Category Archives: Steph Hawke

Dr Steph Takes on the Marathon

We are feeling very privileged at  the moment, not only is Barbara Sanders still on her way from Penzance, on foot, but one of our Trustees has also been out in all weathers, training hard for this weekend’s London Marathon.  Both are undertaking these extraordinary feats to raise funds for MPA’s 50th Anniversary.

Dr Stephanie Hawke, has been pounding the tow path of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, racking up a 100 miles of training runs.  Steph first became involved with MPA as a 16 year old on work placement.  Some years later we were very pleased to welcome her to the education team, which she went on to lead in 2011 after completing her PhD.  Although we lost her to Curious Minds a while back, Steph has stayed involved with MPA by joining the Board of Trustees.

Steph Hawke 2 - training for London Marathon April 2016

Steph says, “I started running with a fantastically supportive group organised through Burnley Leisure. My first race was the Jane Tomlinson Burnley 10k.  I got the bug and within 12 months I’d joined Clayton Le Moors Harriers, run six half marathons and had my sights on the big one. I was delighted to win a place for the Virgin London Marathon 2016 and started training in January running through ice, hail, lightning, wind, rain and sun. As the mileage increased the Leeds Liverpool Canal provided the perfect track, and apart from being hissed at by surprisingly threatening geese, I have successfully pounded more than 100 miles of training. There’s a physical price to pay for that kind of endurance and I’ve had painful massage and acupuncture not to mention experimenting with ice baths and agonising foam rollers!

I’m raising money for Mid Pennine Arts to establish an award for young artists. The organisation has brought vibrancy, colour and texture to Pennine Lancashire for 50 years, often with little recognition – who doesn’t love the Singing Ringing Tree? MPA make me proud to live in Burnley and I want to inspire the next generation of artists to work in our quietly fabulous historic and rural environment. “

Steph has contributed so much to MPA over the years and we are delighted to benefit from her efforts once again.   We know how hard she’s been training for this and appreciate it enormously; we hope that people will help her reach her target of £800.

Contributions to Steph’s fundraising can be made via Just Giving.

Steph Hawke - training for London Marathon April 2016

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Changes afoot!

MPA Creative Director Nick Hunt reports on some big changes ahead for our busy Creative Learning team.

Change is in the air!  And change is good, of course, but sometimes it takes a little bit of getting used to.  At MPA our team is grappling with the implications of a quick-fire sequence of news items about individuals who have made themselves very important to us…

StephFirst, we would like to announce that our Programme Manager for Creative Learning, Dr Stephanie Hawke, will be moving on in September to a new, strategic role with our partners at Curious Minds.  Curious Minds is the Arts Council’s bridge organisation for the North West region, responsible for connecting young people with the arts.  Our team work regularly with them, delivering advisory and consultancy work, and this is a natural progression for Steph, and a new dimension for that partnership.  It’s a terrific opportunity and we are delighted for her.

Steph has spent three and a half years on the MPA team, but the connection goes back much further, to a work experience stint as a 16 year old!  Since our teenage volunteer reappeared she has made a vital contribution to our work.  Her academic background in museum education, and her doctoral specialisms in sense of place and the notion of the ecomuseum have brought new dimensions to our work and have underpinned some lovely projects.  We are glad Steph will still be just down the hill, and we are plotting to ensure that MPA continues to benefit from some of that arcane wisdom.

DavidAnd then there is David.  There has always been David, or so it seems to most of us.  But shortly after Steph’s news, David Smith let us know that he is ready to take the work out of the work/life balance.  Our Creative Learning Coordinator will be retiring at the end of October, and MPA will have to learn to get by without our spiritual guide.

David arrived in 1999 as our lottery funded Education Officer.  MPA’s work with schools took off, and developed exponentially.  Over 13 years he has built up an unmatched range of contacts with schools and teachers, and delivered some wonderful, inspirational creative projects.  Two years ago, David swapped jobs with Steph, in one of those rare examples of turkeys voting for Christmas.  Now he is taking the next step, and he will be very much missed.

