, and provides and opportunity to evaluate and develop an awareness of bias and interpretation in history.

This teaching guide has been designed for use in variety of classroom environments. The additional resources and suggested class room activities are intended to be used in themselves, but work best in the context of the documentary as whole. It is suggested that the most effective methodology is to begin by playing the entire documentary (disc one) and then go through disc two using the interactive features to set up class room activities and discussion. These features are organized by concepts, learning objects and activities and are supplemented with transcripts from the interactive documentary according the Site Map with links. There is also a list of essay topics and a limited bibliography. It should be noted that some of the language found in Paul Kane's writings has outdated terms and references, particularly as they relate to First Nations and Metis people. For the most part the modern-day commentaries in From Field to Studio: The Art of Paul Kane avoid these outdated references, however in the older writings some such terms and references remain for the purposes of historical authenticity.

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