January 10, 2009

Renaissance

X number of years ago, one of the interchangeable ‘arms-length’ wings of UK government came up with “Renaissance in the Regions” http://dmtrk.co.uk/renaissancenorthwest/DB-56/AboutRenaissance.aspx?dm_i=DB,FPW,4KBJA,PKV,1 – the (nowadays marginal) MLA http://www.mla.gov.uk/?campaignkw=MLA-Council “£150 million programme to transform England's regional museums.” Of course the sensible thing to do was to steer well clear of it – which I did. In its spirit of ‘disseminating good practice to the sector’, Renaissance puts out research findings from its activities. They don’t usually catch my attention but this one did:

“Creative Spaces is a programme of research about children's perceptions of museums and galleries, led by CapeUK. Children worked as researchers in four of the Hub museums. Each museum identified a research question, for example: ‘What would an art gallery designed by children contain?’ Then the children worked alongside the adults to find the answer.”

The obvious answer to the research question is such a gallery would be a pile of shite, but with such a daft notion, I couldn’t resist having a look at the report itself.
http://i.dmtrack1.net/CmpDoc/2008/479/458_creative_spaces_report.pdf?dm_i=DB,FPW,4KBJA,PLF,1

It was only a quick scan because I am not that interested but one section really identified the scale of the problem:

“During the visit to the gallery, children enjoyed trying on clothes a great deal. However, several of them remarked that the clothes, and more generally the textiles on display, were not art. The visit could have broadened their perception of art or simply provided an indication that an art gallery could also have a play value.” [my italics] Maybe the visit could have broadened their perception of art or simply provided an indication that an art gallery could also have an artistic value.

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