This is a busy time for MPA, with a number of new projects in progress and in development.  Portraits of the Past will be connecting many young people with Gawthorpe Hall.  New music projects have been developed for young women of mixed cultures and early years pupils.  Our structured volunteering programme will signpost opportunities for Arts Awards and other qualifications.  Pennine Lancashire’s new canal partnership will add rich possibilities, as will our developing Contemporary Heritage series over the next couple of years.  Learning and engagement will be vital dimensions of all our projects, and so we will be recruiting shortly to renew our team’s skillset.  We are working now with our trustees on plans for that.

Meanwhile we will be saying bye and thanks to two brilliant contributors to MPA.  If you are one of the many people who have worked with David over the years, ask us for news of how we will be marking his departure.  Just don’t tell David!

More Arts Awards – Our Reviews

Young people involved in our Lost Legends project have been experiencing art, most recently by exploring a sculpture trail. Here are their more detailed reviews of their experience as arts audience members. To help them achieve their Bronze Arts Awards please leave a comment about their reviews below.

Emily Brown:

The event was a Pendle Sculpture trail at Aitkin Wood. The artform was Sculpture. The pieces were made by a number of local artists, the main artist was Philippe Handford. The art trail displayed was made from natural materials in the wood.

I went to this event to gain more information about the Pendle Witches for our project. Some sculptures linked with stories of the Pendle Witches. I liked how the sculpture trail was outside linking with the natural materials the art was made from. I especially liked the sculptures of the falling tree as something good was  made from something useless. I didn’t like how the trail wasn’t very accessible and how some sculptures didn’t relate with our project of the Pendle Witches.

I would recommend this sculpture trail to others because the experience is very different as the art work is made naturally and displayed outside. However some people may not prefer this.

From this experience I have learnt how art can be made from something as simple as tress. I have learnt that people actually make these outdoor sculpture trails.

 

Franscesca Tomlinson

(I went to) Pendle Sculpture Trail at Aitkin Wood. It was a trail up a hill that included lots of pieces of art made from natural materials. Lots of different artists created them and the main one was Philippe Handford.

I am doing a project on the Pendle Witches and wanted to see if the sculptures showed us more about the witches. I liked to see how much effort people had put in, especially in the sculpture of a made made from a tree bark, because of how detailed it was. I also liked how it was made from natural materials.

I didn’t think the trail was very accessible and it was hard to understand what some of them meant. I also thought eh sculptures were quite dull and could have been better with colour. I would recommend this trail to others if it was a nice day because the sculptures were very raw and natural. However I don’t think it suits everyone.

I learnt that lots of different sculptures and pieces of art can be made from such simple materials that create something with much more meaning than they did in their original form.

 

Georgina Ward

(The event involved a) talk about the sculpture trail of the Pendle Witches. (I went to this event) to get a better background knowledge of the Pendle Witches). The sculpture trail included many interesting pieces. I particularly like how the bats were hidden in the tress and also the fallen trees. (It was) a little difficult to understand some aspects of the sculpture trail such as the wall. I would (recommend it to others) because it is very interesting and a good day out.

(I learnt) how other people interpret their different views of the Pendle Witches into art. 

 

Frank Metcalfe

We went to Pendle Sculpture Trail which is in Aitkin Wood. We walked around and looked at artwork by Philippe Handford. The theme is the Pendle Witches. (I went to the event) because I was interested in viewing the artwork of Philippe Handford and exploring the sculpture trail. I did not enjoy the sculpture trail because although good, I didn’t see how the artwork was relevant to the witches and it was quite dull. I enjoyed walking and exploring the woods and liked learning about being a sculpturist. The artwork was very complex and was hard to understand the relevance to the Pendle Witches. I learned about Philippe’s work as an artist and that you could make a career out of sculpture work, which I didn’t know before.

