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Education Forum 


We would like to thank everyone who participated in our call:

    1. Susanna Gomes da Silva, Head of Education, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Portugal
    2. Eva Verity, Education and Public Engagement and Jill HendersonMarketing and Communications, Esker Foundation, Canada
    3.   Claire Feeley, Head of Exhibitions and Audience, Jupiter Artland, Scotland
    4.   Sietske van Zanten, Director, LAM, The Netherlands
    5.   María José Valverde, Head of Education, Museo Picasso Málaga, Spain
    6.   Marie-Hélène Lemaire, Head of Education, PHI Foundation,Canada
    7.   Laura Zocco, Head of Education and Giovanna Amadasi, Head of Cultural and Institutional Programs, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Italy
    8.   Jenna Barberot, Fondation Thalie, Belgium

These forums are so that everyone can get to know each other better and together we will build a strong network beneficial for all. Our role is to connect everyone and to listen and act accordingly.

Jill Henderson, Esker Foundation:

People need to feel connected to the Museum, and building these connections is a long process. Thinking more widely, what is a museum or gallery and what do they mean to the people and do they see themselves there. Are they mirrored and reflected within the programming? 

We keep inviting the young people and people who are new to Canada, and once they do visit, they are connected.

We had great success with our Kapwani Kiwanga exhibition, which went viral on Instagram. 100’s of 15 to 30-year olds photographing themselves with the work. Now we follow and invite influencers for VIP visits to the gallery.

Giovanna Amadasi, Pirelli HangarBicocca:

We had a strong internal debate, before changing our language completely. We now have two languages – the Institutional and then the more friendly and direct. One challenge for Pirelli HangarBicocca is their physical location, as they are slightly out of the city, people need to make a journey to visit. They decided to work with Saatchi and Saatchi, (sponsored) to create a physical campaign for the subway and in public spaces. People in the street needed to see something very direct and friendly.

The visiting public increased significantly, especially as Pirelli HangarBicocca is free of charge, which again is a major point that has been discussed over the last 10 years, we want it to be free of charge. They have a very diverse public, due to two main influencers – Maintaining free entry and having the physical friendly campaign.

These campaigns unlike the institutional ones always had people in them. 

Clare Hindle: 

Here is a link to the Audience Agency profiles for each type of visitor, which is then used as a baseline for the audience development plans. I will add examples to the Google Drive folder.  

 Susanna Gomes da Silva, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum:

 To overcome the current situation with all the restrictions, we decided to create solutions for the teachers and the students, we adapted the guided tours and the workshops in a more intimate way. We also created videos, using our normal questions and standard approach to start a dialogue. We used the same mediators with the hope they would start a discussion in the classroom – an appetizer for the class. 

We say to teachers you can use it on your own, or you can invite one of our mediators to the school, or you can come to the museum, or you can use a tutorial with suggestions to explore and interpret the same theme as on the video.

María José Valverde, Museo Picasso Málaga, Spain

Schools will visit in the future as you can’t replace the aesthetic experience of visiting the museum. However, during the lockdown, we offered schools online resources, which we will also use in the future.

Susanna Gomes da Silva, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum:

In Portugal, all museums, theatres and cultural institutions are trying to work out how to deal with schools and the contingency plans of everyone.  Still schools have a lot of restrictions. Strangers can’t enter the school, which makes it much harder to find creative ways to turn a school into a creative and cultural hub. If they can’t go out, then perhaps we can all go in. So, we are working with the Education Ministry and “The National Plan for the Arts’. To find a way of reinforcing that Arts and Culture are part of the curriculum, turning the schools into Cultural Hubs. Therefore, the Art Professionals entering the schools are not strangers. It’s another way to think about schools and an opportunity to think about coming out of such a situation.  In two weeks, the document will be launched with a campaign to say, “Culture is not Suspended” Growing Kids need culture and arts just like maths and languages. Every school they approach is saying ‘We would like to, but we cannot.’ 

Sietske van Zanten, LAM, Lisse:

We also make films and videos for the schools and teachers to use in the classroom, and we also offer students the opportunity to become Art Trainee’s and with that they can come to the museum with their family or parents (for free). They first have the lesson in the class and then receive a form, which they bring with them to the Museum. They guide their family and relay the knowledge they have learnt and if they do it successfully, then they receive a certificate.

For us now as the schools are unable to come to us, this way we do it in the class and then we tease them to come and complete their whole art lessons in the Museum in their family situation. The children are really proud, and you get the families to visit, who may not have normally visited.  

Marie-Hélène Lemaire, PHI Foundation:

We have a similar situation and we developed a family kit, with six works of art, which were explored along with 6 activities. For schools they can use the online presentations, PowerPoint for the images, so that this can be facilitated in the classroom. We also send the printed copies along with flyers, encouraging them to visit and to complete the experience. This works really well.

Laura Zocco, Pirelli HangarBicocca:

The same problem is in Italy, schools are unable to visit. Our approach is about the dialogue, and to be in the museum, to experience the space, so we had to change everything. 

Susanna Gomes da Silva, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum: 

We started lockdown with workshops for families, because so many live activities were suspended, especially around Easter. We turned these activities into challenges that the families could do at home. 

One project which was already live at the beginning of the lock-down, was a Coding Programming – open call from 18-24-year-olds, a private group working on; What is programming? What would your role be as a programmer and what would you propose.

The group all saw this as an intervention tool in society. They were going to run a weekend event with concerts etc. They chose the artists carefully, each had very meaningful topics to share. So instead the project was taken online and we divided them into three groups. If you can no longer go to the Street, what is the new Public Space. They chose roundtables, they then chose the theme and ran the session. They invited their friends, it was really meaningful, COVID just made it more urgent.

It became apparent that we are not able to produce programmes for youngsters, instead you need to have youngsters tell you and programme with you to get it right. This is now going to be the new way of working for us. 

Claire Feeley, Jupiter Artland:

We agree and have a similar situation. Without the young people to guide us, it felt like we were in an echo chamber. The uptake at the beginning of lockdown was great, but after a month, we realised we need to get the onsite ready. 

Jupiter is open, as an outdoor gallery. Scotland has provided clear guidelines, so under 12’s are actively encouraged to have person to person learning. 

The first full class is coming this week. It will be Teachers leading themselves looking after the group as a ‘class bubble’. We are going to take small steps.

Eva Verity and Jill Henderson, Esker:

At the beginning of lockdown they had the worst possible situation, a kinetic exhibition that you needed to be touched and engaged with, so that visitors could have the experience of having them move. They created new audio material as well as a documentary on the artist, which they showed in the gallery, when they reopened, which was really complicated including organising staff to activate the sculptures for the visitors. Now they are looking at “What does the lack of touch mean. If touch is sensored,  a lot of re-thinking is therefore happening around the world.”

Giovanna Amadasi and Laura Zocco, Pirelli HangarBicocca:

We are now working a lot with artists on the educational programme and we realised that when we switched to the digital, artists especially performance artists were very helpful in leading reflection in how to use your body and how to relate to young children and the public. So, we are trying to use this situation as a means of reflection.

We are trying to use this experience with an Italian performative artist (name?) She uses the body and she makes people use their bodies through the computer. We saw that as a type of exercise that is useful when you can’t touch. 

We are trying to organise training for teachers about this kind of experience. If they have to use the screen again in the future they will have more skills to evolve and engage the students even if they are not together in person. We will let you know if it happens.

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