Before I leave the office to eat, drink and be merry (well I’ve still got a week to go, but you get the gist!) I thought I’d share a bit of an ‘end of term’ update on what Play Your Part has been upto since the summer excitement of Work in Progress and share my plans for the last 3 months of the project.
We’re working with the lovely team at Fuzzy Duck to create three test designs for our ‘Welcome Wall’. We call it our Welcome Wall because it used to have a big ‘welcome’ written across it, but we felt the design wasn’t working well within our foyer space so we want to give it a refresh. We’re taking a very experimental ‘PYP’ approach, by trying out three designs in situ, and observing how our visitors interact with them and asking them what they think. We’ll then crunch the numbers and feed all the responses into creating the finished design. Test Design 1 is currently installed until just after Christmas – watch this space for future designs.
The big event of the autumn season was POLLfest, our politics festival for Parliament Week 2014. You can find out more about what we got up to here. In the pipeline for spring is a protest music event. I’m at the very early planning stages, but I’m hoping that we can explore the past, present and future of protest music through talks, performances and other surprises.
I’m delighted that the PHM is going to play a major role in the First National Festival of LGBT History by hosting the Sunday Festival Hub. The festival team have programmed some brilliant speakers and performances and there’s going to be lots to do. We’re going to be launching our LGBT History Tour at the festival, and I’m currently doing consultation with LGBT groups in Manchester to perfect the tour and to refresh our Equality Case in Main Gallery Two.
I’m working closely with our Learning Manager Kirsty Mairs, Curatorial Assistant (Collections) Harriet Beeforth and Front of House Co-ordinator Mark Wilson to develop Hands on History object handling sessions. We’re initially focussing on building up our World War I handling collection to link to the First World War Centenary and our Baddies Living History performance. Our brilliant volunteers are going to deliver the sessions and you’ll have a chance to get your hands on some real objects. We’ll be testing out the sessions in the new year, and you can get involved on 11 February 2015 and 18 February 2015.
Other bits and bobs
I shared learning from the project at the Museum Ideas Conference (speaking to over 200 delegates from 22 countries). I’ve also written up my paper for Museum-iD magazine.
I attended the very inspirational Forum for Radical Sharing organised by the Edge Fund and found out more about some brilliant grassroots activist groups.