Break the Vault!

A guest blog by artist Pui Lee about last week’s Break the Vault! family friendly workshop

Well, hello again to everyone! It’s October half term and I was delighted to be back again at the People’s History Museum to deliver another fun-filled art workshop for you all inspired by the Show Me the Money exhibition.

Break the Vault  People's History Museum 28.10.15 (16)Wednesday’s family friendly session was called, Break the Vault! and all the participants got the opportunity to create their own fabulous 3D cardboard bank vault sculpture to take home with them! The children learned about what a bank vault/safe was and they were then asked to think about what things they would personally want to keep safe – and thus, thinking about the idea of value. This could be an actual object, an abstract idea or even a person or animal! They then had to make this “thing” to put inside their vault. This could be done as a 3D response using recycled materials or be a 2D hand-drawn response.

Break the Vault  People's History Museum 28.10.15 (21)As always, I brought along an example that I made earlier and in my vault, I put a big red heart. 🙂 It was great to see all the families discussing the ideas and working on a creative project together. There were definitely a lot of fantastic vaults produced today and it was interesting to see what went into them: a favourite family photograph, a black and white dog, a football, a teddy bear and a mini love-heart, to name just a few! Some of the children also said they would also be using the vault to store some of their special keepsakes when they get home. – Now that’s what I call practical art! :-p One grandparent offered this feedback at the end, “Superb activity and the kids obviously enjoyed it – you could tell! They wanted to stay until the end to make it.” Meanwhile, another parent commented, “This is different. – We’ve never done anything like this before! It sounds really fun and we get to see the show too!”

The participants also got the opportunity this afternoon to respond to my, All the Money in the World installation, which began at the end of July this year! I had a quick look at it before I left today and gosh, it has grown even bigger since I last saw it! Initially inspired by Simon Robert’s text installation, Credit Crunch Lexicon, my participatory piece here explores the idea of wealth and value, allowing members of the public to consider their place in the world today. It was great to see museum visitors of all ages engage with the piece and it crucially stimulated relevant conversation and debate, which is what I had hoped for. The piece will continue to be on show until Sunday 24 January 2016 when the exhibition closes, so please do have a look and offer your thoughts on it too!

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Creative Currency Casino!

Artist Pui Lee’s final blog about her fantastic programme of Summer Family Friendly events.

Well, there was definitely a lot of money floating about as my summer project came to an end at the People’s History Museum 😀

Creative Currency Casino @ People's History Museum 26.08.15  (7)The final event was, of course, my much anticipated Creative Currency Casino event, where museum visitors were invited to try their luck on various games of chance to win some truly fabulous prizes to take home with them! Admission was free and all the participants enthusiastically drew their own banknotes to spend at the casino. There were a lot of brilliant designs created and I even noticed some very speedy mass-production methods being used during the afternoon. After all, the more banknotes you had, the more plays you had and so, your chances of winning increased – potentially!

There was something for everyone: whether it was the Fast ‘n’ Furious Card Games, “Stuck in the Mud!” Dice Games, the “Show Me the Money BINGO!” and the ever popular “Human Fruit-Machine” (which, from looking at the takings at the end of the day, was the most played game of the afternoon!). It was fantastic to see people of all ages taking part – showing that art is not only for the young ones to enjoy but for grown-ups too!  Participants commented that the workshop was very “interactive” and “fun to play”! There were certainly lots of smiling faces and it was wonderful to see all the excitement over the games! All players also received a special 28PUI currency banknote to take home with them as a memento of the day!

It is also worth mentioning that all the hand-drawn banknotes from the workshop, giant printed and collaged banknotes, as well as my example pieces from the previous summer workshops are display at the museum for all to see, so do come down to have look!

