Two new projects! Woohoo!

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So I am feeling really positive about my internships this week because I met our venue people (who are doing quite a lot of the organising for the Storytelling Festival) and Sarah seems really practical and professional and seems keen to give me marketing stuff to do!

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I’m helping with that and Graham said I can do the publicising for Pop-Up Storytelling so I’ve formulated a massive list of people to ask if they want us to come to their venue. I’ve already got an email back from someone who sounds really keen! So hopefully that’s in response to our product being good and the copy I wrote being persuasive. I’ve tweeted and Facebooked about the Pop-Up already but I’m just waiting for a response so I can put up info on the Website, too. I really think that will be a clincher in getting people interested.

Yesterday I went to New Art Gallery Walsall and I went down to the Archive (with Jo Digger!!-from the book I am reading. V. excited about that. She set up the whole Archive from the start of TNAGW!) and we discussed what we would put in the Festival of Good Things which Zoe said I can organise! If it goes well It will be great experience. I have already researched some hog roasts. It’s replicating another festival run by Kathleen Garman in 1967. This one will take place in August and it’s going to be a day of all sorts of stuff, workshops and things. Next week I’m going to go to a ‘Salaam Celebration’ evaluation meeting at TNAGW next Tuesday so seeing how they have done a festival already will give me a better idea of what I’m going to be doing.

Salaam Celebration Flyer
Salaam Celebration Flyer

I met ‘A Colourful Crowd’ too! It’s a group of 19-21 year olds who are organising a show called ‘One Hundred and Onesies.’ They’re in the locking-it-down phase as it starts in a month and they’re getting out promotion soon. It’s a great opportunity they’ve got. Apparently they met Sue Beardsmore the other week to get speaking tips! Young people are where you can hit funding as well. It’s a great thing to do and it totally fits TNAGW’s mission statement and funding is a good by-product. It made me think that August is not that far away! It’ll be great to go to their meeting next week to see their process, too, and how they’ve progressed with all their wicked ideas!

Pop Up Business For Dummies

Some good stuff to think about as I’m pushing the idea of Pop-Up Storytelling in the Midlands for Traditional Arts Team.

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“Take a look around, and you see pop up cinemas and pop up cafes, pop up shops and pop up workspaces. And even those establishments that have been around a long time may suddenly have the word pop up in front of them. What’s going on with this pop up phenomenon? What are pop ups and why have they become so popular?”

Pop Up Business For Dummies follows on from the Empty Shops Workbook and the Empty Shops Toolkit which I’ve written previously. Condensing 12 years experience of using empty shops and managing pop up projects, it  provides the most up-to-date, in-depth guide to devising, planning and delivering a pop up shop yet. It’s out in October. You can pre-order it on Amazon here or from lovely bookshop The Book Ferret.

You can also read a sample chapter here.

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Scout Camp Preparation Night

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Game: Crab football

Exactly like normal football but their feet and hands must be on the floor at all times (bums will get dirty!). N.B. Pretty sure some of my Scouts don’t know what the “Offside Rule” is either – Guess that’s just a rite of passage 🙂

Images I found during a trawl of the internet about the offside rule.

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Now, as a female Scout leader, this picture is a joke I really expect to hear at some point from the male Scout leaders – some form of BINGO is probably called for… Sure I give as good as I get 🙂

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IDEAS FOR SCOUT CAMP PREPARATION NIGHT

The Scouts are going on Scout Camp next weekend. Here are some ideas of ways you can prepare your newbie Scouts.

Any of these things can be done as a competition: Who is the fastest?

– Get the Scouts to put up tents in the Scout hut (in teams of 2/3).

– Get them to put down the tents

– Get them to open up a Trangia and put it back together again – then they can do it blindfolded.

COOKING SAUSAGES

– Get the Scouts to cook sausages (or anything else – they could do a full meal if they wanted) in the trangia (bring ketchup & plates & cutlery & oil & sausages)

– Get the older Scouts to tell the younger Scouts how to use and tidy up the trangia.

– Food health – When is a sausage cooked? Safety with cooking oil

– Health and Safety with meths – how to get it out of the bottle, how much to use, putting out the meths burner.

– Fire Safety – keeping neckies out of the way of the fire, lowering the heat, not leaving fire unattended

Conclusion: If they’re anything like my Scouts, your Scouts will learn how to teach the other Scouts how to do things, have great fun, get full on sausages, get a bit too overexcited, have to be told not to play Quidditch in the hall with the brooms during tidying up (one of them almost Stupefied Ben!) and fall about in fits of laughter when they’re being taught how to “get fell in” and stand at ease correctly (something about putting your left leg in and your left leg out). Sure we’ll have them eating out of the palms of our hands by the time they go up to Explorers. LOL.