 

Erin Porter-Brown

We walked around a trail and saw different artwork / sculptures. I went to this event to learn more about the Pendle Witches. (I liked) the different sculptures because they were interesting. (I didn’t like) the weather (and I felt Philippe) didn’t explain it properly. I would recommend it to others because it was really fun and you can learn a lot. I learned lots about the Pendle Witches.

 

Jodie Walsh

Pendle Sculpture Trail was at Aitkin Wood. Philippe Handford took us around and explained the many art sculptures to us. Many artists were involved in these sculptures. I went to this event because we are doing a ‘Pendle Witches’ project and during this project we wanted to find out more about the stories and how these sculptures showed us more about the witches.  I liked the fact that the sculptures were all outdoors because it gave the art a ‘natural’ feel. I also liked many of the sculptures because they were interesting and different. I didn’t like the fact that some of the art was quite hard to understand because it was very different, also it was not very accessible since it was outside. I would recommend it to other because it was very interesting, especially because someone explained it to us and I felt I learnt a lot. I learnt that the different ways we can make sculptures and how the sculptures tie in with Pendle Witches.

 

Georgia Robinson

We went on an art sculpture trail, and walked around the woods of Pendle, looking at naturally made objects made by Philippe Handford. (I went to this event) to learn more about the Pendle Witches and visit the area that all of the things occurred in. There was a range in art things. I liked the sculptures which were made naturally out of resources like trees and metal. (I didn’t like) the weather and atmosphere, also I didn’t understand the explanations behind the sculptures. I would (recommend it to others) because then people in the area could learn more about the Pendle Witches and look at the sculptures. I learned more about the Pendle Witches.

Melissa Gaffey

I went to see the Lion King, the artform was theatres. I want to watch the Lion King with my family. (I went to this event) because it was a great experience and I liked the film. (I liked) the animals, the acting, the experience (and that) I knew the story. I didn’t like the long drive. I would recommend it to other people because it is a great experience for families to watch.

 

Keiran McGaney

We were viewing sculpture that Philippe Handford had made out of natural materials. We went to the event to learn more about the Pendle Witches. I liked it because I learned about the sculptures and I spent the day with my friends. I could not understand the story behind the artwork (but) I would recommend it to keen walker or people who like history. I learnt more about the Pendle Witches.

 

Louis  Barrett

We walked around Aitken Wood following the Pendle Sculpture Trail. We were given an audio tour from artist Philippe Handford. Its theme was the Pendle Witches. I went to this event because I was very interested to explore the trail. I found it easy to relate to the witches’ story. I liked talking to Philippe and learning about his job and things. Also exploring the artwork and realising how much time went in to making it. I didn’t like the boggy footpath and bad weather. Also I did not like the duration of the tour as it dragged on and got boring. I would recommend it as it was helpful to understand the witches’ story. I learnt more about the witches’ lifestyle and what they did in their life.

Abi Robinson

(I took part in) viewing all of the sculptures that Philippe Handford had made from natural materials. I went to learn more about the Pendle Witches. I liked the creativity and how he made all the sculptures from natural materials. I didn’t like how I couldn’t understand the story behind the artwork. I would recommend this artwork to people who enjoy walking and have an interested in history and art. I learnt more about the Pendle Witches and how different sculptures can be made from natural materials.

Sarah Gullfoyle

We went on a sculpture trail at Aitkin Wood. The artist Philippe Handford led us along the trail explaining his artwork. I went to this event because it was linked to the Pendle Witches project we are working on. I was very natural, all the materials were tree-based after being cut down. All the art being at different heights made it interesting. It wasn’t very accessible or easy to walk around in difficult conditions. I couldn’t really see a link to the Pendle Witches. I would recommend it on a nice day because it was a nice walk and the art was quite eye-catching. I learnt that you can make beautiful and inspiring art out of natural materials.

 

Olivia Peccerillo

We followed a sculpture trail around Aitkin Wood, and the tour guide was Philippe Handford. He was the artist who made the sculptures, and he explained what they meant. We were involved in a Pendle Witch project and we were going to get more information about the Pendle Witches. I liked the fact that the art was at different heights and different sizes. The location linked to the story about Pendle Witches plus it was a very natural feeling because it was outside in the woods.

