Enquiremanchester’s Weblog

The Manchester Museum is the lead museum in the North West Manchester cluster in a national project about art and learning for engage called ‘enquire’

Planning and evaluation September 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — enquiremanchester @ 1:57 pm
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We’ve been thinking about evaluation and planning a lot this week.  Went to a fantastic meeting as part of the North West Hub’s project ‘Pathways and Progression’.  We were encouraged to focus in on the fundamental aims of our projects and from there work out how we would evaluate that.  The ‘aim’ was defined as the fundamentals of what we are trying to achieve, and everything else is about how we are going to achieve that.  These aims could be long term aims, with the current projects being a small part of a longer term goal.

So I’ve been reviewing my planning (see our year plan sketch on the right), disecting the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority website, and deciding where to focus our aims for the two projects we’re working on.

We need to consider a whole host of things including the wider University and Museum aims, the Museum’s learning team aims, what the project funders are looking for, what schools and students want, what the curriculum says and why we work with artists and why they want to work with us.  By separating the aims between Teachers and Schools, Young People, and Museums and Museum Staff (within which I’ve included a sub-heading for Artists) its helped me to really think about why we are doing what we are doing and for who, and to work out how to balance that between the participants.

So we could easily have a million and one aims (especially when you think about everyone involved separately) but what we’re going to do now is work out where to focus for the forthcoming year, how we work out how successful we have been, and how that can help us to develop the programme for the future.


The Big Draw and DNA September 10, 2008

We’ve just finalised our session plans for a week in October when Secondary School (KS3/4) classes are invited to join us at the Museum for a whole day of learning.  Half the day will be spent up in the Herbarium researching and drawing botanical specimens (all linked to classification and DNA), and the other half will be spent extracting plant DNA in our Life Lab.

The sessions are timed during the month of The Big Draw which is organised by The Campaign for Learning.  To join in with the spirit of The Big Draw we’ll be using drawing to open up new spaces for us, taking our pencils out of the classroom and up into the storerooms.

While we’re up in the Herbarium we’ll find out how new discoveries, like DNA, change the way that nature is recorded and analysed and look at how artists have presented their thoughts on this.  Then we’ll be doing some documentation of our own, exploring the collections, and making our own visual records.

Down in the Life Lab we’ll be finding out how DNA is used for classification and looking at its structure and role in the cell.  We’ll even get the chance to don our lab coats and extract our own plant DNA.

We think this cross-curricular approach to learning will give students and teachers an exciting and full day out at the Museum.  We hope that by using different approaches to the same subject matter we’ll create a layered learning experience and highlight how exciting ideas and creativity can be shared by subject areas.

The sessions will run daily from Monday 13th October to Friday 17th October, 10am – 2pm, and are for 35 students max.

To find out more or book you and your students in for a day please contact Lauren Furness on: 0161 306 1764.

UPDATE 22nd September 2008 – These sessions are now fully booked


Planning and Progressions September 2, 2008

Filed under: About Alchemy - enquire — enquiremanchester @ 4:09 pm
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All this afternoon the Secondary and Post-16 team have been planning the next couple of terms on the en-quire project.  Its a very exciting time, with lots of creative ideas flying about – more details to follow in the next couple of weeks!

One of the things we wanted to achieve as part of this work with artists has been a series of sustainable programmes that can be offered throughout the year and that work with some of our talented artist educators already on staff.  We have been lucky to secure funding from the North West Museums Hub, part of Renaissance in the Regions, through their Pathways and Progression programme.

This programme aims to provide Museums and Galleries in the Manchester area to develop their work with secondary schools.  Here at The Manchester Museum we have a well established Science and Humanities programme and arts programming has not been a core part of our offer until very recently.

With this funding we have developed three exciting new workshops that highlight the diversity of the collection and use the Museum galleries as sources of inspiration for creative learning and we can offer them FREE OF CHARGE which is wonderful news.

More details on each of the sessions will follow, along with information on the forthcoming trials and images.  If you are a teacher, or have a friend who is a teacher, and you want to know more, please contact one of us at The Museum, or even leave us a comment below so we know we are not alone!