This is the second blog on our series looking at the National Programmes Conference 2019. Click here to learn more about the conference and to read our previous blog.
This blog will look at some examples of values-led strategy and practice. There were a number of sessions delivered a the National Programmes Conference which presented some examples of projects that aim to improve inclusion at their museum.
Unheard voices from Holloway Prison
Delivered by Roz Currie, Islington Museum
Until its closure in 2016, Holloway Prison was the largest women’s prison in Britain. The prison was an important landmark to the local London area of Islington for over 100 years.
The Echoes of Holloway Prison project aims to make known the previously unrecorded histories and voices of the diverse number of prisoners that have passed through Holloway Prison. The project is supported by the National Lottery and led by Roz Currie at Islington Museums.
Echoes of Holloway Prison puts lived experiences at the centre of its project in order to connect participants’ voices and stories to the wider public. So far the project has collected 25 oral histories of ex-prisoners and ex-prison staff. These oral histories are available to the public in full through the Islington Local History Centre.
When conducting interviews for oral histories, Islington Museum places emphasis on building trust with participants. Empathy has been a key tool in engaging audiences and working with previously hard to reach groups who may have sensitive or difficult stories to tell.
As well as recording oral histories of Holloway Prison, the Echoes of Holloway Prison project also included:
- An exhibition centred around Islington Museum. This exhibition showcases everyday objects from the modern prison to bring into focus the lives of prisoners. The oral histories helped Islington Museum learn more about some of these objects and added an emotional connection to them.
- Talks, workshops and events were also held at Islington Museum in 2018 and 2019. These events included talks from the curator, film screenings, walking tours, staged readings and art workshops.
Together through art: using co-production to inform arts and well-being
Delivered by Delivered by: Kelly Robinson, Lucy Ribiero, Jo Bodley, Jules Dawton, Premila Trevedi, Christine Andrews & Jonathan Weller, Dulwich Picture Gallery
In collaboration with South London and Maudsely Mental Health Trust, Kelly Robinson, Community Engagement Manager at Dulwich Picture Gallery worked as project Manager for the Together through art programme which supports adults with lived experience of mental health. It aims to reduce the stigma which surrounds mental health and to signpost those individuals most at risk of isolation to creative programmes at the Gallery.
The Co-production Model
‘A relationship where professionals and citizens share power to plan and deliver support together, recognizing that both partners have vital contributions to make in order to improve quality of life for people and communities.’
Past participants on the programme spoke about their experiences explaining, for example, how it ‘re-framed mental illness as something positive rather than being something to be ashamed of’ and each did a five minute presentation to the room.
Artists working with the community group made comments such as ‘this has reminded me of the value of sharing ideas with people who have a range of different life and work experiences.
Conference photography © Josh Caius Photography