NGJ Announces the Return of the Writivity Workshop

The National Gallery of Jamaica’s Education Department announces the return of its signature educational workshop, WRITIVITY. The workshop will run from Monday, August 15 to Thursday, August 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily.

Developed in 2015 the WRITIVITY workshop is geared toward Grade 10 – 11 students who are preparing to sit the Visual Arts examinations for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC). The main goal of WRITIVITY is to assist students with the development of their visual arts reflective journal, which is a key component of CSEC’s School Based Assessment (SBA) submission. By participating in this programme, students will be taught how to properly prepare entries for their journal, analyse art pieces and conduct art-related research within sessions that utilize primarily the NGJ’s art collection and document resources (especially online resources). This year’s workshop will be held in association with the NGJ’s exhibition, Kingston Biennial “Pressure”, which opened on June 26, 2022, and will be used to introduce the participants to a selection of contemporary art produced by some of Jamaica’s most exciting visual artists. 

Registration for the WRITIVITY workshop is free and as a result, there is limited space for participants. Interested persons should contact the National Gallery’s Education Department by Friday, August 12, via the following telephone numbers: 876 922 – 1561/3 (Lime landline), or 876 618 – 0654/ 5 (Digicel fixed line) or via email at

All activities for WRITIVITY will be held at the National Gallery of Jamaica. Refreshments will be provided for the participants from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Timetable: Click Here

Programme Summary: Click Here

Guidelines: Click Here


Writivity Essentials #3: Art Analysis for the Reflective Journal (Pt. 2)

In Part One, we covered five key activities that you (the student) must do before you begin an Art Analysis. At the end of Part Two, you should be able to use an artwork to generate ‘analytical’ information for the following areas: 

  1. Description
  2. Analysis
  3. Evaluation

Please be reminded, that you must always seek guidance from your Teacher. She or He can give advice on how much to write, and help you to choose which pieces of information gathered from your observation, are the most important to write on.  Also remember, that an art analysis is your informed opinion, therefore you must avoid using someone else’s thoughts; rely on your own thoughts as well as use your own words.

The writings for a Description, an Analysis and an Evaluation of an artwork should be no more than one paragraph for each. Each section functions within your Reflective Journal in the following ways:


This section identifies the title of the artwork, who made it, when it was made and what materials were used to create it. The Description also gives information about the physical appearance of the artwork and the images that are depicted in it.


This section explores the finer details of the artwork including the identification of techniques used in the artwork, evidence of art elements and principles and the effects that they produce in the overall composition.


This section explores the value of the artwork to your chosen theme and your understanding of the associated expressive form. A key question to be answered in this section is: what makes this artwork important to your CSEC Visual Arts research and the development of your student work?

For a demonstration on how to generate information for each section, you can watch the video below:

So let us quickly recap the main points for making an Art Analysis for the Reflective Journal:

  1. An Art Analysis is a detailed examination of the qualities and features of an artwork, in order to know more about it.
  2. The key activities needed to prepare for doing an Art Analysis are:
    • Selecting the artwork
    • Setting time for observation
    • Choosing a method of documentation 
    • Refreshing your knowledge of art terms 
    • Using these words to draft sentences and paragraphs for the Reflective Journal
  1. You can organize and write the information you have collected from doing the Art Analysis into three sections:
    1. Description
    2. Analysis
    3. Evaluation

Each section only needs to be one (1) paragraph in length.

This brings us to the end of “Art Analysis for the Reflective Journal” and of the Writivity Essentials series. We sincerely hope that the information presented was beneficial to those teaching and pursuing studies for CSEC Visual Arts. Please remember to keep up with us by subscribing to all our platforms on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter and be sure to also activate the notification features so you will always be in the know when it comes to the NGJ.

Writivity Essentials #3: Art Analysis for the Reflective Journal (Pt. 1)

Welcome CSEC Visual Arts teachers and students to the final installment of the Writivity Essentials series. Writivity Essentials #2 introduced the Simple Research Process (SRP) and its application to research for the Reflective Journal. Writivity Essentials #3 is a two-part article, focused on developing the Art Analysis. At the end of Part One, you should become familiar with five (5) key preparation activities before you finalize your analyses.