I didn’t understand the art, the tour guide and the art didn’t really link to the Pendle Witches. It didn’t involve much about the witches. I would recommend this to others if it was a nicer day, but we did manage to enjoy it even though the weather was bad, which means it would be more enjoyable in better weather. (I learnt) that art could be portrayed in different ways and that artists could use locally sourced materials to create the sculptures. Also that the artists could be paid for doing this.

 

Catherine Burns

We followed a sculpture trail through Aitken Wood and Philippe Handford, the artist who made the sculptures, explained their meaning to us. We were involved in a project about the Pendle Witches and were learning more about the story and local beliefs about it. I liked the fact that the sculptures were different sizes and some were partly concealed up in the trees. The fact that it was outdoors gave it a natural mood, especially as the location fit in with the Pendle Witches. The art wasn’t very accessible and it was hard to see how some of the pieces linked to the witches. I would (recommend it to others) because we managed to enjoy it even though the weather was bad, which means in good weather it would probably be more enjoyable. (I learnt) that artists can use locally sourced materials to create sculptures that follow a theme, creating pieces of art work for people to interpret themselves about the witches.

Liberty Apricot Turner

(I enjoyed) walking around the wood in the outdoors and observing the learning about different sculptures made by Philippe Handford inspired by the Pendle Witches trail and story. (I went to this event) because I wanted to learn more about the Pendle Witches and also to learn about art. I enjoyed looking at the sculpture of the falling tree as it was creative and made from natural materials. I didn’t like how some sculptures were hard to understand because I like art that tells a story and is interesting. I would recommend it to keen walkers or families as it is a pretty walk and are interested in history. I learnt that art can come from basically anything since before I associated art with paper and pain, now I know it can be more – just basic materials.

 

Jack Harbour

We walked around Pendle Sculpture Trail. Philippe Handford gave us a tour of the trail. It was in Aitkin Wood and its theme was the Pendle Witches. I went to this event because I was very interested by the artwork was quite hard to understand. I liked some of the artwork because it was really cool. Some of the art was hard to understand and wasn’t relevant. I would recommend it but not all the art. I learnt that the council would pay Philippe to go into the woods and do that sort of thing.

 

Stephanie Warrington

I went to the Paper Cut Exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. There was a mixture of art ranging from sculptures like a motorbike and paper like maps made of money. I went to this event because it links to the projects we were doing in class. I liked the life-sized sculptures, different types of art and a man that was made only from books hanging from the ceiling. Some of the paper art were more obscure / difficult to understand. I would recommend it to others because it would appeal to a wide range of people. 

ground-UP at Anfield Home Tour

MPA’s Creative Learning Programme Manager, Dr Steph Hawke, is one of three creative collaborators working on Burnley Borough Council’s project ground-UP along with Cath Ford and Iain Broadley.  The three of them joined a group from Lancashire visiting Anfield Home Tour, part of the Liverpool Biennial programme. Here’s Steph’s blog about the day.

Anfield Tour

Is it really possible to know a place if you have never lived in it? Existential philosophers have expressed an interest in sense of place as ‘lived experience’. They wanted to get to the very essence of place through a study they called phenomenology.

On Wednesday 5 December 2012, Cath, Iain and I hopped on a minibus in Liverpool and came screeching, slap-bang, face to face with a tale of lived experience so heartbreakingly poignant and electrifyingly angering that we were able to think of little else that week. We didn’t live in that place, but through an incredible artistic intervention we certainly experienced its phenomenology.

This was the Anfield Home Tour. Originally commissioned as part of Liverpool Biennial, the tour is a careful weaving of personal experience, literary talent, comedic improvisation and theatrical direction that combine to tell a story, or many stories, of life in an area of housing market renewal. The tour reveals tension between insider and outsider accounts of Anfield’s situation; the resulting ‘insider’ narrative is so rich in colour and texture that lived experience in Anfield is brought into sharp focus.

