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’

Big Art, Big Ideas new secondary school session April 22, 2010

Filed under: Events,Uncategorized — enquiremanchester @ 2:24 pm
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Recording and collecting in the Darwin exhibition

I was joined by Blessed Thomas Catholic College Year 8 art students yesterday at the museum.  The new session Big Art, Big ideas uses the Darwin exhibition as a starting point to consider how young artists can communicate concepts and ideas through simple visual forms.

The group started off by considering image, text and design down in the exhibition then we headed up to the Life Lab which had been turned into a print and design studio.  We turned the collected observational drawings, found text and design techniques recorded in the exhibition into striking fine-art design work using simple print and pen and ink techniques.

While we stuck to black and white during the session, everyone headed back to school with an eye-catching design which they could develop in colour if they wanted to.

I’d suggest they try:  collage, coloured acetate, paint, more printing, ink colour washes or digital processes.

The thing I most loved about the afternoon (apart from the sheer enthusiasm and ability shown by the students) was seeing how putting together observational drawings, found words and images against a scientific, historical and artistic backdrop made new and playful meanings of their own.

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Recycled paper insects and poetry June 9, 2009

Filed under: Events,News — enquiremanchester @ 10:42 am

What better way to think about what ‘going green’ means to us than by making poetry from recycled words and sticking it onto the back of a recycled paper insect for it to scuttle or flutter away with?  That’s just what we did on Saturday and now here’s our chance to show you what we came up with.

To see more go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enquiremanchester/sets/72157619400699553/

Hear what I had to say following the event on Saturday

Here’s how to make your own recycled insects and recycled poetry:

– have a close look at some insects – find one outside, come and take a look at ours on display at the museum or check our collections pages on the web

– take some recycled paper or card, glue or tape and a pair of scissors and just get experimenting – you might want to make your insect 2D, 3D, big or small

– now for the poetry – scan through your recycled paper (newspapers and magazines are perfect for this) and pull out words that mean something to you and what you’re thinking, or you might just think they sound nice

– then stick your words on the back of your insect however makes you happy

Tip – you can also have fun holding your insect in front of a projector or lamp to make it giant sized


Re:Curate Saturday 7 March 2009 March 12, 2009

Filed under: Alchemy Enquire,Events,Uncategorized — enquiremanchester @ 9:53 am

Re:Curate saw  students from Levenshulme High School for Girls joining their teacher, Dena, Louise, John and myself in facilitating an immersive experience for visitors to the Egypt Gallery.  I was particularly impressed with the maturity shown by the students in speaking to visitors about their work and in delivering a series of powerful creative performance pieces such as ‘Another TV Show’.  This piece investigated the idea that, by repeated exposure through the media, people may be desensitized to seeing human remains.

These interventions were developed with the artist and the students over an eight week period.  The artist, Dena Bagi, has researched the museum since December, meeting up  for discussions with curators and researching the human remains debate.  Dena is interested in the role of experimental curatorial practice in interpreting collections and objects.  The students have taken part in a session with Cat Lumb, Lead Humanities Educator, around the question of human remains and investigated the use of contemporary exhibiting techniques in the museum’s Lindow Man exhibition.

From this the young people developed their own responses to human remains on display in the gallery and created interventions in the spaces.  This enriched the debate about the display of human remains by bringing their ‘voices’ into the spaces and challenging museum visitors to consider this sensitive issue for themselves.


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