Generally, an analysis (singular) is a detailed examination of something to gain a better understanding of it. Analyses (plural) can be expressed verbally or in writing. When one analyses artwork, it entails making a detailed examination of its qualities, which can include physical features as well as symbolisms and conceptual value. CSEC Visual Arts students are required to include in the Reflective Journal, written art analyses of your artwork and the works of the artists you choose. As this may be the first time that you will be making art analyses, it is strongly recommended that you do it in consultation with your teacher, who will offer valuable guidance for this process. As every art analysis is unique to a person’s point of view, art analyses are used by your teacher and the examiners to judge how well you can develop an informed opinion about an artwork.

Before you begin to analyse, there are five (5) preparatory activities you must do:


This can be any suitable example of the Expressive Forms you have chosen. You can view artwork either as physical objects or as photographic reproductions in digital images or print. As a quick reminder, Expressive Forms for CSEC Visual Arts are:

  • Drawing
  • Painting and Mixed Media
  • Graphic and Communication Design
  • Printmaking
  • Textile Design and Manipulation
  • Sculpture and Ceramics
  • Leather Craft
  • Fibre and Decorative Arts


Observation is your ability to closely examine or inspect the artwork. To make good observations, you spend time in active looking in order to identify various types of details in the artwork that a short glance will miss. The time you take to view an artwork should be no shorter than 30 minutes.  Artwork can be viewed in two key ways:

  • Artwork can be viewed as a physical object on display, as would be seen in a museum (like the NGJ), at an art gallery or even in someone’s home. If you are looking at the artwork as a physical object on display, make sure that:
    • You are viewing it in a well-lit environment.
    • You have permission from the owner of the artwork to move closer to it. 
  • Artwork can also be viewed as a photographic reproduction, which you can find as either a printed (eg. found in books, magazines and pamphlets) or digital image. Please note that digital images must be viewed using an electronic device with a display screen. The more commonly used ones are computers, tablets, smart phones and most digital cameras. If you are looking at the artwork as a photographic reproduction, make sure that:
    • For books and other print documents like magazines, you try using a magnifying glass or sheet to make some details bigger and easier to see. If you want to take pictures, make sure you seek permission before doing so.
    • For digital images viewed on an electronic device, make sure that you use an image viewing app that has a ‘Zoom’ feature that can also magnify details. 


This is the method or process you will choose to record your observations and thoughts about the artwork. Two common ways that persons can document from observation is to:

  • Write notes in a notebook or do so electronically, using note-taking apps that you can use on a smart phone or tablet.
  • Record voice notes, using either a sound recording device or an app that you can download to your smart phone or tablet.


These are words that identify or describe expressive forms, techniques, art materials, as well as elements and principles of art. Examples of some art terms are “painting”, “mixed media”, “textile design”, “green”, “tones”, “carving”, “emphasis”, “line”, “proportion”, “harmony”, among many others. Ensure that you know well the terms that are relevant to your research and upcoming analysis.  For example, the terms relevant to an example of Graphic and Communication Design could be “layout”, “dimension”, “illustration” or “font styles”.


Once you have the Art Terms you need to know, use them to create sentences and paragraphs that test how well you can communicate the information you know and understand about an artwork. For example, please spend a few moments looking at the photographic reproduction of a painting below:

Osmond Watson – Jah Lives (1984), Collection: NGJ

Using information gathered from research and observation, one can use art terms to create a description of the artwork. This is demonstrated in the following sentence (please note that the art terms used in the sentence below are in bold and underlined):

Once you have completed all these activities, then you will be ready to begin developing your ART ANALYSES. 

Part Two of this article will focus on a demonstration of the process of Art Analysis.

Writivity Essentials #2: Researching for the Reflective Journal (Pt 2)

Part Two – Applying the Simple Research Process to the Reflective Journal

In Part One, we offered a simple definition for the term ‘research’ and outlined an approach to the Simple Research Process. At the end of Part Two, you should be able to use the Simple Research Process to gather, organize and assess the information you have accessed for your Reflective Journal. In preparation for this, we advise you (student) to do the following:  

  • Read through and familiarize yourself with the list of headings or sections for the Reflective Journal, outlined in the CXC Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate Visual Arts Syllabus.
  • Make notes on a sheet of paper or notebook listing the main pieces of information which you believe are necessary to complete each heading or section. 
  • Share the list you have made with your teacher and discuss with him or her if there is any information you need to add or remove.

If you have done that, we can get started!