Housing Market Renewal arrived in Anfield some fifteen years ago. As ‘Carl’ our tour guide pointed out – the emphasis here is upon housing market renewal, not community renewal. In his view, this has been a project entirely focussed on the future with little regard to the ‘now’. The gleaming Keepmoat future has yet to arrive for many who continue to live in Anfield, in a diverse housing stock of Victorian terraces, some humble, some grand: five bedroom redbricks with period features. These are the houses Phil and Kirsty dream of except for their ‘location, location, location’. Because in Anfield residents have been told their location is one of deprivation, undesirable, and their houses not good enough. Conversely, as Jayne Lawless explained when our minibus parked outside what was once her family home, “we didn’t feel deprived”.

Anfield TourHere stood the now ‘tinned up’ terrace in which Jayne’s parents raised their family, both worked and Jayne had a comfortable home in a safe and caring community. When they were just five years away from paying off their mortgage, Jayne’s parents were forced to sell through compulsory purchase order. They didn’t get a fair price and, for their new home, they had to take on more debt which Jayne will be liable for when they pass away.

As did Bob, who climbed on board our minibus outside what was once his home. A DIY enthusiast, he’d invested in his house over many years, only to watch the damp creep in when surrounding properties fell empty and the council failed to make them watertight. Hospitalised with pneumonia, kids setting fire to empty houses on his street, he was finally delighted with his relocation. He chose not to dwell on the money he lost in the transaction and the fresh debt he’ll pass on to his offspring.

On and on the tour went, with one resident’s story layered upon another until finallyAnfield Tour we were asked inside Sue’s house. Bought by her grandma in 1920, she described the ways in which her family had modernised and in turn restored this beautifully presented home. A compulsory purchase order has hung over it for years and Sue still doesn’t know if she is staying or going.

She hangs on as her surroundings fall into the ‘controlled decline’ of absentee private landlords, antisocial tenants and neglected empty houses from which flora grow through into the walls of Sue’s loft space. Sue was barely able to conceal the emotional pain and burden of stress this has weighed upon her for no small number of years.

At the conclusion of our tour, we disembarked at Homebaked. Here over hot tea and fresh bread, we were reunited with all of this story’s characters and they explained what they plan to do next…

HOMEBAKED

Jeanne van Heeswijk has been working with the community in Anfield for the last two and a half years. Through the 2Up 2Down / Homebaked project the community can take matters into their own hands. Here the community have come together to reuse a block of empty property made up of a former bakery building and two adjoining terraced houses.

They have set up the Homebaked Community Land Trust, a cooperative organisation with its roots in the garden city movement. This will enable the collective community ownership of the properties and the reopening of the Bakery as a social enterprise.   Visit the Homebaked blog to see what they’re up to.

Loaf by loaf, brick by brick, 2Up2Down is building a new idea of community, work, social space and with it a new community resilience.”

Find out more about ground-UP and the South West Burnley Museum.

groundUP

Urban Music Leaders challenge PenUltimate!

MPA’s volunteer Dominique visits the Urban Music Leaders project…

Mid Pennine Arts have received an award from National Lottery’s Youth Music fund for an exciting project in Burnley and Nelson developing hip hop music with young people. The project will broadly explore hip hop culture: rhyming, beat boxing, urban art and turntablism. We will be working with young people to develop their skills as music leaders, teaching the techniques they have learned to their peers, with the chance to gain Arts Awards accreditation along the way.

So with this in mind we set off in Lucy’s car for Sir John Thursby Community College for a taster session and picked up some hip hop artists from the bus station on the way. Ben Mellor and Martin Stannage led the session and are part of PenUltimate, Manchester’s premier hip hop and spoken word collective.

We pulled up to the very impressive architecture of the college and were met by Mr Wilson the music teacher who helped Ben and Martin set up the space. We were then joined by a group of enthusiastic young people who had signed up for the session. Ben and Martin began by recording a short example of some beat boxing laying sounds over one another to compose a beat. It was incredible to watch and hear such a variety of beats and pops and booms all created by Ben and Martin’s bodies!