Review and Reflection: How to let an artist rifle through your archive

From 2009-2012 New Art Gallery, Walsall, brought together Archive Curator Neil Lebeter, and Artist-Curator Bob&Roberta Smith to curate the Beth Lipkin Archive (or what the author generally calls the Epstein Archive)

Having been reading Neil Lebeter’s book (which logs this curation), ‘How to let an artist rifle through your archive,’[1] I am more certain that the space in which you work is important. Not only for me as a, I guess, Management-Researcher?, but also for Curator-researchers and Artist-researchers. To be an Artist-in-residence is to be part of an institution. The social element of that is motivating in itself. By putting Neil and Bob&Roberta together New Art Gallery Walsall (NAGW) gave them the platform to motivate each other and they have had a joint experience in which they observed ideas together and presented ideas to each other and an audience through the blog on the NAGW website. HYPERLINK TO MY REFLECTION ON SPACES 

Connecting with the Archive material

Although Lebeter had never done any curating before and was, ‘still very apprehensive about (his) first curatorial job,’ he was instantly grasped by the Archive because Epstein’s lifespan was set in a time which he knew well and had studied. That small lynchpin allowed him to access the Art from a way that fitted into his personal context.

I was looking through a box of family photographs in the Epstein Archive…Epstein at a graduation ceremony…a man I recognised instantly – Sir David Maxwell Fyfe. I had written my postgraduate dissertation on Maxwell Fyfe’s role as a prosecutor in The Nuremburg Trials….the sight of Maxwell Fyfe eased my nerves considerably as this put Epstein and the archive into a clear historical context[2]

Connecting the visitors with the Archive material

Lebeter says, ‘the Epstein Archive is, in essence, the history of a family.’[3] I think this is why, although the Garman-Ryan Collection is quite haphazard (in that it is not a collection of paintings of one Artist or one style), this curation of the family identifies the times, emotions and tastes of the family. It adds a context which is quite relatable for a visitor.

Everyone can connect to some element within this Epstein Archive be that abstractly or personally;

–         Family

–         Happy family times

–         Simple things like asking for another pot of jam when you’re away from home. (This is demonstrated in the exhibition ‘Theodore Garman demands…’ [4])

–         Having a mother/father – distant or close (physically or psychologically)

–         Friendship

–         Love

–         Not being able to have children

–         Jealousy

–         Not being able to connect with one’s family (Theodore Garman was not allowed to talk about Jacob Epstein being his father publically because he was illegitimate and Epstein was married to someone else)

–         Trying to gain Perfection (as Theo wanted as an Artist)

–         Anger

–         Having secrets

–         Family fractures causing mental illness

The Archive is a great source of stories and reasons for making Art. I imagine that, by looking at someone else’s work and life, the artist and researcher were driven to reflect on their own work and life. Bob&Roberta (AKA Patrick Bryll) reflects briefly on his own life (in the book) specifically in how he balances his work and his children.

NL: (to B&RS) with a family yourself, can you sympathise with that obsession about making things all the time, your work, your latest project?

B&RS: that’s what really drew me to the project. Art is both a generous activity – you know, [laughs] giving these visions to the world…But the downside of it is personal and how you operate with your family, especially as a bloke. Although we are all meant to be New Men, actually the reality of it is in families is that the women do the lion’s share of childcare, even if the bloke is meant to be doing that. The thing is with Epstein, you can’t really imagine how he carried on with his kids because he was very distant….So, he was a bit of a rogue and that sort of horrifies me really.[5]

QUICK EPSTEIN HISTORY: Epstein married Margaret Epstein. He had a 20-year affair with Kathleen Garman. He had one kid with a model, one kid with another model, no kids with Margaret and 3 illegitimate children with Kathleen. He had a strange relationship with his son Theo (born 1924) who could never call him “father” in public (as he was illegitimate) and eventually Theo killed himself aged 27 (on 23/1/1954). He then married Kathleen Garman in 1955. 