STEP 1 – Develop Research Questions

Following the discussion with your teacher, write down each of the following words:

  • Theme
  • Technique
  • Artist
  • Works of Art

Under each word, write a list of questions to be answered and/or problems which may need to be solved, in order to generate the information that will be needed to complete each section/chapter of the reflective journal. Please see the examples below, using the words ‘Theme’ and ‘Artist’:

STEP 2 – List Information Sources

With your research question(s) and problem statement(s) listed, your next action is to list your sources of information. These will help you to answer the research question(s) or solve the problem statement(s) you had listed earlier. Sources of information can be a resource person, an organization, a publication (eg. Book or magazine) and online sources. Please note that all sources of information can be placed under the categorical headings such as Organization, Publication, Resource Person and Online Source. See example below:

STEP 3 – Share the Information you have gathered with your Teacher

Once you have listed who you need to interview, which institution you need to visit, which books you need to read and so on, make sure to share all of that information with your teacher. This is important as your teacher’s feedback will more than likely contain advice that will be helpful to you. This can guide you in identifying sources you may have overlooked as well as the over or under-use of information sources you have found. You should also take the opportunity to talk with your teacher about the potential execution and completion dates which need to be set for engaging with each source that is. You can find a general list of online sources of information for Jamaican visual arts here

From the discussions with your teacher, you would begin to realise that some of your listed sources may be more important than others. However it is not until you reach this third step that you are able to confirm which sources are most useful versus those which are only slightly useful. The reason such a decision can be made at this point is because at step 2 you were just listing, and speculating about sources, but at step 3 you begin to use and access sources to collect information.

STEP 4 – Using and Accessing Information Sources

This means that you will be doing specific tasks such as:

  • Taking notes
  • Conducting interviews
  • Visiting and viewing locations
  • Searching online databases and other such activities

As you do the above-listed tasks, make sure that you carry out the following tips and recommendations below:

  1. All information collected for your research must be properly labelled. Therefore notes or photocopies must be labelled in such a way that the title, author/editor, year of publication and relevant page numbers from the document they come from can be easily identified.
  2. If any audio or video recordings are done by you, its label should include: who was interviewed, and who asked the questions, the date of the interview, the location of interview and the length of the interview.
  3. Whenever you are using printed materials like books and newspapers for example, never photograph the pages of these items while using them, especially in a library, as such an act without the permission from the author is illegal, request a photocopy instead.
  4. As much as possible use only local and regional artist and government online sources to find information about artists, their work and their themes as non-regional websites and sources may prove to be inaccurate. 

STEP 5 – Double-check Your Information

Make every effort to double check the information which you have collected to answer your research question(s) or problem statement(s). You double check your information by looking at what you have written down or typed to make sure that it reflects  what was discovered in the source that you took it from. In addition, you also double check by seeing if you can find the same information in more than one source, for example, if you find information in a book that an artist was born on a particular day, see if you can find the birth date of the artist in another book or a online source as well. By so doing you can be more confident that you are using reliable information.  

After doing that, another double checking action which you can perform includes emailing and or handing in to your teacher all the information you have found for him or her to examine it. To make this hand in easier for your teacher to interpret, under each question or problem make a comment about what you have found or just write out/type out the answer. Once your teacher has read through what you have presented, arrange a meeting with him or her to discuss their general comments, recommendations and or directives. At the end of this step you should be able to confirm that the information you have collected is accurate and can be used to answer your research questions and solve your research problems.

Step 6 – Presenting your Research Information in the Reflective Journal

At this step you are now ready to organize all appropriate information collected via research or generated through the development of personal art works, into a set of written paragraphs. These paragraphs are then to be used to complete each section/chapter of the CSEC visual arts Reflective Journal. This completes our focus on the role and related activities of research for the Reflective Journal. We hope that the information will be useful not only to students but also to the teachers who are, or will be leading these activities with their students. Look out for the final instalment of Writivity Essentials which will be focused on developing the “Art Analysis for the Reflective Journal”.

Writivity Essentials #2: Researching for the Reflective Journal (Pt 1)

Welcome CSEC Visual Arts teachers and students to the second installment of the Writivity Essentials series.  Writivity Essentials #1 introduced to you the structure and requirements of the Reflective Journal and now the two part article Writivity Essentials #2 will focus on how to carry out research that will lead to the completion of the Reflective Journal. 

Part One – Research and the Simple Research Process (SRP)

At the end of Part One, you should be able to: 

  • Define the term research and understand its relevance to visual arts 
  • Identify and understand the Simple Research Process (SRP)
  • Provide a definition of the term plagiarism

What is Research?