Creative Currency Casino @ People's History Museum 26.08.15  (42)Overall, it has been a wonderful 5 weeks and I have enjoyed every minute of it! 🙂 It has been great to deliver this art project to coincide with the Show Me the Money exhibition. After all, money plays such huge part in our everyday lives and yet it is often regarded as being a bit of a forbidden subject. We are often reluctant to talk about it and although it is often perceived as being a grown-ups’ subject, I think it is worth engaging children and young people with it too. This has been a really fun and educational project, which explores the theme of money and finance in terms of how we use it, the exchanges that we make and its perceived value. …Thank you to everyone who has taken part in it and/or supported it in some way!

The Creative Currency Casino! project is now finished but there is still a legacy of participation opportunities still available. For example, my All the Money in the World (2015) installation will still remain in the Show Me the Money exhibition space for visitors to add their responses to. Likewise, I will be returning to the museum during the next half term on Wed 28 October 2015 to deliver my Break the Vault drop-in family friendly art workshop, so I hope to see you all there for that! But until then, it’s good bye for now and remember …”everyone’s a winner!!!” 😀

Design a Banknote

The next instalment of artist Pui Lee’s blog series about our summer Family Friendly workshops that link to our Show Me the Money exhibition

In week 4 of my Creative Currency Casino! project, families visited the Design a Banknote workshop at the Learning Studio in the People’s History Museum for my latest art workshop as part of the summer drop-in pARTicipate programme!

Design a Banknote! 19.08.15 @ People's History Museum (20)Today’s activity was inspired by an artwork in the coinciding Show Me the Money exhibition called The Robin Currency™ (2008-2014) where the artist Robin Bhattacharya created his own currency based on a prime number system meaning that each coin and banknote is entirely unique.  When the participants arrived, I sent them on a marvellous-money-mission to explore the exhibition to find and count as many banknotes as they could throughout the gallery space. This could be in object format or in terms of visual representation. There was certainly plenty to see and discover including a one hundred trillion dollar banknote! They were then asked to find The Robin Currency™ banknote and to create a sketch of this, along with any shapes and patterns they saw recurring throughout the show. The families also had an opportunity to take a photo or two at the face-in-the-hole board in the exhibition, where anyone can be the new face of a larger-than-life banknote!

Design a Banknote! 19.08.15 @ People's History Museum (15)After this, it was back to the Learning Studio and everyone set to work on designing their very own giant currency banknote, which celebrates who they are as individuals and what matters to them. First of all, we looked at the design elements of a typical banknote and I also showed an example of one that I made earlier. I then introduced and demonstrated monoprinting, which is such a fun and creative process, so everyone got a little messy and tried out various techniques to create some really cool prints! Hand-made drawings and collaged elements were then added to the prints to personalise and complete the designs. Participants were then able to exchange their new currency with a special 28PUI currency banknote of mine to take home with them as a special memento of the day. All the hand-made banknotes collected in will soon be put up on display at the museum for all to see! Great stuff! 🙂

20150812_151720Don’t forget to add to my All the Money in the World (2015) installation in the Show Me the Money gallery space if you haven’t already done so yet! You can do this any day of the week, not just on Wednesday! Your responses might consist of a single word, a few sentences or even a really, really, long list! You may even want to illustrate your responses too! It’s all acceptable and can be anonymous too!  …So, what would YOU do if you had all the money in the world? Submit your answers now and get involved! 😀

Tomorrow’s drop-in will be long-awaited The Creative Currency Casino finale event, where you can try your luck on exciting games of chance to win some fabulous prizes! (Note to previous workshop attendees: – don’t forget to bring your “Creative Credit Card Vouchers” to redeem your free turns too!) 😀

…See you all then on Wednesday 26 August 2015, 1.00pm-3.00pm! 😀

Crafty Credit Cards

Another instalment of artist Pui Lee’s blog series about our summer Family Friendly workshops that link to our Show Me the Money exhibition

Wow! I can’t believe it’s nearly the middle of August already! Well, I was back again at the People’s History Museum last week to deliver another summer drop-in workshop as part of their fantastic pARTicipate programme! 😀

