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Call for proposals – Family Activities in the Museums

UCL Culture24 March 2022

UCL Culture are seeking proposals from artists, facilitators, and creative practitioners for fun and inspiring family activities to be developed and delivered in our museums and cultural spaces. Building on the success of past workshops, self-led activities and other family focused-activities, we are looking for proposals that fit with our themes and explore our collections in new and innovative ways.

We are looking for proposals for activity that can be delivered in the Grant Museum of Zoology and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology.

Workshop format

  • Workshops must be family-friendly, supporting groups of mixed ages and abilities to work together to make, explore, create and move through our spaces
  • Proposals can be for drop-in workshops, durational workshops or set timed events/performances
  • Proposals should consider the museums as a space for mixed audiences, with families taking part in a space with other visitors
  • Proposals must be suitable for delivery in the museum, but may also consider options for further reach through digital delivery
  • Proposals can include a range of materials, but must be mainly ‘dry’ and suitable for a space that is use for collections display or handling (no pastels, paint or charcoal)
  • For the Grant Museum workshops will need to be adapted to be deliverable for both an early opening for Family Members (10am-11am) and during public opening times (after 11am)

Dates

Workshops will be scheduled for Saturdays across 2022-23.

Confirmed dates for Grant Museum workshops are 30 April, 28 May, 25 June, 30 July, 27 Aug, 24 Sept, 30 Oct and 26 Nov. Dates for Petrie Museum workshops are tbc.

UCL Culture Themes

The Petrie Museum of Egyptian and Sudanese Archaeology houses just over 80,600 objects relating to life and death along the Nile Valley, making it one of the largest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world. It includes many world ‘firsts’ such as the Tarkhan dress, the oldest known, most complete garment in the world.

The Grant Museum of Zoology has around 68,000 zoological specimens, including the world’s rarest skeleton, the quagga; thylacine specimens; dodo bones and a fine collection of models.

Our programmes and exhibitions explore themes relating to:

  • Power & social justice
  • Biodiversity, climate justice
  • Research related to issues that reflect UCL’s impact locally, nationally and globally

There are also specific themes we are interested in exploring in connection to each museum.

  • New entrance gallery in the Petrie (and accompanying family trail release date tbc) connected to hidden characters behind the collection
  • Activities that make use of 3D printed replicas and digital images from the collection
  • Activity that brings the Grant Museum’s micrarium to life
  • Activity that explores the themes of Displays of Power (past exhibition in the Grant Museum)

Examples of recent activity

Family Yoga
An inclusive yoga session drawing inspiration from the incredible specimens on display in the Museum, inviting families to pause, move, breath, and look at the collections in new ways.
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/culture/whats-on/family-event-family-yoga-grant-museum

Puppet Making
This workshop invited families to explore extinction and survival, looking at why extinction has happened, and how we can prevent further extinction of species due to climate change.
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/culture/whats-on/design-and-make-your-own-puppet-animal

Hidden Histories
Map and gallery exploration activity tracing the journeys of some of our animal specimens to discover more about their origins and stories overseas.
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/culture/whats-on/hidden-histories-grant-museum

Fee

The base fee for workshop delivery is £200 to cover up to four hours of activity, with additional budget for materials. Additional preparation time can be agreed, depending on the nature of the proposal, its link to the museum displays and the required devising time. Please given an indication of this your proposal.

Next steps

Proposals of no more than one A4 page should be sent to museums@ucl.ac.uk by 18.00 on Friday 22 April.

What does LGBTQ+ inclusivity mean to UCL Culture?

UCL Culture10 March 2022

UCL Culture is a multidisciplinary team committed to connecting the world with UCL. We use our collections, museums, theatre and most importantly our people and know-how to mobilise the UCL community, inspiring them to engage people with their research and their research with people.

We know that unless we are inclusive of everyone, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, then we are failing both the UCL community and the wider communities of which we are a part. We also know that “being inclusive” is an active not a passive state of being, and that we, as a department, need constantly to challenge our own thinking and actions, and those of others.

Fundamentally, we want to reaffirm UCL Culture’s commitment to challenging our own thinking and actions on inclusivity – and to ask others to challenge us. Below are some of the current projects we are involved with in support of our LGBTQ+ colleagues and communities. We are also launching an open call for future projects that continue and strengthen this support.

Current projects

  • Supporting an informative exhibition on trans lives, led by UCL’s Trans Network, to be displayed in the Cloisters and other locations at UCL around Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) 31 March 2022. The display will use lived experience from members of UCL past and present to explain what being transgender does and doesn’t mean.
  • Writing Trans Lives, enabled by a UCL Culture Beacon Bursary, recently brought together aspiring and established trans and non-binary writers through workshops, a public reading and the published anthology ‘Transcribed’. The established writers provided practical advice and developed aspiring writers’ expertise and experience in writing their own narratives.
  • LGBTQ+-led non-profit organisation QUEERCIRCLE are partnering with UCL Engagement on the evaluation of their new LGBTQ+ health and wellbeing programme. QUEERCIRCLE will host a diverse programme supporting LGBTQ+ artists and offering community participation opportunities, and UCL Culture will provide evaluation expertise, including a new trainee role specifically for a person from the LGBTQ+ and Black/Asian/Minority Ethnic community.
  • Co-Production Collective recently published a response to UCL’s decision not to rejoin Stonewall’s diversity schemes, reaffirming their commitment to inclusivity at UCL and in their work with external co-production partners. This response also invited audiences to share thoughts on how Co-Production Collective can support the trans community and champion inclusion and challenge discrimination more widely.
  • UCL Culture EDI Committee acts to advance and embed equity and inclusion in UCL Culture ways of working across all areas of our activity.

Future projects

  • Do you have an idea for a UCL Culture exhibition, workshop, talk, live experience, or other public activity that supports, empowers or champions LGBTQ+ communities, at UCL and beyond?
  • Has one of the projects above inspired to you respond, or take an idea further?

Whatever stage your plans are at, we invite you to book onto an online Programming and Exhibitions Drop-in session where you can discuss a proposal with a member of our team.

Please book into one of our regular sessions here: https://calendly.com/chrisjwebb/programmes-exhibitions-drop-in

We look forward to hearing from you!

Traces from the Registers: Animating the Slade’s Etching & Engraving and Lithography Prizes

Andrea Fredericksen27 May 2021

During 2020-2021, when UCL was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, UCL Culture’s curatorial team worked with students from UCL’s History of Art with Material Studies (HAMS) on virtual work placements. These projects provide opportunities for students to gain practical curatorial skills to prepare them for their future careers while undertaking valuable work towards better understanding the collections.

Since September 2020, Sabrina Harverson-Hill and Tianyu Zhang worked together on two virtual curatorial projects to research UCL Art Museum’s Slade Collections in preparation for the Slade 150 anniversary. Sabrina focused on the register for Etchings & Engravings and Tianyu on the register for Lithography to animate the Slade’s historic prizes in printmaking. Here Sabrina and Tianyu describe a few of the challenges and rewards of their placements:

 

What has been your favourite stage of the placement?

Sabrina: From day one my placement with UCL Art Museum was unusual in that it initially began remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Andrea, the Curator at UCL Art Museum, however sent all the necessary material that we needed by post. I was to be working on the register of etchings & engravings in the Slade Collections. It is unique in that it contains within it handwritten entries of students from the Slade who won prizes for etching and engraving between 1937-1981.

My favourite stage entailed researching into my list of prize-winners, particularly those who had perhaps fallen into obscurity. This for me was one of the most exciting stages but also one of the most frustrating. I reached a lot of dead ends with female artists. This seemed mostly due to potential surname changes. Subsequently, there was frequently no trace of where they went on to after their time at the Slade. Having said this, it was all the more rewarding when nuggets of information about artists were found through online research. One example was discovering that Zelma M. Blakely and her partner Keith McKenzie both studied at the Slade. Interestingly, there was more information on Blakely, her life and work, than McKenzie. The pattern with these discoveries was usually the other way around.

 

Tianyu: My favourite stage is looking into the lives of the artists. The process of identifying their names from the hand-written logbook and looking up the names online, looking for every possibility and narrowing it down to the one person who attended the Slade has been a very exciting stage for me, and might lead to interesting research questions. For example, to what extent is Catherine Armitage a talented woman artist under the shadow of her famous husband Paul Feiler, or about the impact of the war upon the students and their study at the Slade, as some of them seem to have paused and resumed their study in 1940s.

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Violette Lafleur: Bombs, boxes and one brave lady

f.taylor25 February 2021

Image: Photograph of Violette Lafleur in her conservation lab

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, we want to share with you the story of an extraordinary woman who helped save the Petrie Museum Collection during World War Two, UCL conservation student and volunteer Violette Lafleur.

Only one tin of Ptolemaic funerary masks and thirty limestone tomb-wall fragments were deemed beyond repair following the bombing raids during the Second World War. It is remarkable that more was not lost. We owe this to one incredible lady who, through sheer determination, took up the challenge of packing and sorting the collection during this tumultuous time.

Against a backdrop of wartime austerity and danger, Violette Lafleur managed almost single-handedly to save the Petrie collection.

In 1938 the most fragile and most important objects in the Petrie collection began to be boxed up and moved to Blockley, Gloucestershire, home of a naval Captain George Spencer Churchill, a cousin of Winston Churchill. The bulk of the work was undertaken by Lafleur, with the occasional assistance of College porters and a former student. The remaining 160 cases stayed on campus in the South and Refectory Vaults.

