IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Ways of Machine Seeing: Learning Experiments in Computer Vision

This research project aims to update methods of teaching and learning about AI and machine vision.

This research project ran Janaury 2023 to Janaury 2024 and was funded by a Culture, Communication and Media impact seed fund. 


Project lead



There is an urgent need to update methods of teaching and learning about AI and machine vision, yet the prevalent view is that the only relevant skills are advanced knowledge of mathematics and programming, limiting participation to those who can access higher STEM education. Taking John Berger’s 1972 book and BBC TV series Ways of Seeing as a starting point, this project positions art and design as vital subjects to examine the profound effects that AI and machine learning are having on how images are seen, understood and produced today. 

This research builds on findings from a 2022 Alan Turing Institute funded project that examined AI and visual literacy with PGCE Art & Design trainee teachers in collaboration with CSNI and The Photographers’ Gallery. Two workshops led to the development of an online toolkit that opened opportunities for teachers to critically and creatively engage with AI, and to co-design user-friendly resources for other teachers. 

However, we found that in order to facilitate genuine ‘co-design’ with teachers, more time and space is needed to learn from teachers’ experiences and interests and to understand both tensions and opportunities arising from AI about art and design pedagogy. This CCM Impact Grant is being used to slow down, develop dialogue with, and learn from teachers. A series of workshops will provide focussed time and space for teachers to gain ownership and iteratively develop activities appropriate to their teaching practices, and a poster and online activities will be developed to distribute this knowledge and build a network of teachers across the country. 


A grant of £2,500 has been used to fund two workshops with a group of art and design teachers and researchers and to commission a poster by the artist Dean Kenning. We deliberately aimed to turn away from screen-based activities towards drawing and material practice to facilitate creative, critical and conceptual understanding of the hidden labour and 'back end' of AI. Kenning devised a diagramming workshop for teachers to explore and visualise their relationship to AI, and following this teachers were supported to develop ideas for classroom activities that critically and creatively engage with AI. Based on these workshops Kenning designed a diagrammatic classroom poster which links, via QR code, to an open-source website for which the teachers have been formatting a range of activities. The poster will be launched and distributed to 400 schools in February 2024 and a mailing list will be created to build a network with teachers as the project moves forward.