Over the last few months The Kids in Museums Workshop team have been super busy bringing our supporters fantastic and inspiring workshops in Cardiff and London. As well as exciting speakers and plenty of opportunities to share knowledge and ideas, we always make sure we have some of our talented Kids in Museums volunteers available to lend a hand. Here, they share their experiences of our recent Workshops…
Family Fortunes Workshop, Science Museum by Sarah Bennett
Delegates eagerly gathered at the Science Museum for the first Family Fortunes workshop of 2015, kicked off by Caroline Marcus, Projects Director for Kids in Museums.
The fabulous Lucie Fitton and Katie Windsor from The Audience Agency shared their research and helped us all to understand what the 21st century family looks like. With some thought-provoking statistics, we were prompted to consider the make-up of today’s families and review our intergenerational provision. Then Kids in Museums’ Vyki Sparks discussed the pleasures of visiting family friendly museums, especially when they have something to offer to all ages (Vyki and her family were also mystery museum judges for our Family Friendly Museum Award).
Our famous ‘Five Minute Blasts’ were as inspiring as ever: Oxford University’s Miranda Millward encouraged us to consider developing Arts Awards for Families in a Museum setting; Johnathan Branson, Audience Development & Digital Communities Officer at Warwick Arts Centre highlighted the value of a successful Family Ambassadors Scheme; Xenia Demetriou from Eye4Change promoted outreach and inclusion; Olympia Brown talked about the fantastic family offer at the Royal Institution and our very own Jane Allnutt spoke about the Kids in Museums Manifesto, how it has evolved over the years, and the twenty points museums can focus on to be truly family friendly.
A breakout session generated lots of ‘bright ideas’, such as ‘providing sensory baskets or items for very young children at events for older children’ with some wonderful practical solutions for everyone to take away and implement.
After a delicious lunch, a choice of four wonderful workshop sessions meant something for everyone; all were well attended, stimulating positive discussions and generating lots of ideas.
Finally, we heard from Sevinc Kisacik from our host, the Science Museum, who spoke so enthusiastically about their hugely successful ‘Early Birds’ sessions, which were opportunities to engage with families with autism in a positive way. We were all inspired by Sevinc and the fantastic response from the families involved.
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Learning Together Workshop, Barbican by Jack Shoulder
The Barbican played host to Kids in Museums’ first ever Learning Together workshop, exploring working with young people across the arts.
Our Special Guest Speaker, Holly, from A New Direction kicked us off by sharing fascinating findings on how collaboration between organisations can encourage children and young people involved with ‘culture’ and ‘the arts’, and broke down what people think those two terms actually mean.
The ‘Five Minute Blasts’ were fully loaded with some amazing examples of cross-arts works. We heard about exciting projects such as Takeover Arts at Firstsite, #MyseryTours in Birmingham, Dancing in Museums and caves and how local bands rocked the house at the Horniman. All of which gave the morning discussion groups plenty to talk about.
Returning from lunch, we were treated to some poetry from Aisling Fahey, the Young Poet Laureate for London. “How did you become so talented?” asked a voice from the floor after being blown away by the performance. In response, Aisling said: “Because of the excellent arts programmes set up by museums and galleries!” She was very passionate about how important that was to her life.
Breaking into groups, the delegates discussed topics including: how to work with freelancers, internal buy-in (‘How to get a project like this up and running when you know that the Trustees would just [hate] it?’), and that all important funding.
Some of the great ideas from the day were not necessarily what you would expect,
- Never underestimate the importance of snacks* as an incentive for young people
- When working cross arts, try to maintain a degree of flexibility – who knows where the project might take you?
- Young people have expertise and ideas too, listen to them
- Don’t let the project become about box-ticking – consider early what everyone’s aims are when working in partnership.
*It bears repeating that the importance and influence of pizza cannot be overstated…
Teen Workshop, Cardiff Story Museum by Alyza Tabor
The idea behind the Teen Workshop was to give delegates ideas on how to attract more teenagers to their museums and galleries.
The event was kicked off by Martin Daws, the Young Poet Laureate for Wales, who performed a piece called ‘T, T, Together.’ Not only did the delegates participate during the performance, but they were also able to ask Martin for advice on his experiences as a youth worker and his communication with youths through poetry and rap.
Highlights of the day included a talk by Eirwen Hopkins and Iona Towler-Evans from Swansea University’s First Choice Project. They delivered a presentation about their work, which contained advice on how to get NEETS (young people who are not in education, employment or training) on board.
Other speakers came from Monmouth and Bristol Museums, the Black Kettle Collective from Swansea, Valleys Kids, and Kids in Museums’ Catherine Townsend talking about TakeOver Day.
The delegates were given a chance to share ideas about working with young people through the ‘Bright Ideas’ segment. Many discussed how partnerships between organisations and schools were key in achieving great relationships with youths, especially with those who were disengaged from learning or on the brink of exclusion.
Our hosts, Cardiff Story, shared the success of a recent exhibition which was due to the input of a temporary youth panel. Many people were inspired by this and vowed to start their own. This brought to light the benefits of working on a short-term project with young people and made a few of us question if it is necessary to sustain a youth panel.
The main points made throughout the day were that honesty and sincerity were essential when interacting with young people, and that they appreciated being placed in a position of responsibility.
We were thrilled that our recent Digital Families Workshop at The British Museum was a hugely successful, sell-out event. Look out for our update news story – coming soon!
We have lots of other fantastic opportunities coming up, including Children and Young People as Tour Guides, at the Wallace Collection; Youth Panel Workshop at White Cube Gallery and Teen Workshop at ZSL London Zoo. For more information, and to book, please click here.