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HPQ case study: Amalia’s project on how the perceptions and symbolism of the colour red differ

CLSG student landscape painting using red ink

The Higher Project qualification requires students to study a topic area which extends or expands their learning. It helps students to develop as inquisitive learners, be inspired by new areas not necessarily covered by a curriculum, explore new learning processes and take responsibility for their own learning and transferable life skills.  

Members of year 10 have been working on their projects throughout this year, and these projects have culminated in a final report or artefact, as well as presentations which have been taking place. 

Amalia decided to examine how perceptions of the colour red differ between Chinese and western cultures, and her project will culminate in an artefact – an ink painting. She began by exploring basic symbolisms of red; its associations with blood and danger in Western culture. However, in Chinese culture, red signifies prosperity and luck. When researching further into colour psychology, she saw how visual much of the symbolism was and decided that creating an artefact was the best way to demonstrate her extensive research and the multitude shades of red available to her.  

In talking about her project, Amalia said: ‘When it comes to creating an artefact, demonstration of development of new skills is very important for the HPQ, and as I intended to create a piece of art, I had to find a skill set that isn’t taught in school. Therefore, I decided on ink painting. My aim for my artefact is to create a piece that highlights how differently red is interpreted in Chinese culture compared to Western culture, and in doing so attempt to subvert my audience’s interpretation of red.’  

Amalia created many drafts of her final artefact as she developed her new skills. She began to balance different tones and shapes in her work. Moving forward, she intends to create her final artefact on a larger scale than the ones shown here. 

 Amalia’s project is just one amongst many fascinating topics. These include AI & chess, childhood development & Piaget, Greenpeace & palm oil, and postcolonialism.