Research is a step-by-step process of finding information that is then used to solve a problem, or answer a complex question. The information discovered from your research is to be organised into a body of writing which you (the student) will then present as your Reflective Journal. Students may wonder what the connection between research and Visual Arts may be? One way to identify such a connection is to consider the work of the National Gallery of Jamaica (NGJ). 

The NGJ is a museum and professional research institution that is mandated to collect, document, preserve and promote Jamaican and other Caribbean Art as well as promote our artistic heritage for the benefit of present and future generations. The NGJ considers it important to conduct visual arts research because it provides the basis to analyse artworks in relation to wider social, cultural, political, and historical phenomena. Conducting visual arts research is the gateway to understanding an artwork or developing an idea. Ultimately, doing visual arts research for your Reflective Journal will deepen your understanding of the theory, techniques, artists, and themes specific to the Expressive Forms that you will explore. 

Identifying and Understanding the Simple Research Process (SRP) 

In any subject area or field of inquiry, you can use as few as five (5) steps or as many as 12 steps to complete research. As a CSEC Visual Arts candidate, it recommended that you use what is known as the Simple Research Process (SRP). This is a research approach that can be customized to consist of five simple steps that will aid you to answer your research question(s) or solve your problem statement(s). These steps are described below:

  • Step 1
    Identify the major research question(s) to be answered, or problem statement(s) to be solved in order to complete your research. In some instances, you may have to identify both research question(s) and problem statement(s) to complete your research.
  • Step 2
    Find and list only sources of information which can assist you to answer your research question(s) and or solve your problem statement(s).
  • Step 3
    After you have listed all the relevant sources that will assist in addressing your research question(s) or problem statement(s), document only the information from the sources which can assist you to answer your research question(s) and or solve your research problem statement(s).
  • Step 4
    Examine the information collected, so that you can confirm that:
    1. The information you have collected is accurate.
    2. The information you have collected will answer your research question(s) and or problem statement(s).
  • Step 5
    Use all accurate information which you have collected to answer your research questions and or solve your research problem(s), once that is done, incorporate answer(s) into the structure or the organization of your research paper. 

After you have completed each step, we recommend that you consult with your visual arts teacher to 

find out if the information sources that you are using are appropriate and credible. Additionally, you must ensure that the information you are collecting is addressing the research question and or research. 


As you are using information from the sources you have found for your Reflective Journal, you must also avoid using another person’s ideas, concepts, words or writing without acknowledging the originator; this is called plagiarism. The act of plagiarising carries serious legal and ethical violations. In fact, the CSEC visual Arts syllabus has outlined that: 

Plagiarism will not be accepted. Students must ensure all direct quotes are fully documented and that sources of material, intellectual property, and original ideas other than the students’ own are properly acknowledged. Where students are found to have plagiarised materials, they will be automatically disqualified from the examination (pg. 20). 

How can I prevent plagiarism?

It is important for you (the student) to properly reference the sources that you have collected information from as you continue to research for your Reflective Journal. To avoid plagiarism one must give credit when one uses:

  • another person’s idea, opinion, or theory;
  • any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings—any pieces of information—that are not common knowledge;
  • quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words; or
  • paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written words.

(Source: Extracted from “Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Avoid It” from Writing Tutorial Services at Indiana University). 

How do I cite the information that I have collected?

There are many ways to reference the platforms that you have gathered information from; however, there are certain pieces of information that one may consider universal in citing a source such as: Name of author, date of publication, title of source (articles, magazines, books, catalogues, video etc), page number and publisher 2

What are examples of plagiarism? 

  • Copying the words of others, whether from a source or another student.
  • Putting your name on a paper written by someone else.
  • Purchasing or downloading a paper from the Internet and turning it in.
  • Paraphrasing (rewriting in your own words) a source and not documenting it.
  • Not using quotations marks properly when using material from another source.

(Source: Extracted from: Source: Taken from “Preventing Plagiarism: A Guide for Students” from the Staley Library at Millikin University)

We recommend that you discuss with your teacher the most appropriate referencing style for you. 

Next, Part Two of this article will focus on “Applying the Simple Research Process to the Reflective Journal”.