On 18 September 1940, the College sustained bomb damage that destroyed the skylights, allowing water to drip onto a tray of funerary cones and wooden toys. Despite this close shave, Lafleur returned a few days later to continue her efforts at considerable personal risk: one day a bomb dropped nearby as she laboured over the collection.

It was arduous work, compounded by the lack of packing crates due to wood shortages, meaning Lafleur had to improvise with drawers and trays. Then in April 1941, the College suffered an almost direct bomb strike and, although artefacts were not directly damaged, water from the firemen’s hoses seeped into the basement leaving cases standing in water. The artefacts had to be unpacked, dried, treated and repacked once again.

Funders were eventually secured from College coffers to finish the last tranche of repacking and some 405 cases were transferred to Compton Wynyates in Warwickshire, where part of the British Museum collection was already safely housed.

As the bombs continued to rain down it was clear London was far from safe. The Ministry of Works arranged for a further 275 cases to be moved to Drayton Court in Northamptonshire, home of Colonel Stopford Sackville. By July 1943 some 14 tonnes of cases and crates had been transported by the Pall Mall Depositing and Forwarding Company in four separate van loads, all sorted and designated by Lafleur.

Her valiant efforts were noted at the time and then-Provost, David Pye, asked that an official letter of appreciation for her efforts be written. There were plans to further acknowledge her remarkable achievements with a plaque. This never materialised, and only a short speech was given at a UCL Fellows dinner in May 1951.

Lafleur had no formal academic qualifications and her professional status at UCL was something of an anomaly. With her extensive experience of collections care and management, she was eventually bestowed the title ‘honorary museum assistant’, a role that she held until her retirement in 1953. She never received a single penny for her work, nor was it ever commemorated in the way she deserved. Her commitment, however, is not forgotten.

You can read more about some of the extraordinary stories behind the Petrie Museum on our website and in the Petrie Museum Entrance Gallery.

 

This article is taken from Pike, H., (2015), ‘Violette Lafleur: bombs, boxes and one brave lady’, in Stevenson, A., (ed.), The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology: Characters and Collections, London: UCL Press (DOI: 10.14324/111.9781910634042)

Object of the week 384: Rosemary Young, Bull, 1951

Nina Pearlman28 June 2019

This blog is written by a team of UCL Museum Studies students – Sarah Waite, Lok Hei Wong, Patricia Roberts and Yiting Fu – and draws upon their research project into the Slade School of Fine art historic sculpture prize, undertaken in collaboration with the UCL Art Museum as part of their MA degree.

VISIT THE SLADE SCULPTURE PRIZE DISPLAY IN UCL’s NORTH CLOISTERS on till 17 FEBRUARY 2020

 

See image credits below

We had the fantastic opportunity to focus our Collections Curatorship course project with UCL Art Museum on an area of the Slade collection that is under-researched. During our research, we uncovered this small bronze sculpture in the UCL Art Museum’s store. Bull (1951) was modelled by Rosemary Young (b.1930) , who was a student at the Slade from 1949 to 1953, and then cast by Reg Butler (1913-1931), who taught at the art school. The artwork won the Slade Sculpture Prize in 1951 and is the only prize-winning sculpture retained by the School and now part of UCL Art Museum’s Slade Collection . A highly sought after honour, to receive a Slade prize meant that the student’s work was recognised as exemplary by a panel of the most highly regarded artists and academics in Britain.

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Object of the week 382: Isaac Cruikshank, French Happiness, English Misery (1793)

Nina Pearlman24 May 2019

This blog post is written by Lisa Bull, UCL Museum Studies 2019-20

contrasted images of life in France and Britain during the French Revolution

Isaac Crukshank, French Happiness, English Misery, 1793, etching, hand coloured

UCL Art Museum is home to an impressive collection of French and British satires from the eighteenth and nineteenth century. This collection is the result of a generous gift by Professor David Bindman made possible through the Cultural Gift Scheme and it forms the basis for a series of exhibitions on visual satires chronicling the French Revolution. The new addition to this series will be Witnessing Terror: French Revolutionary Prints 1792-4 due to open at UCL Art Museum in January 2020.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries satire was the key means to spread news. Satire was and still is an effective means of stimulating debate due to its accessibility. Their intention to have a clear message and the relatively quick method of production meant they could be enjoyed by many. They are often aimed at ridiculing an individual, policy or group in society but while retaining an important moral message. Satires are still a key form of media utilised in most news forums, but here in the twenty-first century social media has filled this gap and is essential for us to keep in touch with current affairs.

My role is to help catalogue the works by British satirists in this collection, such as William Hogarth, James Gillray, Isaac Cruikshank, Thomas Rowlandson and Charles Jameson Grant. (more…)