Writing this blog post has made me wonder, why did I connect with this book? I saw the Archive exhibition at NAGW and I did connect with some of the work in the exhibition but, through reading about it, and discovering what the artist thought and developed from the Archive, I feel like I have understood more about the family and can put the Archive items, and the ideas that go with them, into context. I drew a mindmap of the family and I can finally understand who’s who and what’s what. It just took some time to let myself sit, have a Starbuck’s and think. Going back to NAGW at the weekend for Peregrine Watch 2014 for a secondary reading of the pieces will let me assimilate the information better I think. Although I understood the emotion of the wooden piece[6] when I saw it first – to me it said emotion and hardness and aggression. I thought it was misogynistic and I didn’t really “get it.” I wonder if my feelings will be different on a second viewing. It might open up more questions and more contextualised thoughts.

In this time of Postmodernism and Constructivism and there being no right answers, if I like to have context does that make my second answer more right than my first reflections on those pieces? I don’t know…

I always have to write down this word to remember what it involves theoretically.

Hein: ‘What is meant Constructivism? The term refers to the idea that learners construct knowledge for themselves —each learner individually (and socially) constructs meaning —as he or she learns. Constructing meaning is learning; there is no other kind.’ The consequences are that learning becomes learner-centric and it is suggested that there can be no knowledge outside the learner’s experience.[7]

What about context? What about the importance of a teacher scaffolding a kid’s learning (Thank you Mr. Vygotsky) through their prior experience and research? But that’s another topic for another essay. Yay, I’m writing it! Oh this link is just for revision fun on Vygotsky and Piaget

The Vygotskian Classroom: A Vygotskian classroom emphasizes creating one’s own concepts and making knowledge one’s property; this requires that school learning takes place in a meaningful context, alongside the learning that occurs in the real world. As seen earlier in the Piagetian classroom, this model also promotes the active participation and collaboration of distinctive learners.

The Vygotskian classroom stresses assisted discovery through teacher-student and student-student interaction. Some of the cognitive strategies that group members bring into the classroom are questioning, predicting, summarizing, and clarifying. In a Vygotskian classroom, dynamic support and considerate guidance are provided based on the learner’s needs, but no will or force is dictated. Students are exposed to discussions, research collaborations, electronic information resources, and project groups that work on problem analysis.[8]

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[1] Lebeter, Neil, How to let an artist rifle through your archive, (Walsall, New Art Gallery Walsall,2013)

[2] Lebeter, Neil, How to let an artist rifle through your archive, (Walsall, New Art Gallery Walsall,2013) 8

[3] Lebeter, Neil; How to let an artist rifle through your archive, (Walsall, New Art Gallery Walsall,2013) 8

[4] Lebeter, Neil; How to let an artist rifle through your archive, (Walsall, New Art Gallery Walsall,2013) 8

[5] Lebeter, Neil; How to let an artist rifle through your archive, (Walsall, New Art Gallery Walsall,2013) 22

[6] Lebeter, Neil; How to let an artist rifle through your archive, (Walsall, New Art Gallery Walsall,2013) 42

[7] Hein, George E. Constructivist learning theory: the museum and the needs of the people CECA (the international committee of museum educators) conference (Jerusalem, Israel, 15-22 October 1991)  [electronic version] (accessed 18/3/14)

[8] Thefountainmagazine.com website, “Constructivism in Piaget and Vygotsky” http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/CONSTRUCTIVISM-in-Piaget-and-Vygotsky (accessed 4/4/14)

Review: HOW TO LET AN ARTIST RIFLE THROUGH YOUR ARCHIVES

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Here’s a little image of some of the stuff I have learnt from this amazing and really readable book so far! It describes the journey two people took when discovering and presenting the Beth Lipkin Archive at New Art Gallery Walsall. Reading it doesn’t feel like work, because although it’s non-fiction the intriguing relationship ‘spirals’ (as Smith calls them) keep crashing together in a story which still retains great potency. The curator-researcher, Neil Lebeter and Artist-researcher, Bob&Roberta Smith have really got a feel for the conflict in Epstein’s life and works! Especially as a figure in a public space, which comported itself so differently from the modern public arena.

Folk tales and gigs Meetup – Brew Dog, Birmingham

meetup imagesI had 5 people at my Meetup! Record! We went to BrewDog and heard Green Man Rising, amongst others. The variety of real ale they have is great. Some of the ale is 18% which is mental. but they put it in 25ml glasses so not so bad! The illustrations on the walls are really funky. There is a secret place under the stairs, ok not so secret, but comfy hidden-away leather sofas for a good old chat. Nice.

DSC_0651The girls’ toilets evidently have to be more intellectual than the boys’ toilets’ “A history of beer” (a source told me about the history of beer. Promise I didn’t venture in!

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