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’

enquire is on the move November 20, 2008

Filed under: Alchemy Enquire — enquiremanchester @ 2:56 pm
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We had our first meeting with Alice from Levenshulme High School on Tuesday. I’d already met with artist Dena Bagi a couple of times before in the museum’s resource centre to talk about the project.

Bagi and Day discussing enquire

Dena and I went along to talk to art teacher, Alice, about Dena’s ideas and to discuss how we could all work best together on the project.  We ran over the aims and objectives for the project which were broken down into points for students, artist, teacher/school, museum educator and museum curator separately.  The question I have identified for the project is:  How can schools, artists and museums work collaboratively to deliver successful, sustained and sustainable art projects where each of the participants is considered to be a learner? By viewing each of the participants as learners we’ll be looking at how collaborating together can also mean that we learn together and identify our own roles within the collaboration.  In considering ‘successful, sustained and sustainable art projects’ we’ll be looking at what makes a project successful, the differences for learning between longer projects and our one-off workshops, and at how we continue to offer sustained projects to schools in the future.

As the museum educator, my learning is focused around how I foster the collaborative partnership and how I develop the framework for this model of working.  Its also about what my role as a museum educator is for this project – should I be at all the delivered sessions, how much information or support do I need to give to each of the participants, and what’s the best way to evaluate the ‘success’ of the project – what does ‘success’ even mean?

The meeting with Alice reminded me that there is no ‘perfect’ way to go about a project.  I’d suggested that Dena try not to make any hard and fast plans before meeting Alice because I didn’t want the teacher to feel outside of the project from the beginning.  However, Dena did have some pretty developed ideas about what she wanted to do – the project is to be based around her practice after all – but Alice had no problem with thinking about how Dena’s plans would be appropriate for the class or the national curriculum.  So I needn’t have worried about Dena developing her ideas in advance of meeting Alice.  This might have been more difficult for other teachers though, as we’ve found in the past.

 

How it happened August 5, 2008

Two years ago Bryony Bond, the then curator for Alchemy (artists’ research at the museum), secured our first phase of funding to take part in a national research project into the benefits of working with contemporary art and artists for young people. This project is called en-quire. This funding allowed artists to work with the museum’s secondary learning team for the first time and for school children to engage with contemporary art and artists at the museum.

In 2007 en-quire continued our funding, this time enabling Bolton Museum, Art Gallery and Aquarium and Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston to join us in our research. The results of two years of research, which also allowed us to work with Salford’s Artists and Education and Creative Partnerships Manchester Salford, will be published by en-quire as part of their national findings and also in a smaller publication of the North West Manchester Cluster’s research reports. I’m also working on a website which can be used to share our research with other museums and schools who are interested in collaborating with contemporary art and artists.

We’re now getting excited about a further twelve months of working with en-quire, especially with the next academic year quickly approaching, but more about that in later blogs…