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Capturing the Zeitgeist

Student task

Task no. 1

Setting the scene

‘By the end of the 1960s… there was a real sense of fundamental change, of liberation, even revolution in the air.’ — Liz Ross (activist), 2009.

View the introduction to the online exhibition Coming Out in the 70s.

Discuss the phrase from the introductory text: ‘Civil rights movements around the world created opportunities to reform society.’

Complete a ‘Think, Pair, Share’ activity in which you brainstorm other civil rights movements that were born at the same time.

View the Interview with Gary Wotherspoon. In this interview, Gary mentions the song by Bob Dylan called The times they are a changin’.

Read the full song lyrics at Bob Dylan's website and listen to the song using your preferred streaming service. Form 5 groups, each group is assigned one stanza from the song The Times they are a changin’.

Complete the following activities:

  • annotate the key techniques used in your assigned stanza
  • analyse what this stanza tells us about the zeitgeist of the late 1960s
  • discuss the way that music reflects key issues in society – and evaluate this song as evidence of this, referring to Gary Wotherspoon’s interview
  • each group to report back to the class their analysis of each stanza and how effectively it demonstrates the sense that this was a turning point for society.