Then it was the turn of the young people to have a go, Ben and Martin taught a few bass sounds as well as experimenting with noises from the lips and throat for the ones brave enough to have a go. There were many questions to follow from the young people including challenging Martin to a free style hip hop poem; Martin accepted this challenge with impressive skill.

With the young people fired up to continue with the project in half terms ‘boot camp’ it was time to drop Ben and Martin back at the bus stop leaving Lucy and I to practice our beat boxing techniques for next time.

Visit MPA’s website for more information.

Urban Music Leaders Taster Session

Engage Summer School 2012: Dynamic Roles / It’s All Mediating

Finland’s Singing Ringing Tree?

Dr Steph Hawke, MPA’s Creative Learning Programme Manager, reflects on an action packed week in Helsinki…

As arts educators we find ourselves working in a shifting milieu of economic and political change both nationally and internationally.  How are our roles becoming more dynamic?  What does it mean to mediate?  At the end of May I spent a week in Helsinki at the Engage Summer School 2012 which provided a space to consider and debate these questions.  The Summer School took in a two day conference, Its All Mediating  hosted by Kiasma Museum of Modern Art.

In order to deliver measurable social impact, we learned from Tate Liverpool’s Lindsey Fryer that partnership and mediation are essential, but to beware the weasel words!  On the other hand, the value placed on arts education by Helsinki city, was celebrated by Eeva Mussari of Annantalo Arts Centre who described Helsinki school children’s free two times five  entitlement.  Helsinki Art Museum’s Kaisa Kettunen highlighted the  shifting roles of the arts educator, as she explained her work as an educator who is also head of customer services.  Kate Self, of Ikon Gallery Birmingham, led a thought provoking discussion of  the relationships between curatorial and educational practice in Ikon’s Slow Boat  programme.  Finally, Maija Tanninen, Director of Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, explained that effective education is all about finding the right beer!

Weasel Words – Lindsey Fryer, Head of Education at Tate Liverpool, summarised for an international audience the unprecedented attention enjoyed by arts education under the UK’s previous political administration.  Tony Blair’s New Labour rallying-cry of ‘education, education, education’ combined with Ken Robinson’s All Our Futures report drew focus and funding towards creativity in the curriculum.  The case has been made for the value of arts education programmes to non-arts partners (health sector, prisons etc.) and the evidence of social and economic impact has been gathered.  This has led however to an overused terminology that risks sucking the meaning from the projects it is used to describe.  ‘Creativity’ Fryer suggested, has become a weasel word, undermining the work with which it is associated.  She expressed concern that the phrase ‘social impact’ might similarly begin to lose its clout.  Warning against cynically motivated attempts to evidence social impact, Fryer reminded the conference that educators cannot be tasked with relieving society’s ills.  We can however, be confident that our contribution to society is access to and ownership of cultural heritage. So, as learning comes under intense scrutiny, educators therefore need to step up and work together with our strategic partners in order to truly achieve social impact.  Indeed, for the arts educator: it is all mediating.

Two Times Five – The city of Helsinki places high value on the arts in education and Eeva Mussari, Course Planner from Annantalo Arts Centre, described the ways in which her work is subsided.  In Helsinki every school child is entitled to a course of two hours of art education at Annantalo Arts Centre over a five week period.  Young people can continue to pursue an interest in the arts in their own time through subsided free-time courses.

Shifting Roles – Helsinki Art Museum’s Kaisa Kettunen described the educator’s role as ‘advocate for the audience’ and educators have a role in every exhibition team at the Museum.  Interestingly however, Kettunen’s role is as Head of Education and Customer Services which gives pause for thought about the dynamic roles of educators.  Audiences are engaged with the work of the Helsinki Art Museum in a number of ways.  Notably the Tennari Youth Group have begun to develop confidence in the Art Museum having initially thought such places were “just for ladies over 40, sipping champagne”.  The group have found their voice through their Ten Minutes with Tennari  YouTube films in which they interview the museum’s current artists.

Curator, Educator or Both? – Kate Self, educator with Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery, described Slow Boat, a youth programme moving into its third year.  Activity takes place on a canal barge in keeping with Ikon’s rich history of contemporary art on Birmingham’s waterways.  Kate talked about the way in which artists are chosen to work on the Slow Boat project, and how closely this process resembles curatorial practice.  Slow Boat’s artists are selected not for their educational experience but for their research-based practice styles.  In its most recent cycle, Slow Boat has been working with artist Sarah Browne.

Sarah has chosen the theme of ‘scarcity’: scarcity of resources, of tools, of ideas and opportunities.  The theme draws inspiration from some of the social and political parallels between today and the 1980s, and the way in which 1980s anarchistic radio resonates with contemporary online media.

Kate foregrounded the similarities between educational programming and contemporary art curatorial practices at Ikon.  This opened a rich vein for discussion: How should an artist be contracted for educational work when the brief is so open?  Is researching an artist and their work key to successful educational programming?  Is it a problem for educators to work closely with the same artists as their curators?  Do educators tend to favour local artists and curators those from farther afield?  If so, why is this?

Finally Kate talked about the way Ikon as an institution continually absorbs its socio-political context.  As Birmingham loses its youth service, educators at Ikon expand into roles as youth workers, tasked with addressing issues such as unemployment.  Whilst education programmes speak to these wider agendas, they remain at Ikon, very similar to artistic practice.  The group were led to consider, is education process-driven whilst curating focusses on product?

Finding the Right Beer – Maija Tanninen, Director of Ateneum Art Museum, Helsinki, began her presentation with an image.  She showed a vintage Carlsberg advertisement in which Finland’s design classic, the wildly curvaceous Alvar Aalto vase, is filled with lager.  The strapline? “We couldn’t see the beauty of the object until we filled it with our favourite beer.”  She suggested this is the role of the educator or mediator: in our quest to help audiences engage with our exhibitions and collections, we are all in the business of finding them the right kind of beer.

Thanks to the European Commission’s Grundtvig Programme for generous funding.

Moomin dolls in the National Museum

At Espoo Museum of Modern Art as part of Helsinki’s World Design Capital 2012 celebrations: the world’s first ever mass-produced, futuristic house invites people to learn about the wild visions of future housing in the 1960s

Swedish sculptress Eva Löfdahl won the 2004 open competition organised by the Suomen yrittäjien patsassäätiö, a Finnish foundation for entrepreneurs statues, to honour and acknowledge Finnish entrepreneurs with an impressive public art work.

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What do the arts mean for young people?

Dr Steph Hawke, MPA’s Creative Learning Programme Manager recalls some recent work with young people.

What are the benefits of arts and culture for young people?  Is it easy for a young person in Pennine Lancashire to engage with the arts?  In February and March 2012, Mid Pennine Arts set out to explore these and other issues with two groups of young people. This involved a series of focus groups and creative activities. Curious Minds North West commissioned the research which fed into their wider intelligence gathering across the region.

The Creative Learning team worked with two groups of young people, aged between 14 and 15 and based in Accrington and Burnley. We asked them a range of questions: what do you do in your free time?  What arts activities do you engage with?  What do you do regularly?  What have you tried and stopped – and why?

Then we made a cultural visit – the Accrington group saw musical theatre at the Lowry Theatre.  The young people were set the challenge of trying something they had never done before. They explored digital photography and made a short film.

After being in the audience and taking part in a creative workshop, we asked the young people: what did you love?  What could have been better?

Finally we explored the barriers to engaging with arts and culture, what stops young people from getting involved?  The young people were encouraged to suggest ways of unlocking the arts.  In Burnley the group produced a manifesto for what young people want from their arts experiences.

We recorded the discussions digitally with photographs and sound.  We transcribed the discussions and analysed them with qualitative data analysis software.  Visit our website to view the powerpoint report from the project.