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’

MAGPIE secondary schools project – well underway! February 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — enquiremanchester @ 3:04 pm

So it’s been a bit quiet on the enquiremanchester blog front of late.  Well, this can only be testament to how busy we’ve been since the Christmas break – and it’s half term already!

If you remember, Chorlton High School and Newall Green High School have been working with me at the Museum and artists Naomi Kendrick and Matt George.  We’ve been investigating ways of delivering speaking and listening programmes for secondary schools – with the support of Manchester City Council’s Museum And Gallery Project In Education (MAGPIE).

Naomi and Matt have both worked with each school.  At Chorlton High School we’ve been working with the fantastic Caroline Morgan and her Year 7 English students (with help from brill Diane Clavin).  And at Newall Green we’ve been working with the superb Louise Mills and her Year 8 art and design students.  When we all initially met to plan the projects we thought it would be a great opportunity for the students to meet with both artists and to see how they reconciled the two ways of working.  Naomi introduced her ‘multi-sensory installations’ alongside Kit Wright’s ‘The Magic Box’ poem and Matt has been using ‘interactive art’ to bring the installations to life.

At each step of the way we’ve been encouraging the students to make their own decisions about what direction to take their work in, think and act like artists, and talk about their work informally with us and with each other.  There have also been elements of formal presentation back to the group, and this will be explored even further in Matt’s ‘artist interviews’ session and at the final ‘installation preview’ event at the museum.  At the last session I noticed the difference between how confidently students spoke about what they’d made themselves in comparison with more abstract questions about the session.

Here’s a few pics of the ‘sketch-boxes’ as they have become known, and figures used in the animations.


Poems and Museums December 8, 2009

As part of our Magpie Speaking and Listening project for Secondary Schools we’re planning on including an element of poetry and wanted to link this with the museum visit.  A call out to Manchester Museum staff and members of Poets on Fire online forum for poem suggestions met with an over-whelming response.  Whilst we can’t use all these suggestions within our current project, I thought this would make a fantastic archive for potential future projects/visits/work… So here’s the list (in no particular order)… feel free to add to it with your comments!  Please note I haven’t followed up on all these recommendations so please add your own links or corrections by commenting on this post.


The Magic Box by Kit Wright

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias (also known as On A Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Deserts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below) by Horace Smith

In a Museum by Thomas Hardy

Relic by Ted Hughes

The Old Curiosity Shop

The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford by James Fenton (features in a book by Suzanne Keane called Fragments of the World)

Fragments of the world also includes:

– Flea Market by John Fuller

– Poetry by Saadi Youssef

– The Treasure and the Dragon, a short extract from Beowulf

The Crystal Cabinet by William Blake

Ode to a Grecian Urn by John Keats

Winter Quarters by Pete Didsbury

The British Museum by Peter Didsbury in Scenes from a Long Sleep

The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 – 1894)

The Room of Saints and Virgins by Jean Sprackland in her collection, Hard Water.

The Natural History Museum by Kate Clanchy published in her collection Samarkand.

Museum Piece by Richard Wilbur

The Dolls Museum in Berlin by Eavan Boland

Archaic Torso of Apollo by Rainer Maria Rilke

Subject by Kate Potts (about a medical museum in her t-l Pilot pamphlet)

The Jade Corridor by Richard Marggraf Turley in his Salt collection

Museum of the Forest by Matthew Francis

In the Wedding Museum in The Book of Love

Red Rackham’s Treasure by Lavinia Greenlaw

An Ovaltine Tin… by Paul Farley in Bum on Fire

The Sea Cabinet by Catriona O’Reilly

Natural History by Kate Bingham in Quicksand Beach

Into the Rothko Installation by Peter Redgrove
Musee des Beaux Arts by W H Auden
The British Museum Reading Room by Louis MacNeice

The Theological Museum by Paul Stubb from his 2005 Flambard collection of the same name

The Black Museum in David Harsent’s Selected

Fox in the National Museum of Wales by Robert Minhinnick

The Green-Handled Knife by Martyn Crucefix




Past Poetic Archaeology in the Poetry of W.B.Yeats and Seamus Heaney (2004) by Christine Finn

Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995) by Kate Atkinson [fiction]

Selected by Lee Harwood includes a poem about his father and a museum

The American Poetry Wax Museum: Reality Effects, 1940-1990 by Jed Rasula

Recollections by Maureen Almond (produced during a residency at The Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle upon Tyne)

Other links:

A good search engine: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/search.htm…useum&x=39&y=11
A poetry competition: http://www.dlrcoco.ie/library/f02en.htm


MAGPIE – Secondary Schools Speaking and Listening November 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — enquiremanchester @ 4:46 pm

Just had a great day planning a new speaking and listening project with Chorlton High School’s Caroline Morgan, Newall Green High School’s Louise Mills, artists Naomi Kendrick and Fiona Muir (from WFA Media and Cultural Centre), along with help from Stephen Welsh (curator of living cultures), Julie from Manchester City Council, and Louise, Cat and I from the Secondary Learning Team.  As you can see from the big planning map we made, there were lots of ideas!  You should be able to double click to make it bigger 🙂

Plenty more to say about this but I’ll save it for another time… to be continued…


More Tree of Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — enquiremanchester @ 4:34 pm

Another great Tree of Life created last weekend… Inspired by Darwin’s voyage on HMS Beagle we collected animals from around the mammals gallery by drawing them and then added them to our own giant tree of life.


Drawing Inspiration 2009 with The Campaign for Drawing November 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — enquiremanchester @ 7:44 pm

The Big Draw came to Manchester Museum for adults last month.  We used drawing to research, record and interpret the collections and explored the plant stores (or Herbarium) to make our own contemporary art work.


The Darwin Drawing Studio

Filed under: Uncategorized — enquiremanchester @ 6:25 pm

Throughout October half term we created a Darwin studio so we could used drawing to collect and record specimens from all around the museum and in both of our Darwin Extravaganza galleries.  People drew like the illustrators of Darwin’s time (a bit like Stephen’s illustrated entomology book that you can see in the exhibition), made imaginary creature shadows from memory paper cutting, and created a giant ‘tree of life’ linking lots of creatures together.


Lots of lovely schools October 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — enquiremanchester @ 2:41 pm

Nearly half way through the term again and schools have been coming and making some show-stopping art work. So here’s the full unedited gallery from three of the sessions:  To the Skeleton, Draw to Explore and an insect research session…

Just a couple of weeks ago we went ‘To The Skeleton’ with Manchester Health Academy – we made negative scissor drawings, through-acetate drawings, and then mixed it all up.

Ewing School came and took over our Entomology stores for two afternoons and gave us some thoughtful insight on the new Nature Discovery displays.  Both groups even managed to squeeze in the time to make some breathtaking study-drawings using good old-fashioned pencil and paper – a classic combination!  They left us with lots of promises that they would come back and show us the sculpture work developed from their studies, so watch this space!

The Draw to Explore session with Tarleton High School seemed to develop it’s own ‘time’ theme, with the students drawing what they could see out of the tower window as well as what they discovered inside.  Maybe they’d been inspired by their research of artists who’ve previously made work at the museum:  Ilana Halperin, Jamie Shovlin, Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan, and Jordan Baseman.

Now all these artists can join the likes of Turner Prize nominated Lucy Skaer who also uses museum objects in her work.