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Tableau - In Her Shoes

Students engage with a working-class woman’s life in England. 

Student activities

Task no. 1

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Tableau - In Her Shoes

Teachers note: Print Resource 2: Images of working-class women in England.

Work with a small group of 2-4 students. Print the downloadable cards – Resource 2: Images of working-class women in England. These images are NOT of the actual First Fleet convict women but of working class women living in England at about the same time. 

Cut out the cards. Shuffle the cards and place in a pile on the desk face down. Take turns to select a card. Pose like the woman on the card. 

Challenge the other students in your group to list words or phrases to describe this woman’s situation. For example: begging, homeless, widowed, cold, hungry. Complete as many examples as possible. 

Select one of the women described. In groups, form a tableau and ask another student to take a photo of the scene. (A tableau is a technique used by actors where they create a frozen picture.) If you have props you may like to use these. Display your words and phrases with a print-out of your photo. 

Print out the image, below, of a rural town in England to hang on your classroom wall. Using your cards as inspiration, draw women to scale and glue them onto the rural town scene. Try to communicate how they might be feeling. 

David Scott Mitchell: watercolour drawings of sentimental genre scenes, ca. 1760-1800
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