The Big Picture is a static feature located within Hartlepool College of Further Education in one of its public areas. It is closely tied to the College’s RESPECT campaign, which promotes equality, fairness and understanding for all individuals across a range of social, moral and historic topics. RESPECT is a valuable resource that links to a range of teaching, learning and tutorial activities and involves and applies to everyone who works or studies in the College.
The Big Picture has been a popular feature since its introduction in late 2011. It forms a part of the gallery space on the third floor mezzanine overlooking Hartlepool College’s central atrium.
The focal point is a large picture frame containing a striking image representative of a particular topic, along with compartmentalised information panels that examine various aspects of the picture and the story behind it. The information covers both the broader aspects and finer details of the subject, supported by illustrations which capture the essence of the topic.
The Big Picture is a rotating exhibition, changed roughly once a month to coincide with either specific dates/anniversaries or topical events. The presentation is always purely objective, the idea being to encourage debate and to allow students and visitors to form their own opinions and lecturers to integrate the topics into teaching.
The subjects are often provocative and mature in theme, and the images frequently hard-hitting. This is in keeping with the intention of The Big Picture to tackle issues without compromise or dilution, and also to reinforce one of the College’s primary principles, which is that young people are intelligent enough to understand subjects without being patronised, and mature enough to absorb the reality of the world they live in.
Opinions are often divided, and sometimes impassioned. However, the debate is always healthy and reasoned, and more than once a viewpoint has been altered when the subject has been examined academically and not just reacted to emotionally – all intentions of The Big Picture project.