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Developing a Young People's Programme at the Ashmolean

23 March 16 -- jsuess
Clare Cory, Education Officer: Secondary and Young People, Ashmolean Museum

Last year the Ashmolean Museum's education team was awarded modest funding from the OUMP Innovation Fund for a project to expand, develop and promote the provision for Young People at the museum.

In the past few events offered have targeted this age group, so the process needed to begin with some research into the audience demand in Spring 2015. Based on the insights gained, the team piloted two subsidized events that experimented with new ways of engaging this audience.

The first trial event was a Print Making workshop in October 2015. Robin Wilson, Artist-in-Residence at Wytham Woods, ran a Linocut print making workshop and created some stunning black and white prints with the participants. Evaluation showed that all participants rated the event as excellent and was characterised as 'great fun' and there was a real appreciation of being able to see 'the whole process' as well as 'do it all'. Following this success the museum will rerun the event next October.

The second trial was in February 2016 and took the form of a study day encouraging A Level and GCSE Art and Design students to use Ashmolean resources to add to their sketchbooks and exam portfolios. Students were invited to an 'open studio' and provided with materials, refreshments, and the input of experienced educators and Artist-in-Residence for the day Kieren Stiles. Pitched as a 'drop in' day, many of the participants stayed for the whole day to learn new techniques to develop their portfolios. Kieran ran three demonstrations of different techniques throughout the day. Again all feedback was extremely positive with the students saying that they 'wish I could have stayed longer'. The museum also intends to rerun this workshop with a few tweaks and a tight focus on current exam themes.

These events, which will continue as a series in 2016-17 needed a strong brand to engage with young people, so the Ashmolean developed the identity CREATIVES. As the museum continues to develop they programme they also have intentions of forming a permanent Young People's Panel to help them ensure that their offer continues to speak to the specific needs of that audience.

Find out more about the Ashmolean's programme for young people.

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