This week one of our volunteers, Rebecca, has kindly agreed to share her experience of working on the annual Young Artist Award competition:
This past September I began working with MUSA on their Young Artist Award programme, an annual art competition for schools in Fife. It aims to support creativity and learning in schools using the museum’s collections. I came to be involved in the programme through the University of St Andrews Museum and Gallery Studies course. One of the course components is the completion of a work experience project with a nearby museum. I chose to work with the Museum Collections team to gain some experience in planning and implementing a museum education programme.
The theme for this year’s competition is Making Faces, and pupils are asked to create a piece of artwork in response to their favourite portrait from the University collection. My first day on the job involved a brainstorming session on how to help young people understand portraits. Over the next few months I worked with Learning and Access staff and another volunteer to decide what artworks from the collection would be displayed in the gallery, to plan the website, and to draft a lesson plan for the P4-7 age group (ages 8-12).
We spent several months in planning everything that has gone into the school workshops, which began last week, and it has definitely all proved worth it. The first two groups to visit the museum were nursery groups, and their visits were a big success. The children seemed to really enjoy all the activities that had been planned for them, and they went back to school with great clay faces that they made in the Learning Loft. I am looking forward to the first P4-7 workshops next week. We have a lot planned for the kids – squeezing everything we want to do 90 minutes has been one of the biggest challenges!
This has been a very interesting project to be involved in, with a wide range of experiences for someone new to the museum world. It’s been exciting to engage with the University’s diverse collections, which range from a four-thousand-year-old plank idol to abstract 21st-century portraits. I have also had an interesting peek into the difficulties facing a university museum, namely that it can be challenging to bring the collections, spread throughout university buildings, together for display. Planning these workshops has really shown me how beneficial interaction between schools and museums can be. I am excited to get more involved in the upcoming workshops and to see the competition entries!