Crafty Credit Cards 12.08.15 @ People's History Museum (25)Today, we explored and discussed the theme of credit and debt – what it means to have money, not have money and/or to owe money. One comment offered was, “Money doesn’t grow on trees!” and indeed, it doesn’t. So, I asked everyone what they would do if they had all the money in the world – say, an unlimited credit card with no worries of ever having to pay back a penny? Well, this got everyone thinking hard! Everyone then wrote down their wish lists onto till receipts, which were later added into my All the Money in the World (2015) installation in the gallery space. There has been some really interesting and varied responses so far! Examples include: “whatever my friends want”, “a hundred horses”, “all the water that’s bottled”, “a mansion”, “a Taekwon-Do kit”, “to develop high speed space travel”, “becoming the supreme emperor of the universe”… and even “purple tape”!? Yes, really…

Crafty Credit Cards 12.08.15 @ People's History Museum (33)The families then got the opportunity to make their very own Crafty Credit Cards to take home with them and I also showed everyone how to make a special card-holder to put it in, by using origami techniques! Paper-folding is no easy feat but the children all did fantastic today and took to it really well! One family said, “That was really fun! We’ve never done paper-folding before!”

Tomorrow’s workshop will be Design a Banknote where you can design and make your own giant currency banknote!”  …See you all then for more creative fun on Wednesday 19 August 2015, 1.00pm – 3.00pm! 🙂

Recycled Sculptures Worth Every Penny

Another guest blog by artist Pui Lee, who is running a series of Family Friendly workshops over the summer to link to our Show Me the Money exhibition

So, I am back again at the People’s History Museum… Hooray!! 🙂 This week, the theme of the workshop was objects associated with money or finance. By using junk modelling techniques, families who came to my drop-in session got the opportunity to create their very own Recycled Sculptures Worth Every Penny! to take home with them.

I was initially inspired by Wolfgang Weileder’s, Cashpoint (2008), in the Show Me the Money exhibition. It provided a great reference point because of his use of simplified shapes, scale and abstraction. I also liked how the piece explores the relationship between form and function by randomly dispensing a five-pound note every 24 hours! So even though it appears inanimate on first glance, it is very much fully operational!

recycled sculptures 05.08.15@ People's History Museum (4)
I absolutely love working in 3D and I knew the children would too, so I was SOOOO looking forward to this week in particular! I pre-made some example recycled sculptures to provide some inspiration for the participants, which included a cash-till register, an ATM and a couple of calculators! I noticed the children were excited to get hands-on straight away and to raid the big collection of cardboard boxes, plastic packaging, bottle tops and other items available! The trusty calculator proved to be a popular option this afternoon and there was even a (very) giant cash-till register made by one family! Also, there was one little boy who was absolutely keen to make a sculpture of a rocket-ship today so I said, “Yes! -Well, they are indeed very expensive objects, so go for it!” This was a somewhat more different interpretation of the theme but that’s okay, I am always happy to encourage freedom of artistic expression by my workshop participants! 😀


recycled sculptures 05.08.15@ People's History Museum (31)
The feedback today was very positive once again! One of the parents commented, “That was so, so good! Really fun!” 🙂 Meanwhile, one child wrote down in their evaluation form: “I had a good day and I enjoyed meeting Pui.” They also commented that they had learnt more than they originally knew about finance. Likewise, they also reflected how it had made them realise how much we use and rely on money every day and how without it, “you won’t be able to get the things you need”. So I am really pleased that it has been a thought-provoking learning experience too!

At the end of their visit, all the participants (both adults and children) were invited to contribute towards my ongoing All the Money in the World (2015) installation as part of the overall Creative Currency Casino! project. I popped in to see the piece to monitor its progress and it’s certainly growing very nicely! Go and visit it in the family learning space inside the exhibition, see what others have written and make sure you take part too! 🙂

…Well, on that note, I will see you all on Wednesday 12 August, 1.00pm – 3.00pm for the Crafty Credit Cards workshop 😀

Pui Lee’s Creative Currency Casino

A guest blog by artist Pui Lee, who is running a series of Family Friendly workshops over the summer to link to our Show Me the Money exhibition

Hi everyone! My name is Pui Lee and I work as a freelance artist and arts educator throughout the North of England. I am so, so excited to be working for the People’s History Museum as a freelancer and I sense lots of exciting things ahead! Look out for my upcoming Creative Currency Casino project as part of the museum’s pARTicipate summer drop-in programme and do get involved! 🙂

Personalised Piggy Banks – Wed 29 July 2015

29.07.15 Piggy Bank Making @ People's History Museum (33)Well, today was the first of the workshops as part of the pARTicipate summer drop-in programme PHM – gosh, what a brilliant turnout indeed! Thanks to everyone who came along! It was lovely to meet you all! This is the first time that the museum has had a set of family-friendly drop-in workshops all functioning together as an overall project. This was indeed my intention because drop-in workshops often operate as isolated one-off sessions at most museums and galleries today… and so, I decided to change that notion with this very project!   So, when the first flurry of families arrived, I introduced myself and outlined the details of my Creative Currency Casino project… and so it all begins today!

29.07.15 Piggy Bank Making @ People's History Museum (65)Personalised Piggy-Banks Fit for a King or Queen were on the agenda this afternoon, but not before a guided tour around the Show Me the Money changing exhibition first! It was great to see the families engaging with the contents of the show and discussing what they saw!   The theme of this week is the idea of “saving” – how we save money and the reasons why we do so. This led me nicely to inviting the participants to contribute towards my ongoing All the Money in the World (2015) installation in the family learning space inside the exhibition itself, which was inspired by Simon Roberts’s Credit Crunch Lexicon (2012) wall-based text piece.   We then returned back to the Learning Studio to work on the personalised piggy-banks! The children had some wonderful ideas and they enjoyed inventing unique characters for their hand-made creations. We also saw some less traditional piggy banks being made including an eight-legged Spider-Pig… a one-eyed half Cyclops/half pig piggy-bank… as well as a giant one litre piggy-bank for all those extra pennies! …Well done to everyone who took part! 🙂

See you all on Wednesday 5 August 2015, for the Recycled Sculptures Worth Every Penny workshop; 1.00pm – 3.00pm!

Work in Progress – Play Your Part

Play Your PartNext month will begin our exciting experimental exhibition Work in Progress (12 July – 14 September 2014).  This exhibition will be a true work in progress, allowing you to see behind the scenes of our Play Your Part project.  Help us test out ideas for our new Welcome Wall, debate topical issues and get creative with a series of exciting workshops.

The exhibition will start from nothing and evolve over time as we invite community groups, activists and you to experiment, contribute and create.  Three artists will base their studios in the gallery space in our Microresidencies project and staff will be on hand for regular office hours to discuss anything about the project.

We don’t yet know what will happen, but we’re excited to find out!

  • Are you an activist group wanting to share your campaign with a wider audience?  Or are you just looking for a city centre venue to hold a meeting?
  • Are you a community group or artist thinking about submitting a proposal for our community gallery, and you’d like to test out your ideas on our visitors?
  • Are you passionate about an issue and want a platform to air your views?
  • Are you an academic wanting to share your research?
  • Have you always fancied going behind the scenes of a museum and putting together a display of objects that tell your story?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to do with a blank canvas and a museum of ideas worth fighting for?

Sound like you? Come and Play Your Part!

If you’re interested in using the space for a meeting, workshop, display, debate or anything else then please get in touch with Catherine O’Donnell on 0161 838 9190 or Catherine.odonnell@phm.org.uk.

It goes without saying that we won’t accept any proposals that are in any way offensive (eg racist, sexist, homophobic, etc). Proposals should link in some way with our story of ‘people’s history’ and ideas worth fighting for and should include an element of participation. Unfortunately we can’t offer any fee to groups or individuals – just a free space for you to experiment, engage and enjoy!