Project progress to date
I think I need to sit down with a cup of coffee and take stock of the project progress so far:
- I have been delighted by the response of the main cultural partners: Hwa Young (Mad Lab), Pat (Cornerhouse), Gurdeep (PHM) and Ed (Whitworth) have all been enthusiastic proponents of the project, and of our working together. Our meetings have been very positive and inspirational. It’s been great bouncing ideas off each other and discussing ways to empower the participants.
- The information event that will take place on Friday 16 September at the Cornerhouse is taking shape. From the community partners invited, City South Manchester Housing Trust, Booth Centre and Healthy Ardwick have all confirmed their attendance, which is great. I’m also looking forward to meeting Zoe Higgins from Manchester City Council.
- Some colleagues at WEA have been as supportive, suggesting possible tutors and community partners (thank you Susan Danaei, Catherine Kay and Elaine Bennet). I share an office with Debbie Bown who works for LSEN, and when I mentioned this blog, she immediately logged on and signed up to receive updates. How nice is that?
- Writing this website is an excellent way for me to keep track of the meetings I have attended and the things I need to do. I often write the entries at the end of the working day which gives me the opportunity to reflect on the day’s activities. I also enjoy having a public forum on which to thank people and showcase the fab things that they do.
- I’m meeting some wonderful new people and it’s been energising getting out and about more than usual.
- I’ve learnt how to compile online questionnaires using Google Docs (thank you Hwa Young at Mad Lab)
- I’m learning how to design eye-catching email marketing using Mailchimp (thank you Richard Weltman)
Not so good bits
- Apple have stopped selling/making MacBooks. Only Mac Air laptops are available now with the cheapest ones having 11″ screens. Not ideal for accessibility. I may have to review which laptops to buy. Maybe a set of iPads would be a workable compromise. Ed uses them at the Whitworth to good effect. When we ran the iPad iTour taster for Adult Learners’ Week, the learners embraced using the iPads to make mini films, and begged for more!
- In addition to managing this project I still have all my regular Skills for Life work to manage and during this academic year we will have an OFSTED inspection with the Manchester office being the base for the national inspectors. Actually, I’m rather hoping the inspectors come while Peripheral Vision is in full flow as I’m sure they will be impressed by the learners’ enthusiasm and creativity.
Whitworth Art Gallery
is one of my favourite cultural venues in Manchester. I love its park-side location and the way in which as soon as you enter the building and walk through the foyer you are in the galleries. I find this immediacy both stress free and calming. So, when Ed Watts, the Adult Programme Co-ordinator, suggested meeting up to talk about Peripheral Vision, it put a big smile on my face. Ed and I have worked together extensively over the past couple of years with excellent results. I first met Ed when he worked at Urbis. He put together a wonderful video making session for some of our adult learners who had learning disabilities. I clearly remember popping down to Urbis to take some photos of the group, opening the door to the creative studio and feeling touched by the happiness and warmth in the room. Everyone was having a great time and the learners were delighted with the videos they had shot and edited themselves. Apparently they all spoke about the experience for months afterwards.
Working in partnership with the Whitworth is an absolute joy: everything runs smoothly, and the workshop facilitators that Ed (and Wendy) have employed were all professional and inspirational, and I have received excellent feedback from the participants.
Examples of the workshops we have run at the Whitworth have included:
Printmaking with Alan Birch
Book-making with Lucy May Schofield
Fabric cup cakes with Andrea Lord
Just the Ticket
In March 2009, we held the celebratory event for our prior NIACE project, Just the Ticket, at the Whitworth. Wendy Gallagher, did an amazing job providing us with the fabulous South Gallery and various exciting workshops for over 90 adults who attended on the day. It truly was the highlight of a very successful project.
Anyway, Ed and I discussed Peripheral Vision and how we could use the Whitworth’s iPads to make short films. We also thought we could run another photography and textiles course that we put on for Levenshulme Inspire a few months ago, in which the learners printed digital photographs in black and white onto cotton then embelished their pictures with embroidery, beads and sequins.
You can see a short video of the learners’ work here (scroll down to the Whitworth & Inspire video).
Whitworth Art Gallery: iPads and Book-making
Today is the ‘Get Digital’ day for Adult Learners’ Week and I have organised two fab workshops for adults at Whitworth Art Gallery: book-making and iPad iTour.
Lucy May Schofield was the tutor for the bookmaking. Lucy is a consummate professional. She always arrives in plenty of time to set up the room. She brings all the necessary equipment for up to about fifteen participants. Her teaching style is spot on with lessons pitched at the right level and pace. I have received excellent feedback about her workshops, and her personal hand-made books are beautiful.
I first met Lucy when I attended one of her two day bookmaking courses at Hot Bed Press in the summer of 2010. I loved it! I made six or seven little books using folding, cutting and sewing techniques which I then used for my Level 3 Photography Diploma.
For the more experimental iPad iTour workshop, learners filmed some footage of the gallery on new iPad 2s then edited it down to a couple of minutes, added music or a voice over then watched their short film on a big screen. It was amazing to see what the learners produced after three hours, one of which was spent on a guided tour of the gallery. I have to admit that the new iPad 2 is a gorgeous, covetous, pretty little thing and makes my iPad 1 seem rather clunky and outmoded.
Anyway, the reason I’m telling you about this day, is because these two workshops have proved inspirational for the project idea, which is still forming in and around my head like a cumulus cloud on a sunny day.
I know that somehow the new bid will include bookmaking of some kind and the use of iPads to make films.