1For further information on how to construct a research question or a problem statement, please visit The Writing Lab via this link: Additionally, please explore Modesto Junior College Library and Learning Centre website for examples of specific question relating to visual arts research:

 2For further information on appropriate citation styles, please visit the Purdue Online Writing Lab website for widely used citation styles: 17th_edition/cmos_formatting_and_style_guide/chicago_manual_of_style_17th_edition.html

Citation Styles: 
Modern Language Association (MLA)
American Psychological Association (APA)

Writivity Essentials #1: About the Reflective Journal

Welcome CSEC Visual Arts Students and Teachers. In this article, we will be: 

  • Introducing the CSEC Visual Arts Reflective Journal. 
  • Discussing the importance of journaling for visual artists.
  • Highlighting some of the requirements for the CSEC Visual Arts Reflective Journal.
  • Introducing selected online information sources that can assist students in developing the Journal.

The Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Visual Arts Reflective Journal is a body of work reflecting the student’s exposure to the theory, process and practice of Visual Arts with special reference to the Expressive Forms studied1. It was implemented for CSEC Visual Arts as part of the examination grading process. The Journals provide evidence to teachers and examiners of how the students developed their artworks for the School Based Assessment (SBA) and can be a useful tool for students to monitor their own development as young artists. As a CSEC Visual Arts student, your journal allows you to intimately engage with your artistic progression and reflect on the influences of other artists on your artworks. 

What is the importance of Journaling in Visual Arts?

Journaling is one type of documentation that is used by professional visual artists and has been an important part of their various creative processes. Artist journals are extremely valuable to art researchers who study them as a way to gain deeper understandings of the way visual artists think, process the things they are influenced by, as well as to form and present opinions about the world they live in through imagery. Jamaican artists such as Barrington Watson, Edna Manley and Milton George like other local and international artists have, throughout their careers, dedicated scrapbooks and notebooks to documenting their artistic process. These types of journals explored ideas, through sketches, collected cut-outs and other kinds of samples to help bring their final works of art to existence. 

They have used journaling to:

  • Write about and make experimental drawings 
  • Collect other images that allowed them to explore options in the use of the elements and principles of art 

Requirement Highlights for the CSEC Visual Arts Journal

Through the CSEC Reflective Journal, you (the student) can demonstrate your understanding of the theory, process and practice of Visual Arts through the Expressive Forms that you have chosen. Similar to professional artists, an important part of the journaling process for you is to include examples of photographs, samples, interviews, critiques, descriptive and personal statements in your Reflective Journal. Your Reflective Journal must be presented in a booklet no smaller than 21cm x 30cm and no larger than 30cm x 40cm. It should also contain approximately 1000 words. Your journaling process should reflect your:

  • Conceptualization (brainstorming, noting and sketching ideas for your project),
  • Research (be sure to record all your sources) 
  • Documentation (ensure that your materials are properly organized and labeled). 

At the end of the process, your Reflective Journal must have the following sections as outlined by the CSEC Visual Arts Syllabus (effective from May/June 2011). These sections include:  

  1. A Title.
  2. A Brief Statement outlining reasons for selecting the Expressive Form.
  3. A definition of terms and concepts used in the Journal.
  4. Illustrations, drawings, photographs, maps, digital documentations or any other supportive visual materials relevant to the Expressive Form. Images should be properly labeled with titles as well as other information where relevant (artist or craftsperson, date, materials, dimensions, location).
  5. Background information related to the Expressive Forms – historical or cultural information as it relates to the period, group, country and region.
  6. Student’s analysis of the object, artwork, design, artist/craftsperson, place or materials in terms of style, content, influences, form and function; interpretation, evaluation referencing specific examples.
  7. Preparation and process.
  8. Use of material – traditional, contemporary or experimental.
  9. The student’s own experience in the use of particular materials and process.
  10. Student’s artistic statement and reflection connecting the research to their own art work.
  11. Bibliography.

As you develop your Reflective Journal, it is important to ask yourself these questions:

  • How is my idea important to the Expressive Form I selected?
  • Why did I select this particular Expressive Form?
  • What background information is available on this expressive form?
  • Are there other artworks that are similar to what I am doing that I can reference and if so, where can I find them?
  • Which Visual Artist can I use as reference?
  • What materials are most appropriate to produce my artwork?
  • How will I record my step-by-step approach to producing this artwork?
  • What will I use to record my process? 

Be reminded that as you complete your Reflective Journal, it is important for you as the artist to make notes on your challenges, successes and overall experience of the process.

Additional Online Resources

For further information on developing CSEC Visual Arts Reflective Journal, we recommend that you check out the list below for some materials published by Visual Arts teachers and students who have already done the reflective journal project:

  All the best! 

 1Quote taken from the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate Visual Arts Syllabus, effective from May/June 2011, page 18.