I’m spending a couple of days with the Learning & Access team at The Barber, and loving every minute. Something always seems to be happening at the Barber, from school groups taking over the galleries to lunchtime lectures and gallery talks. I have attended several only in the short time that I’ve been here, and find it exciting and motivating. The Learning and Access team work with all groups of people, making sure that the institute has a wide and a specialist appeal. The idea seems to be that everyone can come here, and I really do think that it works! I don’t think it would work without the hard work of this small team though, because how do you know that you’re welcome at a museum or an institute or gallery if no one tells you?
While working here I’ve once again had confirmed the idea that everyone can learn something from for example a work of art – and the fact that different people learn different things from the objects is not a downside. The learning that a group of four-year-olds do looking at a painting and talking about it with a guide will naturally differ from that of a group of twelve-year-olds. What matters is that you don’t underestimate anyone or think that changing the way you talk about an object to adapt to your audience means ‘dumbing-down’. The adaptation to the audience is supposed to capture and help that particular group of people, not to give them a watered down version of the ‘real thing’.
While working with the L&A team I’ve gotten to assist during a workshop and attend a meeting about how to better the marketing for the university’s cultural collections towards the public. I am also currently working on creating my own plan for a workshop from scratch, focusing on the narrative qualities in art.