Every sort of gallery – Arts Connect join the Towner team
Posted on 9/06/2017
Last month we joined forces with the Arts Connect Media and Events Crew to explore and learn about the inner-goings on of our busy gallery, from event management to gaining insight into behind the scenes of our major exhibitions. Arts Connect is a programme lead by Culture Shift supporting people with learning disabilities to access arts and cultural opportunities in their community, grow their skills and showcase their own creativity.
The Arts Connect Media and Events Crew are a group of young people from Eastbourne and the surrounding areas. Between them, the group boast skills in photography, digital media, 3D design, music performance, creative writing, spoken word and puppetry. The team formed to gain practical insight in event management and media promotions at Towner which they then put into practice running their own arts festival, ‘Every Sort of People’. The festival took place on 13 May at Lewes football ground and presented a broad array of artists, bands, DJs and art across two stages including performances by Richard Hadfield, Delta 7, Tongue and Groove, Lizzie Emeh and Arthur Brown.
Over four weeks, the Arts Connect team worked with staff from learning, marketing, front of house and curatorial to share their ideas about what they’d like to see at the gallery in a two way learning experience for the Arts Connect Team and Towner staff. The Arts Connect team road-tested ways of reaching new audiences at Towner. The team devised innovative approaches to increase engagement and access from short infomercial videos and comic strips to a podcast exploring our recent major Arts Council Collection exhibition, ‘A Certain Kind of Light‘.
You can listen to the Arts Connect podcast here:
The experience of working in collaboration with the Events and Media Crew was fantastic. Together we explored accessibility in the gallery, questioning what is important to us as individuals, how we travel through an exhibition and find out more information if we want to.
It was interesting to look at Towner’s marketing materials and online presence in a focus group situation. We decided we all want to identify with images used for marketing: “If we see someone like us represented in a poster, it makes us feel welcome.” (Mikey, Arts Connect Ambassador)
We questioned how information is shared about exhibitions and artworks. We looked at exhibitions leaflets, we read some artwork labels and we also listened to each other talk. We liked hearing other people’s voices and seeing how other people in the group responded to the artwork they saw by making their own artwork.
We learned together as a team and worked collaboratively to create exciting videos in the gallery space, using the different apps on the iPads. Each person had their own role in the film crew. We will be sharing the videos soon, so watch this space.
A few weeks after the course, we caught up with Lucy, Arts Connect Media Crew member and drummer in Delta 7 to chat about her experience being part of the Media Crew and to find out how the ‘Every Sort of People’ festival went.
“Joining Arts Connect was a good opportunity to try something different and meet new people. It gave me a better knowledge of what the different roles are. It made me think about how I could use my skills in character design and filmmaking for future projects. At the ‘Every Sort of People Festival’ I played in my band Delta 7. It was great to see everyone wearing our band t-shirts. There were lots of creative activities to do and different organisation promoting what they do. The Media Crew were down there documenting the whole event with video and photographs.”
Reflecting on the experience of working with Arts Connect, Esther Springett, Towner’s Learning and Participation Coordinator said, “It was great to work with colleagues to explore audience voice and visibility alongside supporting a group of creative individuals within the community to develop their relationship with Towner. I am excited to develop on our integrated approach to programming at the gallery which is inclusive and promotes diversity. ”
We look forward to developing more exiting collaborations with the Arts Connect Event and Media Crew. Watch this space for further announcements!