Work in Progress – Weeks 2&3

work in progressNow we’re a few weeks into Work in Progress, I’m getting slightly more used to having my desk up in the exhibition space and I’ve started to have more conversations with visitors (including an interesting debate about the teachers’ strikes the other day). I’ve also made the decision to move our suggestion box to the debate space in order to encourage more comments (I think visitors are put off by my being there!).

Week 2 was crammed with meetings and it was great to share details of the project and progress some of the other work that I’m doing on Play Your Part. These included a CPD field trip from early career museum professionals in the West Midlands, and internal meetings about Play Your Part and our volunteer-led object handling programme.  We also held our weekly diary meeting, where members of our Learning, Events, Venue Hire and Front of House teams meet to discuss what’s coming up in the next few weeks.

Out and about we popped over to the Royal Exchange for the launch of the Fun Palaces project.  Our Fun Palace will be on Saturday 4 October, and you can help shape what it will become by visiting Work in Progress.

Heritage HostageSarah Taylor, who has starting volunteering on the project, created a brilliant display of the Friends of London Road Fire Station campaign materials.  If you want to highlight your campaign then get in touch on 0161 838 9190 or catherine.odonnell@phm.org.uk.

On Wednesday 23 July the team from the Chandelier of Lost Earrings came to drum up votes for their project to win a National Lottery Good Causes Award.  Voting has now closed, but we’re crossing our fingers for them!

Also on Wednesday, we hosted the engage North West Area Meeting.  engage are the National Association for Gallery Education and with another hat on I’m one of the North West Area Reps.  It was brilliant to show off Work in Progress to colleagues across the North West, and we enjoyed Pecha Kucha-style presentations from Steven Roper from the Whitworth Art Gallery and Marisa Draper from HOME.  I’m very excited to see how their projects progress and to have a look round once they’re both open.

The highlight of the fortnight was hosting our first Microresidency.  Sashwati Mira Sengupta and Jaydev Mistry delved into our archives and researched Migration, Protest and Workers Rights.  They also interviewed visitors and captured some inspiring stories.  They are working on shaping their research into an audio work, which will be premiered at our Closing Party on Sunday 14 September.  I’m very excited to see what they create!

In Week 3 Ed Lambert brought the galleries to life with his Skiffle Workshop.  The workshop explored the history of Skiffle music and children and adults alike joined in and created fantastic (and very noisy!) music with handmade instruments.  It was wonderful to see people from different generations working together and sharing their love of music and there was some brilliant feedback including, ‘It was amazing! My daughter even got to sing Elvis in public!!!’  Needless to say, we’re already in discussions to do it again!

I’m delighted that the PHM are going to be part of the first LGBT History Festival in Manchester in February.  I met the team on Friday and we’ve started planning the great events that will be happening across the festival.  To warm up, we’ve got lots of events across the Pride Weekend over August bank holiday, so come along and join in the fun with our LGBT History Tour, Q&A with the cast of the film Pride and Oliver Bliss’ Microresidency.

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