Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Fun Palaces

On Saturday 1 October 2016, I took part in Mansfield Museums’ first ever Fun Palaces event. “Fun Palaces is an ongoing campaign supporting culture at the heart of every community, with an annual weekend of arts and science action created by, for and with local people.” The Fun Palaces campaign began in 2014 by Co-Directors Stella Duffy and Sarah-Jane Rawlings, and producers Hannah Lambert and Kirsty Lothian. Their fabulous tagline is ‘Everyone an Artist, Everyone a Scientist.’
When Mansfield Museum’s Community Participation Officer, Sally Evans, put a call out for local people to get involved I couldn’t wait to contribute as I feel passionately about engaging local communities with cultural events.
Mansfield Museum, Mansfield Palace Theatre and The Old Library were brimming with fun, free Arts and Science activities for all ages. The Nottinghamshire branch of the British Science Association demonstrated how to make balloon kebabs, there were dancing robots, live music, animals from White Post Farm and many more exciting things to see and explore.
My activity took the form of a low tech animation workshop that explored the theory of persistence of vision via the creation of a thaumatrope (a toy that combines two images to create an early form of animation). Thaumatropes are easy to make and really effective. In short, visitors could get a taste of animation by creating a magic moving picture. The activity beautifully married Art and Science together in one activity, full STEAM ahead!
I have run animation projects in my previous role as Community Co-ordinator at Sale Grammar School and you can see an example of one of them here.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

New beginnings: Bus and Bird

I have been fortunate enough to teach Art and Design for the last eighteen years and work as Community Co-ordinator for the Visual Arts for the past fourteen years at Sale Grammar School in south Manchester. However, I have relocated to Nottinghamshire and it is time for new beginnings. As an experienced Community Co-ordinator, I have planned, organised and delivered creative learning sessions for a broad spectrum of learners from pre-school and school age children through to PGCE students and professional adults. I have taught in diverse settings, the most unusual being at Manchester Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre’s Pearce Ward teaching ceramic sculpture and stop frame animation to cystic fibrosis patients in their bedrooms.

What is ‘Bus and Bird’?
I am taking a leap of faith and using my experience of providing high quality visual arts workshops to set up ‘Bus and Bird’ where I will act as a Freelance Artist Educator running Community Art projects. ‘Bus and Bird’ will promote the Visual Arts by delivering projects of benefit to the community of Mansfield and its surrounding areas.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the projects that I have managed over the years:

Read more about this project here

Read the pupils' interview questions and Mr Finch's replies here

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Time and Tide Exhibition

I was invited by Maria Walker, on behalf of Art Untitled, to take part in their group exhibition entitled ‘Time and Tide’ at Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse in Northwich. The artwork was inspired by the proverb ‘time and tide wait for no man’. Artists responded to this central theme using a diverse range of media ranging from stitch, mixed media and print to photography, paint and ceramics.
I created two new illustrative mixed-media characters (Reginald and Agnes) and a more abstract piece based on an old family garden plan (155 Kingsway) specifically for the Time and Tide exhibition. Considering the idea of time marching on by whether we want it to or not, my characters had an undeniably melancholy narrative. Both Reginald and Agnes had a sense that time and ambitions were passing them by. They felt duty bound to always do the right thing by others but deep down wished they had the courage to pursue their own dreams.
I was really impressed with the standard and quality of all the work on display. Not to mention the fascinating nature of the museum itself. I should imagine that the original residents of the workhouse would have been intrigued by our art work and the modern use of the building!
‘Time and Tide’ ran from Saturday 12th September to Sunday 15th November 2015.