Last summer the V&A Museum of Childhood opened up its spaces to the local community in the spirit of co-production and creativity. Nine artist collectives and individuals collaborated with the public to create a growing display at the Museum, using the building and collections as inspiration.
Over the summer, 4,590 visitors got creative in Our Studio, plus over 6,300 visitors took part in our free, daily activity offers.
From improvisational musical performances to messy summer art camps, the Museum was buzzing with a mix of creativity as artists and makers like HATO, Mission//Misplaced Memory and Kazzum, from varied fields of creative industries including music, theatre, visual arts and creative writing worked with the public.
All the collaborators, from a wide range of practices were asked to consider ways to ‘present the process’ of their professional work, rather than deliver pre-planned activities for children. This was with a hope to allow genuine collaboration between the artists and participants.
A large part of the temporary exhibition space was used for workshops and events, however an area was dedicated to showcase creations from previous events.
Having an area such as this seemed to create the feel of a hybrid space of a studio and display space, increasing the sense of collaboration.
We felt that the quality of engagement was elevated by several factors during the Our Studio events.
- The key concept of ‘co-production’ between the Museum, the practitioners and the visitors; the fact that we weren’t presenting a finished product seemed to give the participants more agency. It is a classic example of ‘giving a template’ verses ‘offering something open-ended’.
- The professional quality that the artists and other practitioners brought to the event, opened up the programme to a much wider audience, including teenagers, adults and babies, who on occasion, could be found participating together at the same time in the same space.
- Quality of the space; when participants (adults and children) are aware that their engagement would be ‘on display’, the process seemed to become more considered. We witnessed conversations within family groups about which positions to display their collage work, children pausing and stepping back to view the entire space before deciding where they would add materials to a collaborative sculpture, and so on. A beautiful environment, professional lighting and being on the same level as the galleries, meant their engagements were valued more, most importantly by themselves and also by other visitors.
Our Studio: summer events for families July-August 2016
Laura X Carlé
V&A Museum of Childhood Activity Assistants
Organised by: V&A Museum of Childhood Family Learning Programme
Document film by : wiredvideo.net
This summer, our Summer Art Camps will return for more creative play and we’ll have plenty of free family activities during our Summertime Storyweaving days. Visit the website to find out more: